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Oil barge bumps into Skyway

A barge carrying 235,000 barrels of oil products to port in Tampa hit the old Sunshine Skyway bridge Thursday night, the U.S. Coast Guard said. Authorities said the craft may have lost steering after a hydraulic hose blew out.

The barge hit the west side of the north span about 11:30 p.m., said Petty Officer Robert Williams.

The impact punched several holes in the barge but no diesel fuel or gasoline leaked, Williams said.

There were no reports of injuries or damage to the bridge, he said.

Williams said the barge took on water but two pumps already on board flushed it out.

The barge, owned by Maritrans, was carrying the oil products to Tampa from Mobile, Ala., Williams said.

Crews moved the barge about 2:55 a.m. Two tugs pushed the disabled barge to the Richard E. Knight pier at Harbour Island.

There, Coast Guard investigators inspected the cargo for leaks and questioned the tug's crew.

The names of the captain and crew were not available.

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