Vessel traffic on the Mississippi River returned to normal Sunday as the remnants of Tropical Storm Karen dissipated. U.S. Coast Guard officials rescinded all restrictions on the River and area waterways about midnight, allowing vessels and mariners to resume normal operations.
The Carnival Conquest arrived at the Port’s Erato Street Cruise Terminal about noon, followed by the Carnival Elation berthing at the Julia Street Cruise Terminal a half hour later.
“Our top priority was to keep a safe distance from the storm while we waited for the river to reopen. We are pleased to be able to get our ships back into New Orleans earlier than what was originally anticipated as the storm was moving towards the coastline. We apologize to our guests for the inconvenience caused by Tropical Storm Karen and we extend our appreciation to all of the officials and maritime partners in New Orleans who have worked with us throughout to manage the situation as smoothly as possible," said Gerry Cahill, president and CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines.
Both the Carnival Elation and Carnival Conquest are scheduled to depart on abbreviated cruises by 4 p.m. Monday. All Port terminals and gatehouses will operate normally Monday, as four cargo vessels – including two container ships – are scheduled to arrive at Port docks.
“We always prepare for the worst and hope for the best and this time it thankfully turned out to be the latter,” said Gary LaGrange, Port President and CEO. “We appreciate all of the hard work and professionalism from all Port stakeholders, including the U.S. Coast Guard, river pilot associations, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Customs and Border Protection for working to return commerce to this vital waterway as soon as safely possible.”