Marine Link
Monday, May 21, 2018

Mississippi River News

An Unlikely and Remarkable Safety Journey

(Credit: Gregory Thorp)

Late last year, the Transportation Research Board released a major study that was undertaken “in response to the rapid development of domestic sources of energy and questions about the safest ways to move these products.” The Study Committee examined the operational responses of the three primary modes impacted by the fracking revolution – rail, pipeline and maritime. A primary observation of this work was that that the “Marine Transportation System Offers a Model for Robust Safety…

USCG Shuts Section of Upper Mississippi River

The U.S. Coast Guard closed a 403-mile section of the upper Mississippi River on Monday from Muscatine, Iowa, northward to Minneapolis due to high water and fast moving currents. The river was closed to all commercial and recreational traffic until further notice due to high water levels caused by melting snow and heavy rains, river officials said. Early Monday, Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack issued a proclamation of disaster for 10 Iowa counties along the Mississippi River.

New Mississippi Riverboat Launched

Photo courtesy of American Cruise Lines

American Cruise Lines announced today that it launched the new paddlewheeler being built for the Mississippi River at Chesapeake Shipbuilding in Salisbury, Maryland. Immediately after being launched Sunday into the Wicomico River, tugboats nudged the new riverboat into Chesapeake Shipbuilding’s East Outfitting Basin where the upper decks and outfitting will be completed. “This is a significant milestone in the construction process and also for American Cruise Lines,” said Timothy Beebe, Vice President of American Cruise Lines.

Governors Write Obama for Mississippi River Funding

The Governors of the five Upper Mississippi River States of Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin are seeking President Obama’s support for critical investments in the Upper Mississippi River System as a nationally significant navigation system and a nationally significant ecosystem. In an August 20, 2014 joint letter to President Obama, the Governors expressed their ongoing commitment to the Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program (NESP) authorized by Congress in 2007. NESP is an unprecedented, dual-purpose program that integrates lock capacity expansion and modernization (including seven new 1,200-foot lock chambers and several small-scale navigation efficiency measures) and ecosystem restoration efforts designed to improve the river’s ecological health.

Mississippi River Deepening Project Gains Support

© Vladimir Melnikov / Adobe Stock

The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) hosted its Annual Meeting in New Orleans, where NASDA President and Commissioner of Louisiana’s Department of Agriculture and Forestry, Dr. Michael Strain championed a motion supporting the deepening of the Mississippi River Ship Channel to 50 feet. Earlier in the week, Dr. Strain led the effort to gain the support of the Southern Association of State Departments of Agriculture (SASDA) on the same motion. “NASDA…

Cooperative Effort Promotes Mississippi River Economics

Officials with the World Trade Center Mississippi River Alliance (WTC MSRA) and the Big River Coalition (BRC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding outlining a cooperative effort to preserve and promote economic growth on the Mississippi River and Tributaries (MRT). The organizations will work together in support of increasing the draft in the Lower Mississippi River deep-draft channel to 50 feet to equal the maximum draft to be available when the new Panama Canal locks open in 2015. Along with this agreement, both parties will be given access to broadcast their organizational information and updates to each other and its members. “The timing for such a partnership with the Big River Coalition is ideal.

Tug Sinks Spills Oil Fuel, Upper Mississippi River Section Closed

The 144-foot towboat 'Stephen L. Colby
' struck a submerged object near LeClaire and sank. At the time of the sinking, nine crewmembers were aboard and all were able to make it to safety, reports the Coast Guard Sector Upper Mississippi River. Approximately 100,000 gallons of petroleum products are reported to be on board the sunken vessel, and the Captain of the Port closed the Mississippi River from mile marker 493 to mile maker 501 on the upper Mississippi River to allow for safe, effective clean-up and salvage operations. Coast Guard personnel, along with Illinois EPA and local emergency response crews, are taking action to evaluate and respond to environmental damage. "The Coast Guard and our partner agencies are rapidly assessing and responding to the evolving situation" said Capt.

Upper Mississippi River Reopens

Stephen L. Colby sank Monday after striking a submerged object on the Mississippi River in LeClaire, Iowa. Photo: Kevin E. Schmidt / AP

The Coast Guard captain of the port reopened the Mississippi River from mile marker 493 to mile marker 501 on the upper Mississippi River at approximately 6 p.m. Tuesday. The Coast Guard, Illinois EPA, Illinois DNR and local emergency crews continue to respond to oil discharge into the Mississippi River near LeClaire, Iowa from the partially submerged towboat. Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Upper Mississippi River received a report at approximately 4:30 p.m., Monday that the 144-foot towboat Stephen L. Colby struck a submerged object near LeClaire causing it to sink.

