USCG High Water Restrictions 2018

USCG – High-water Restrictions

MSIB 8 – Carrollton Gauge at 8’ and Rising

With the Carrollton Gauge expected to read 8 feet and rising, the following operating requirements will be in effect:

  • In accordance with 33 CFR 161.65, the Governor Nicholls Harbor Traffic Control Light 94, Gretna Harbor Traffic Control Light 97 and the Westwego Traffic Light 102 have been energized.
  • The Harbor Traffic Control Lights are located at:
    Governor Nicholls Light, MM 94.3, AHP, LDB, LMR (LLNR 13855/34770), Gretna Light, MM 96.6, AHP, RDB, LMR (LLNR 13880/34795), and Westwego Traffic Light, MM 101.4, AHP, RDB, LMR (LLNR13950).
  • The Governor Nicholls Navigation Light 94 and the Gretna Navigation Light 97 will be extinguished while Traffic Control Lights are operating.
  • Downbound vessels: Check in with Vessel Traffic Service Lower Mississippi River (call sign “New Orleans Traffic”) no lower than Huey P Long Bridge, MM 106.1, AHP (SHIPS and TOWS), and the Marlex Terminal, MM 99.0, AHP (SHIPS and TOWS).
  • Upbound vessels: Check in with “New Orleans Traffic” no higher than the Algiers Canal Forebay, MM 88.0, AHP (SHIPS), Industrial Canal, MM 92.7, AHP (SHIPS and TOWS), and Crescent Towing Smith Fleet, MM 93.5, AHP (TOWS).
  • In accordance with 33 CFR 160.111 (c), the COTP has determined that during periods of high water, unless moored to a shore side facility or mooring buoys, all deep draft vessels must have three means to hold position. An example would be two fully operational anchors and the propulsion system in standby. Should a vessel lose an anchor or become inoperable with no redundant capabilities available, such as aft anchors or two main engines, a third means of holding position could be via tug assist.
  • All cargo transfers authorized in designated anchorages as noted in 33 CFR 110.195, as well as mid-stream cargo transfers, are required to submit for review a Notice of Midstream Transfer 48-hours prior to commencing transfer operations within the Captain of the Port New Orleans (COTP) zone. Midstream cargo transfers may be conducted at the designated anchorages within the New Orleans COTP zone as defined by 33 CFR 110.195(a), with exception of the General Anchorage (MM 90.1 – 90.9 AHP) and the Quarantine Anchorage (MM 90.9 – 91.6 AHP). This requirement does NOT affect:
    • Vessel to vessel transfers which take place at a Coast Guard regulated facility.
    • Bunkers or delivery of ships stores.
    • Cargo operations which take place in a designated and established mid-stream buoy system.

Anyone wishing to conduct vessel to vessel cargo transfers not specifically exempted as noted above, should contact the Sector New Orleans Facility Compliance Branch at (504) 365-2370 or by e-mail at Facilitiesnola@uscg.mil. A Midstream Transfer Notice form is supplied with this MSIB, identified as MSIB XVIII Issue 008a.

MSIB 9 – MM 219 to MM 229, Baton Rouge Gauge at 25’ and Rising

As a result of the Baton Rouge gauge reading 25’ and predicted to rise, the Captain of the Port of New Orleans has issued a safety advisory for all waters of the Lower Mississippi River (LMR) from Mile 219 Above Head of Passes (AHP), to Mile 229 AHP. The following are recommendations for the advisory:

Port Allen Lock LMR MM 219-229:

1. All tows greater than 600’ (excluding the towboat) are recommended to employ an assist vessel of at least 1200 hp when entering and exiting the Port Allen Lock.
2. All other Canal Tows exiting the Port Allen Lock intending to directly head northbound are recommended to use an assist vessel. All other tows should proceed southbound and then top around at or below MM 221 prior to heading north. 3. Companies should consider staffing vessels with the most experienced crews.
4. Towing vessels are recommended to catch a headline when entering the Port Allen Lock.
5. Vessels will be put on queue for lock turn when their tow is built and may remain in the area in which their tow was built until it is time for lock turn.

