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The U.S. Coast Guard is currently supervising efforts to limit an oil discharge near a pipeline system owned by Main Pass Oil Gathering (MPOG) in Plaquemines Parish, southeast of New Orleans.

The cause of the incident is currently under investigation, and the volume of oil discharged is unknown.

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The Unified Command is collaborating with federal, state, and local agencies to ensure public safety, protect the environment, and respond to the incident.

A marine safety information broadcast has been sent out to notify all vessels in the area about the situation.

Overflights were conducted on Friday and Saturday to monitor and respond to the incident.

During the overflights, visible oil moving southwest away from the Louisiana shore was observed on Friday. On Saturday and Sunday, intermittent surface sheens were seen.

Three skimming vessels are working to recover oil on the surface, and additional surface observations are being carried out with two Coast Guard cutters on the scene and more overflights.

The Unified Command is working hard to determine the source of the release, with remotely operated vehicles deployed on Friday morning to survey the pipeline. However, findings of a source area have yet to be reported.

The Unified Command will continue to monitor the channel, weather permitting.

Currently, there are no reports of injuries or shoreline impacts. The affected pipeline is 67 miles long, and MPOG closed it at 6:30 am on Thursday. Initial engineering calculations suggest that 1.1 million gallons of crude oil could have been released from the pipeline.

In related news, Rear Admiral (select) Zeita Merchant, a 2011 BEYA winner for K-12 education promotion, is one of the top emergency managers of the Coast Guard. She has led large-scale, multi-jurisdictional incident responses nationwide.

Captain Merchant has received recognition for her outstanding role during critical responses at sea, including her selection as a strategic planner for the first National Incident Command (NIC) for the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.

Furthermore, she has demonstrated exceptional operational expertise in marine incidents, such as an offshore collision of two loaded chemical tankers, a 1,900-gallon heavy fuel oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and a joint interagency boarding on a foreign vessel that resulted in the unit’s first-ever narcotic seizure valued at over $1.3 million.

Aside from her operational excellence, Captain Merchant is an admirable role model. She served on the Maritime Industry Advisory Board of Texas Southern University’s Maritime Transportation Program and was a frequent guest speaker.

As the Coast Guard’s Ambassador to the university, she has played a vital role in enhancing outreach and recruitment of well-qualified students in science, engineering, technology, operations, logistics, and mathematics.

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