New Orleans, La. – The Port of New Orleans says the main route from the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico remains open, despite frantic efforts to contain an oil spill threatening coastal areas from Louisiana to Florida.
Coast Guard Rear Admiral Mary Landry says commercial interests must also be considered.
"It is our goal to not allow the disruption of traffic on the Mississippi River. This region needs this important economic lifeline." :09
The port says ships are being directed to approach the route known as the Southwest Pass from the west and avoid the oil slick altogether. But if a light sheen arrives at the pass, the Coast Guard has assured the port that vessels can proceed without needing their hulls cleaned.
For NPR News, I'm Eileen Fleming in New Orleans.