MSIB 10 – MM 219 to MM 240, Baton Rouge Gauge at 30’ and Rising Supersedes MSIB 9.

As a result of the Baton Rouge gauge reading 30’ and predicted to rise, the Captain of the Port of New Orleans has issued a safety advisory for all waters of the Lower Mississippi River (LMR) from Mile 219 Above Head of Passes (AHP), to Mile 240 AHP. The following are recommendations for the advisory:

  • Wilkinson Point LMR MM 232-237
    1. It is recommended that line-towing companies and tow operators use towing vessels with a horsepower ratio of 240 hp per barge. A maximum of 36 barges per tow is authorized for southbound transit from Wilkinson Point (MM 232 to MM 237 LMR). Empty barges may be calculated at 1⁄2 the horsepower requirements to that of a loaded barge when computing the overall horsepower requirement.
    2. Towing vessels with 8000 hp are allowed to push a 35 barge tow makeup (400 hp less than requirement stated above).
    3. Owner / Operators are reminded to ensure towing vessel inspections are completed before heading southbound through the Highway 190 bridge at Wilkinson Point, as per 33 CFR 165.810(f).
    4. Line-towing companies should consider staffing vessels with the most experienced crews.
  • Port Allen Lock LMR MM 219-229:
    1. All tows greater than 600’ (excluding the towboat) are recommended to employ an assist vessel of at
    least 1200 hp when entering and exiting the Port Allen Lock.
    2. All other Canal Tows exiting the Port Allen Lock intending to directly head northbound are
    recommended to us an assist vessel. All other tows should proceed southbound and then top around at or below MM 221 prior to heading north.
    3. Companies should consider staffing vessels with the most experienced crews.
    4. Towing vessels are recommended to catch a headline when entering the Port Allen Lock.
    5. Vessels will be put on queue for lock turn when their tow is built and may remain in the area in which their tow was built until it is time for lock turn.

This Marine Safety Information Bulletin supersedes Volume XVIII, Issue 009 Safety Advisory: MM 219 to MM 229 AHP LMR (25’ and rising).

MSIB 11- MM 167.5 to MM 254.5, Baton Rouge Gauge above 35’ Supersedes MSIB 10.

When the Baton Rouge gauge reads 35 feet on the rise, a U.S. Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) Measure is established in accordance with the Navigation Safety Regulations, Code of Federal Regulations Title 33, Subpart 161.11, for all waters of the Lower Mississippi River (LMR) from Mile 167.5 Above Head of Passes (AHP), to Mile 254.5 AHP. This VTS Measure is needed to protect persons and vessels from the potential safety hazards associated with the effects of high water levels on the Lower Mississippi River. This Measure is effective at dusk on March 2, 2018 with the following provisions.

