Marine Link
Friday, February 23, 2018

Mississippi River News

Towboat Ablaze on the Lower Mississippi River

The Mississippi River is restricted from mile marker 500 to 520 after a towboat went adrift and caught fire near Greenville, Miss. The U.S. Coast Guard said it responding to a fire on board the vessel Leland Speaks, which was reported to be drifting and ablaze at 7:20 a.m. on Wednesday. The eight people aboard the Leland Speaks at the time of the incident reportedly departed the burning vessel onto towboats in the area. No injuries were reported. The towboat is estimated to have 80,000 gallons of fuel on board and was pushing 21 dry barges, which are not believed to be carrying hazardous material. Nearby towboats were able to gain control of the vessel and push the stricken vessel aground at mile marker 509. There have been no reports of pollution or impacts to the environment.

Canal Barge Orders Becker Flap Rudder Retrofit

 Vessel Eugenie P. Jones. © Canal Barge Company, Inc.

The U.S. office of Becker Marine Systems announced the order for a retrofit of another set of Becker Flap Rudders placed by the Canal Barge Company, Inc. Canal Barge Company is a family-owned, independent marine transportation company headquartered in New Orleans. Chosen for retrofit is the 140-ft. boat Eugenie P. Jones, built in 1975 by the Dravo Corporation. She is a sister vessel of the Susan L. Flap Rudders since June of 2014. Canal Barge Company also has one more set of Becker Flap Rudders on order for a third sister boat.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

Kirby Closes Acquisition of Higman Marine

File Image (CREDIT: Higman Marine)

Kirby Corporation has announced the completion of the acquisition of Higman Marine, Inc. and its affiliated companies (“Higman”), an operator of tank barges and towboats participating in the inland tank barge transportation industry in the United States. The total value of the transaction was approximately $419 million in cash before post-closing adjustments and transaction fees. issuance of senior notes, which closed on February 12, 2018. The new senior notes provided for $500 million in fixed rate debt at 4.2% with a 10-year maturity on March 1, 2028.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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…

Frelinghuysen Directs Corps To Maintain Lower Miss. River

The Big River Coalition praised the efforts of the Chairman of the House Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee and the entire Louisiana Congressional delegation for their efforts to have the U.S. Corps of Engineers maintain the Lower Mississippi River to its project dimension. As the House of Representatives considers a Continuing Resolution to fund the Federal government through Sept. 30, U.S. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen of N.J., Chairman of the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee, urged the Corps to direct funding to properly dredge and maintain the Lower Mississippi River. “I want to assure my colleagues that I have provided sufficient flexibility within the $2.361…

WCI Executives Endorse Senate Waterway Bills

WCI President/CEO Michael J. Toohey

Waterways Council, Inc.’s (WCI) Executive Committee has endorsed two Senate waterways bills introduced by Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL): “Mississippi River Navigation Sustainment Act” (S. 565) and “Water Infrastructure Now Public-Private Partnership Act” (WIN P3) (S. 566), co-sponsored by Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL). S. 565 would “provide for the safe and reliable navigation of the Mississippi River, and for other purposes.” Referring to 2011 flooding in drought conditions in 2012-13…

UPDATE: Coast Guard Responding Mississippi Allision / Spill

The unified command continues to respond to a crude oil spill in the lower Mississippi River near mile marker 434 in Vicksburg, Miss., Monday. Tank soundings indicated that the barge is still leaking product into the waterway. Containment boom has been deployed around the area at the leak and skimmers are being used to recover product. Personnel from Sector Lower Mississippi River, Marine Safety Detachment Vicksburg and the Coast Guard Gulf Strike Team from Mobile, Ala., are on scene and continue to assess the size of the spill and oversee cleanup operation. The tank levels are being constantly monitored for further leakage. The leaking tank contained approximately 80,000 gallons of light crude oil.

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.

Maritime Reporter Magazine Cover Feb 2018 - Cruise Ship Annual

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