By Kathy Finn
(Reuters) - A boat collided with an inactive oil and gas well near New Orleans on Tuesday night, causing a small oil spill, the U.S. Coast Guard and the operator of the well said on Wednesday.
The accident occurred at about 7 p.m. local time on Tuesday, when a 42-foot (13-meter) offshore oil service boat, the Sea Raider, struck a wellhead owned by Swift Energy in inland water off Plaquemines Parish.
The Coast Guard said the oily water discharge coming off the wellhead amounted to less than 840 gallons (3,180 liters) of oil being spilled per day.
Swift said the collision had damaged the wellhead but that it "appears to be primarily releasing water and a small amount of oil."
The company said containment booms and skimming equipment had been deployed around the well to protect nearby shorelines.
The Coast Guard deployed 40 people to oversee clean-up operations and was working with federal, state and local agencies plus Swift Energy.
The incident occurred about 9 miles southwest of Port Sulphur, a small town along the lower Mississippi River some 50 miles south of New Orleans. Continued...