New Mississippi River Promotion Alliance Formed

Officials with the World Trade Center Mississippi River Alliance (WTC MSRA) and the Big River Coalition (BRC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding outlining a cooperative effort to preserve and promote economic growth on the Mississippi River and Tributaries (MRT). The organizations will work together in support of increasing the draft in the Lower Mississippi River deep-draft channel to 50 feet to equal the maximum draft to be available when the new Panama Canal locks open in 2015. Along with this agreement, both parties will be given access to broadcast their organizational information and updates to each other and its members. “The timing for such a partnership with the Big River Coalition is ideal.

Mississippi River Reopens to Barges after Gustav

The entire Mississippi River, the most important commercial waterway, has reopened to barge traffic after being closed near due to Hurricane Gustav, the Coast Guard said.  More than 300 miles of the commercial waterway, stretching from to the , was closed following the landfall of the Category 2 hurricane on Monday. Reports said major grain companies such as Cargill Inc, Archer Daniels Midland Co and Bunge Ltd are still awaiting electricity to be restored to their grain export terminals on the lower Mississippi River in .

Draft Increase at Southwest Pass, Mississippi River

The draft for the Southwest Pass on the Mississippi River has been increased from 45 to 47 feet following dredging, Inchcape Shipping Services (ISS) is advising. In early August, heavy silt deposits in the Mississippi River Delta caused by recent high upstream river levels reduced the maximum recommended draft for vessels using the pass from 47 to 45 feet. The Southwest Pass is the primary shipping channel on the Mississippi River, with a wide variety of cargoes entering and leaving the Mississippi River. It is the only channel that can be used by deep draft vessels. The latest guidance update was issued by the Louisiana Maritime Association (LaMA).

DREDGE Act of 2012 Introduced

New Legislation Aimed at Building Wetlands while Deepening Mississippi River in anticipation of Panama Canal Expansion completion. Congressman Cedric Richmond ha introduced the DREDGE Act of 2012-Dredging for Restoration and Economic Development for Global Exports. The bill would give the Army Corps of Engineers the authorization to dredge the Mississippi River to 50 feet so that larger vessels transiting the expanded Panama Canal can access the River. In addition, the bill creates a pilot project to promote the rebuilding of wetlands using existing sediment dredged from the River. “The Mississippi River is undoubtedly the most important river in the United States,” said Congressman Richmond.

Mississippi River Drought Mayors to Meet

20 Mayors to discuss severe weather implications for Mississippi River sustainability & need for regional co-operation. Spurred by the severe drought and Hurricane Isaac, Mayors from towns and cities along the Mississippi River will participate in a press briefing to discuss a mayoral-led effort to bring national attention back to the Mississippi River—America’s most critical natural asset—and spearhead a new level of regional cooperation to make it more sustainable. The drought—the worst in 50 years—has severely impacted the towns, cities and people who live and make a living along the River, the ecological linchpin to the 37-state Mississippi River Basin. Now, Hurricane Isaac has further threatened many river towns.

Mississippi River Restrictions Lifted

Coast Guard Captain of the Port Captain Sharon Richey, commanding officer of Coast Guard Sector Upper Mississippi River, issued an order today lifting the restrictions on vessel traffic transit through the affected area of the Mississippi River at the Interstate 35 Bridge collapse site here. The bridge was closed at mile marker 853.2, due to salvage and debris removal operations. All mariners are urged to exercise extreme caution when transiting this area and to monitor marine channel 16 for future river updates.

Correction: Mississippi River Closed in Iowa after Barge Hits Bridge

The U.S. Coast Guard on Tuesday closed the Mississippi River at Sabula, Iowa, after a barge struck a railroad bridge, said Eric Washburn, bridge administrator for the agency's Eighth District Western Rivers Bridge Branch. The river was closed 1 mile (1.6 km) north and 1 mile south of the site of the accident as of about 3 p.m. CDT (2000 GMT), Washburn said. The barge was stuck in an open position. The contents of the barge were unknown as investigators traveled to the site, he said. "The investigators will have to inspect the bridge and make a determination if it needs repairs," added Tim Marriott, enforcement chief for the Coast Guard's upper Mississippi River sector. The rail bridge was owned by Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd , said company spokesman Ed Greenberg.

