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Thursday, January 20, 2022

Coast Guard, NTSB Investigating Towboat Bridge Strike

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

January 6, 2022

On December 23, 2021, at approximately 3:26 a.m., a towing vessel pushing six barges was traveling southeast along the Avoca Island Cutoff waterway when one of the lead barges in the tow struck the Bayou Ramos Bridge. (Photo: U.S. Coast Guard District 8, Courtesy of Cajun Drone Photography, Jim Pierce JR FAA 107 Certified Pilot)

On December 23, 2021, at approximately 3:26 a.m., a towing vessel pushing six barges was traveling southeast along the Avoca Island Cutoff waterway when one of the lead barges in the tow struck the Bayou Ramos Bridge. (Photo: U.S. Coast Guard District 8, Courtesy of Cajun Drone Photography, Jim Pierce JR FAA 107 Certified Pilot)

The U.S. Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) marine casualty investigators are investigating a barge allision with the Bayou Ramos Bridge near Morgan City and Amelia, Louisiana, on Highway 182.  

On December 23, 2021, at approximately 3:26 a.m., a towing vessel pushing six barges was traveling southeast along the Avoca Island Cutoff waterway when one of the lead barges in the tow struck the Bayou Ramos Bridge. Coast Guard personnel at Marine Safety Unit Morgan City received notification about damage to the bridge several hours later and identified the responsible party.  

The Louisiana Department of Transportation determined to close the bridge later that day due to significant damage and safety concerns. The barge that allided with the bridge was also damaged.  

There were no reports of injuries and the incident has been declared a major marine casualty due to property damage initially estimated at $500,000 or more.

The investigation is ongoing into the circumstances that caused the barge to strike the bridge.  Coast Guard and NTSB investigators are working together to gather and analyze evidence to determine the factors that led to the incident and if acts of misconduct, incompetence, negligence, or violations of federal law were committed. Once the investigation is complete, both agencies will issue independent reports detailing their findings.  

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