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Fuel Barge DM932

Oil Spill | Jefferson Parish, LA | July 2008

What Happened?

On July 23, 2008, the chemical tanker Tintomara collided with fuel barge DM932 on the Mississippi River, near downtown New Orleans. The Tintomara suffered minor damage, but the DM932 barge split into two sections. Within hours of the spill, NOAA's Office of Response and Restoration (OR&R) was on-scene, providing support for the cleanup and assessment of natural resource damages caused by the 270,000 gallons of spilled fuel oil.

In addition to harming wildlife, wetlands, and other coastal habitats, the incident resulted in significant economic disruption including extensive waterway closures, closure of municipal and industrial water intakes, and interference with critical channel dredging activities.

What Were the Impacts?

The oil spill affected over 100 miles of the Mississippi River downstream from New Orleans to Head of Passes, where the main stem of the Mississippi branches off into the Gulf of Mexico.  A wide range of environments was impacted - from the waters of the river itself, to the shorelines, the forested wetland habitats between the river and levee (batture), and the downriver marshes. Several species of birds were also impacted, particularly wading birds and waterfowl such as herons and ducks. Additionally, the sediments at the bottom portion of the river were contaminated, and this disrupted future beneficial use of dredged sediments for marsh creation.

What’s Happening Now?

NOAA and other TrusteesGovernment officials acting on behalf of the public when there is injury to, destruction of, loss of, or threat to natural resources. worked cooperatively with the responsible party (RP)The individuals, companies, or government agencies responsible for an oil spill, hazardous substance release, or ship grounding incident. American Commercial Barge Line LLC (ACL), to collect data and to assess injuries to natural resources as part of the natural resources damage assessment (NRDA)Investigation performed by trustees to identify injuries to natural resources caused by oil spills, hazardous substance releases, and grounding incidents in National Marine Sanctuaries, and plan restoration activities. The goal of NRDA is to restore natural resources and compensate the public for lost recreational use.. Helicopter surveys were conducted on the stretch of river from New Orleans downstream to where the batture, and other shoreline habitats, were oiled. Also on-the-ground surveys of oiled and unoiled birds were conducted. The Trustees additionally gathered data by counting and interviewing people at River Walk and other river access points to determine the economic losses to fishing and other recreational uses resulting from the spill.

NOAA and co-trustees have scoped out a set of proposed restoration projects that would compensate the public for the natural resource damages resulting from this oil spill and released a Draft Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment (Draft DARP/EA) detailing these projects. The Trustees’ proposed restoration was developed as part of a cooperative NRDA, through negotiations with ACL on a potential settlement of the natural resource damage claims. Implementation of the proposed restoration is contingent upon future court approval of a settlement agreement between the Trustees and ACL, which would be subject to public notice and comment. 

The Draft DARP/EA is available for public comment for a 30-day period ending on June 21, 2021. Comments on the Draft DARP/EA may be submitted by the deadline via email to or via mail to: 

Charles K. Armbruster
Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinator’s Office
Department of Public Safety and Corrections
P.O. Box 66614  
Baton Rouge, LA 70896
Two days after the spill occurred, oil had spread nearly 100 miles downriver, and carried into forested batture habitat making oil recovery and cleanup difficult.
Two days after the spill occurred, oil had spread nearly 100 miles downriver, and carried into forested batture habitat making oil recovery and cleanup difficult.

“As the largest river in the United States, the Mississippi River is a critical waterway for birds, fish, and other aquatic and riparian resources.  The impacts from the spill were both ecological and recreational and the Trustees will strive to find projects that will help restore and preserve the natural resources of the Lower Mississippi.”

Dan Hahn 
Office of Response and Restoration


Daniel Hahn, Ph.D.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Assessment & Restoration Division, SE Region
263 13th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL  33701
(727) 551-5715

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Last updated May 20, 2021