USCG Searching for 2 Trapped Under Sunken Barge

The Coast Guard, along with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and the Mississippi County, Ark. Sheriff's Department, are searching for two people in the water near a sunken barge in Hickman Landing Wednesday. Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Lower Mississippi River received a report at 4:15 p.m. Tuesday that two people became trapped beneath a barge that flipped and sank in the Mississippi River. Sector Lower Mississippi River directed the launch of a 25-foot Response Boat — Small boatcrew to search for the two men along with joint agency boatcrews. The Mississippi River is closed from mile marker 815 to mile marker 825 to aid in the search efforts. “This reminds us of the dangers mariners face while working on the river,” said Capt.

Durbin: Demolition of Rock Pinnacles Could Begin Next Week

File: Inland pushboat and barges.

At the request of Midwest Senators, Army Corps fast tracked process to keep water and goods moving on the Mississippi River. U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL)  praised the news that a contract has been awarded for the demolition of rock pinnacles in the Mississippi River and the work could begin as early as next week. In a November 29 meeting with Durbin and five other Midwest Senators, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, Jo-Ellen Darcy, agreed to expedite the demolition process in order to help navigation on the Mississippi River.

Coast Guard Responds to Lower Mississippi River Collision

The Coast Guard and local agencies are responding to a collision between two towing vessels on the Lower Mississippi River near Memphis, Monday afternoon. Watchstanders with Coast Guard Sector Lower Mississippi River command center received a notification of a collision between the towing vessels Margaret Ann and the William Strait at mile marker 727 on the Lower Mississippi River. The William Straight sank in 20 feet of water. A Coast Guard 25-foot small boat crew from the Sector Lower Mississippi River along with an HC-144 Ocean Sentry fixed-wing aircraft from Aviation Training Center Mobile, Alabama and local pollution response agencies are on scene responding. A safety zone has been established from mile markers 726 to 728. The Coast Guard is investigating the cause of the incident.

Barge Allision in Mississippi River Causes Spill

Coast Guard responds to report of crude oil in Mississippi River. A unified command has been established in response to a report of crude oil in the lower Mississippi River near mile marker 434 in Vicksburg, Miss., Sunday. Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Lower Mississippi River received notification at 1:30 a.m., reporting that two tank barges, towed by the tug Nature's Way Endeavor, allided with the Vicksburg Railroad river bridge. Both of the tank barges were loaded with crude oil; both of the barges were damaged, and one has released oil into lower Mississippi River. The actual amount of product released into the lower Mississippi River has not yet been determined.

US Western Rivers Closures, Restrictions

Image USCG

The Coast Guard has issued a number of river closures, restrictions and advisories in response to floods in the Midwest. To keep the public and professional mariners apprised of changes to river traffic, the 8th District will continue to issue press releases capturing all closures and restrictions throughout this period of high water and flooding. * Upper Mississippi River closed between mile markers 184 and 179 near St. Louis, Missouri. * Illinois River closed between mile markers 0 to 50 from Hardin, Illinois to Grafton, Illinois.

Coast Guard Advises Western River Closures, Restrictions

File image: a Mississippi River fleeting operation. (WCI)

The United States Coast Guard has issued a number of river closures, restrictions and advisories in response to floods in the Midwest. To keep the public and professional mariners apprised of changes to river traffic, the 8th District will continue to issue press releases capturing all closures and restrictions throughout this period of high water and flooding. Upper Mississippi River closed between mile markers 184 and 179 near St. Louis, Missouri. Illinois River closed between mile markers 0 to 50 from Hardin, Illinois to Grafton, Illinois.

Memphis Orders Fire Rescue Patrol Boat

San Francisco Bay Area boat designer and builder Moose Boats said it has been awarded a contract from The City of Memphis Fire and Police Departments for the construction of a M2-38 Fire Rescue and Patrol Catamaran.Twin Cummins engines at 425hp each with Hamilton water jets will power the boat, which is being built to respond to incidents on the Mississippi River and in The Port of Memphis, Tenn. Memphis Fire and Police’s new boat will be equipped with a single Hale fire pump flowing close to 2,000 gallons per minute of water through Task Force Tips fire monitors and valves.The M2 will be equipped with a host of Simrad electronics including multifunction navigation screen…

Op/Ed: The Mississippi River is Boiling!

(Photo: GLDD)

U.S.-Flag dredgers answer the call in the Mississippi River Basin.Major flooding this winter in the Mississippi River Basin has created significant increased shoaling in the Southwest Pass Channel of the Mississippi River. Shoaling is generally described as the river containing elevated levels of sand and sediment resulting in high water levels and river swelling. The Southwest Pass, spanning the lower end of the Mississippi River (Baton Rouge, La.) to the Gulf of Mexico, services…

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