  • Port Allen Lock LMR MM 219-229
    1. All vessels are required 1 horsepower (HP) per 5 tons or 280 HP per regulation loaded barge for canal tows entering/exiting the Locks. Empty barges may be calculated at 1⁄2 the horsepower requirements to that of a loaded barge when computing the overall horsepower requirement.
    2. Any tow may turn northbound exiting out of Port Allen Lock if making use of an assist vessel of at least 1200 HP provided they receive prior approval from the Vessel Traffic Center (VTC).
    3. All tows >600 feet (excluding towboat) entering and exiting the lock must use an assist vessel with a minimum of 1200 HP and when topping around between MM 226-221.
    4. All tows >600 feet (excluding towboat) planning to top around without the use of an assist vessel must proceed southbound to the safest point below MM 221.
    5. If unable to meet the horsepower-to-ton requirements and obtain alternative permissions from the VTC, then an Assist Vessel is mandatory for entering or exiting the Locks.
  • Wilkinson Point LMR MM 232-237
    1. All vessels are limited to a max tow size of 30 barges with 280 HP per barge for southbound transits within this area. Empty barges may be calculated at 1⁄2 the horsepower requirements to that of a loaded barge when computing the overall horsepower requirement.
    2. An 8000 HP towing vessel is authorized to push a 30 barge tow (400 HP less than the requirement in paragraph 1 above).
    3. All South Bound traffic will utilize the towing assist vessel (TAV) (min 5000 HP) and will be escorted until transit of the Hwy 190 Bridge is complete. The TAV must meet the southbound vessel no lower than 2,000 feet above Wilkinson Point. The TAV will position itself alongside the most appropriate agreed upon location on the barge tow after consultation with the vessel’s captain. Additionally, vessels unable to meet the minimum barge-per-horsepower requirement, must utilize the TAV until below MM 229.
    4. No more than two southbound vessels will be allowed below Thomas Point (MM 240) at any time regardless of tow size
    5. All southbound traffic will transit Wilkinson Point during daylight hours only.
    6. Northbound vessels unable to make 3 MPH under the Highway 190 Bridge and around Wilkinson Point must use a Private Assist Vessel (PAV).
    7. Vessels shall not meet or overtake between MM 232 to MM 237.
    8. Tank barges shall be placed in the most protected position in the tow makeup.
    9. All tows shall be squared off. No spiked barges shall extend greater than 50 feet beyond the head of the tow. All towing companies should use their most experienced crews.
    10. Tows transiting Wilkinson Point pushing one loaded standard barge or two empty standard barges are exempt from the TAV queue, but are still required to check-in with VTS LMR and the TAV prior to getting underway.
  • Tows Topping Around between the I-10 and the HWY 190 Bridges and Harbor Fleet Tows
    1. Tows greater than 300 feet in length must use a minimum 1000 HP Private Assist Vessel when topping around between the bridges.
    2. Tows less than 300 feet in length must use a minimum 800 HP Private Assist Vessel when topping around between the bridges.
    3. Harbor Fleet Tows of one load or two empties are exempt from daylight only restrictions, but must coordinate transits with the VTC.
  • Ocean Going Vessel requirements, Baton Rouge Harbor (MM 225-234):
    1. Ocean going vessels must use tug escorts with adequate horsepower alongside while transiting northbound past the I-10 Bridge to dock, as well as departing the dock and transiting southbound past the I-10 Bridge.
    2. Only one ocean going vessel at a time will be allowed to be underway between the I-10 Bridge and the US-190 Bridge.
    3. Ocean going vessels shall not anchor in the upper half mile of the Baton Rouge General Anchorage. The Pilot must notify the VTC if it is necessary to anchor any vessel in the remainder of the anchorage.
    4. Ocean going vessels must contact the VTC with ETA to Richard Powell range light (MM 218.4) and check in again once at MM 219.
    5. Ocean going vessels departing this area must contact the VTC prior to getting underway.

Check In/Reporting

  1. Vessels will primarily contact the Vessel Traffic Center via VHF-FM channel 12; and can be hailed using the Call Sign “BATON ROUGE TRAFFIC”. In the event the VTC cannot be reached via radio, they may also be contacted via the 24-hour contact number at (504) 365-2230.
  2. Down bound vessels shall report at MM 254.5 (Port Hudson Light) and at MM 240 (Thomas Point).
  3. Up bound vessels shall report at MM219 (Sardine Crossing) and MM 226 (Bottom of the Baton Rouge Anchorage).
  4. Vessels getting underway or entering the river between MM 255 and MM219 must provide a sail plan report prior to entry. The sail plan report must include the following information:
    1. Name of Vessel
    2. Current Location
    3. Vessel Type and Horsepower
    4. Number of loaded barges & number of empty barges
    5. Number of Red Flag barges in the tow

81-Mile Point

1. All tows should stay 300-400 feet off the left descending bank within 1⁄2 mile of 81-mile point to avoid dangerous eddies.

This Marine Safety Information Bulletin supersedes Volume XVIII, Issue 010 High Water Safety Advisory: MM 219 to MM 240 AHP LMR (30’ and rising).

MSIB 12 – Carrollton Gauge at 12’ and Rising Supersedes MSIB 8.

With the Carrollton Gauge expected to read 12 feet and rising, the following operating requirements will go into effect:

  • 33 CFR 165.803 (m) requires stricter barge fleeting standards on the Lower Mississippi River.
  • A U.S. Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) Measure is being established in accordance with the Navigation Safety Regulations, Code of Federal Regulations Title 33, Subpart 161.11, to enhance the safety of barge fleets.
  • The 33 CFR 165.803 regulations requiring stricter barge fleeting standards on the Lower Mississippi River are being extended to include all barge fleets from Head of Passes to mile marker (MM) 255 Above Head of Passes (AHP), 33 CFR 165.810 (b)(2) describes high-water requirements for all vessels operating in the Lower Mississippi River below mile 233.9 AHP including South Pass and Southwest Pass.

The following operating requirements remain in effect:

In accordance with 33 CFR 161.65, the Governor Nicholls Harbor Traffic Control Light 94, Gretna
Harbor Traffic Control Light 97 and the Westwego Traffic Light 102 will be energized.

The Harbor Traffic Control Lights are located at:

  • Governor Nicholls Light, MM 94.3, AHP, LDB, LMR (LLNR 13855/34770), Gretna Light, MM 96.6, AHP, RDB, LMR (LLNR 13880/34795), and Westwego Traffic Light, MM 101.4, AHP, RDB, LMR (LLNR13950).
  • The Governor Nicholls Navigation Light 94 and the Gretna Navigation Light 97 will be extinguished while Traffic Control Lights are operating.
  • Downbound vessels: Check in with Vessel Traffic Service Lower Mississippi River (call sign “New Orleans Traffic”) no lower than the Huey P Long Bridge, MM 106.1, AHP (SHIPS and TOWS), and the Marlex Terminal, MM 99.0, AHP (SHIPS and TOWS).
  • Upbound vessels: Check in with “New Orleans Traffic” no higher than the Algiers Canal Forebay, MM 88.0, AHP (SHIPS), Industrial Canal, MM 92.7, AHP (SHIPS and TOWS), and Crescent Towing Smith Fleet, MM 93.5, AHP (TOWS).
  • In accordance with 33 CFR 160.111 (c), the COTP has determined that during periods of high water, unless moored to a shore side facility or mooring buoys, all deep draft vessels must have three means to hold position. An example would be two fully operational anchors and the propulsion system in standby. Should a vessel lose an anchor or become inoperable with no redundant capabilities available, such as aft anchors or two main engines, a third means of holding position could be via tug assist.
  • All cargo transfers authorized in designated anchorages as noted in 33 CFR 110.195, as well as mid- stream cargo transfers, are required to submit for review a Notice of Midstream Transfer 48-hours prior to commencing transfer operations within the Captain of the Port New Orleans (COTP) zone.
  • Midstream cargo transfers may be conducted at the designated anchorages within the New Orleans COTP zone as defined by 33 CFR 110.195(a), with exception of the General Anchorage (MM 90.1 – 90.9 AHP) and the Quarantine Anchorage (MM 90.9 – 91.6 AHP). This requirement does NOT affect:
      • Vessel to vessel transfers which take place at a Coast Guard regulated facility.
        Bunkers or delivery of ships stores.
      • Cargo operations which take place in a designated and established mid-stream buoy system.

    Anyone wishing to conduct vessel to vessel cargo transfers not specifically exempted as noted above, should contact the Sector New Orleans Facility Compliance Branch at (504) 365-2370 or by e-mail at Facilitiesnola@uscg.mil. A Midstream Transfer Notice form was supplied, identified as MSIB XVIII Issue 008a.

Mariners should also familiarize themselves with MSIB XV, Issue 13 “Vessel Anchoring Capabilities”.

This Marine Safety Information Bulletin will supersede Volume XVIII, Issue 008 “Carrollton Gauge at 8 Feet and Rising”.

MSIB 13/13a – Facility Assessment Reporting and Form

All regulated facilities in the New Orleans Captain of the Port (COTP) zone are requested to submit the “Facility/Barge Fleeting High Water Reporting Form” supplied with this MSIB, identified as MSIB XVIII Issue 013a, to the COTP in preparation for facilities impacted by the effects of high water. This form shall be utilized to ensure information is disseminated to all the stakeholders of the Lower Mississippi River, as well as enhance any potential marine transportation system recovery responses.

For facilities operating between Head of Passes and MM 167.5 AHP, this information shall be submitted to the Sector New Orleans Facilities Compliance Branch via fax at (504) 365-2287 or e-mail at facilitiesnola@uscg.mil.

For facilities operating between MM 167.5 AHP and MM 303 AHP, this information shall be submitted to the Marine Safety Baton Rouge Facilities Compliance Branch via fax at (225) 298-5408 or e-mail at MSUBatonRougeFacilities@uscg.mil.

If at any time you experience any operational constraints resulting from the effects of high water, please report/update your status to the appropriate facilities contact noted above.

Mariners should also familiarize themselves with:
MSIB XVIII, Issue 012, Carrollton Gauge at 12 Feet and Rising

MSIB 14 – Carrollton Gauge at 15’ and Rising Supersedes MSIB 12. Superseded by MSIB 28.

When the Carrollton Gauge reads 15 feet and rising, the following operating requirements will be in effect:

  • 33 CFR 165.810 (d)(2) prohibits vessels from entering South Pass from the GulfofMexico ifit has a speed ofless than 10 miles per hour. This paragraph does not apply when Southwest Pass is closed to navigation.
  • A U.S. Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) Measure is being established in accordance with the Navigation Safety Regulations, Code of Federal Regulations Title 33, Subpart 161.11, for all waters of the Lower Mississippi River from the Southwest Pass Entrance (SWP), to Mile 255 Above Head of Passes (AHP). Until further notice, vessel-to-vessel cargo transfers are prohibited unless specifically approved in advance by the Captain of the Port (COTP). This temporary VTS Measure restricts the cargo transfers authorized in designated anchorages as noted 33CFR110.195, and also restricts all barge-to-barge mid-stream cargo transfers.

This VTS Measure does NOT restrict

    • Vessel-to-vessel transfers which take place at a Coast Guard regulated facility.
    • Bunkers or the delivery of ships stores.
    • Cargo operations which take place in a designated and established mid-stream buoy system.

Anyone wishing to conduct vessel-to-vessel cargo transfers not specifically exempted as noted above, should contact the Sector New Orleans Facility Compliance Branch at (504) 365-2370 or by e-mail at Facilitiesnola@uscg.mil.

Any changes will be broadcast via Safety Broadcast Notice to Mariners and VTS Note. The following operating requirements remain in effect:

  • 33 CFR 165.803 (m) requires stricter barge fleeting standards on the Lower Mississippi River.
    A U.S. Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) Measure is being established in accordance with the Navigation Safety Regulations, Code of Federal Regulations Title 33, Subpart 161 .l l, to enhance the safety ofbarge fleets.
  • The 33 CFR 165.803 regulations requiring stricter barge fleeting standards on the Lower Mississippi River are being extended to include all barge fleets from Head of Passes to mile marker (MM) 255 Above Head of Passes (AHP).
  • 33 CFR 165.810 (b)(2) describes high-water requirements for all vessels operating in the Lower Mississippi River below mile 233.9 AHP including South Pass and Southwest Pass.
  • In accordance with 33 CFR 161.65, the Governor Nicholls Harbor Traffic Control Light 94, Gretna Harbor Traffic Control Light 97 and the Westwego Traffic Light 102 will be energized.
    The Harbor Traffic Control Lights are located at:

    • Governor Nicholls Light, MM 94.3, AHP, LOB, LMR (LLNR 13855/34770), Gretna Light, MM 96.6, AHP, RDB, LMR (LLNR 13880/34795), and Westwego Traffic Light, MM 101.4, AHP, ROB, LMR (LLNR13950).
    • The Governor Nicholls Navigation Light 94 and the Gretna Navigation Light 97 will be extinguished while Traffic Control Lights are operating.
    • Downbound vessels: Check in with Vessel Traffic Service Lower Mississippi River (call sign “New Orleans Traffic”) no lower than the Huey P Long Bridge, MM 106.l, AHP (SHIPS and TOWS), and the Marlex Terminal, MM 99.0, AHP (SHIPS and TOWS).
    • Upbound vessels: Check in with “New Orleans Traffic” no higher than the Algiers Canal Forebay, MM 88.0, AHP (SHIPS), Industrial Canal, MM 92.7, AHP (SHIPS and TOWS), and Crescent Towing Smith Fleet, MM 93.5, AHP (TOWS).
    • In accordance with 33 CFR 160.111 (c), the COTP has determined that during periods of high water, unless moored to a shore side facility or mooring buoys, all deep draft vessels must have three means to hold position. An example would be two fully operational anchors and the propulsion system in standby. Should a vessel lose an anchor or become inoperable with no redundant capabilities available, such as aft anchors or two main engines, a third means ofholding position could be via tug assist.
      Mariners should also familiarize themselves with MSIB XV, Issue 13 “Vessel Anchoring Capabilities”.

This Marine Safety Information Bulletin supersedes Volume XVIII, Issue 012 “Carrollton Gauge at 12 Feet and Rising”.

MSIB 15 – Bonnet Carre Spillway Opening and Anchorage Closing Cancelled by MSIB 27

Vessel Traffic Service Lower Mississippi River (VTS LMR), in accordance with the Navigation Safety Regulations, Code of Federal Regulations Title 33, Subpart 161.11, will establish a Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) Measure for the waters of the Lower Mississippi River from Mile Marker (MM) 127 Above Head of Passes (AHP) to MM 129 AHP. This Measure is needed to protect persons and vessels from the potential safety hazards associated with U. S. Army Corps of Engineers opening the Bonnet Carre Spillway on Thursday, 08 March, 2018. This Measure is in effect with the following provisions:

  • Effective at 1000 on Wednesday, 07 March 2018, vessels shall not enter the Bonnet Carre Anchorage or the area extending 600 feet into the river from the Bonnet Carre Spillway, between MM 127 and MM 129 and the shoreline of Lake Pontchartrain (located between 30°4′30.6N, 90°24′6.6W and 30°3′20.9′′N, 90°22′18.9W). This VTS Measure will remain in effect as long as the Bonnet Carre Spillway remains open. All vessels are prohibited from entering this area without permission from the Captain of the Port New Orleans or designated representative.
  • There may be unexpected crosscurrents or eddies that occur due to the water being diverted from the river into the spillway. Mariners are reminded to exercise due caution and stay toward the Right Descending Bank (RDB) while navigating through this area. Barge fleets and terminals located upriver from the Bonnet Carre Spillway should also pay close attention to the increased river current and make extra efforts to ensure vessels and barges remain moored or anchored. All barge fleets are reminded to review and comply with the high water requirements listed in 33 CFR 165.803(m).
    The M/V KENT will be stationed on the Left Descending Bank (LDB) above the spillway to monitor traffic. Any barge breakaways or vessels adrift in the vicinity of the spillway from Mile 128 to Mile 140 should be immediately reported to:

  1. VTS LMR (“New Orleans Traffic”) on VHF Ch. 05A, or by phone at (504) 365-2230 and,
  2. M/V KENT on VHF Ch. 67 or 16.

MSIB 16 – MM 167.5 to MM 254.5, Baton Rouge Gauge Above 40’ Supersedes MSIB 11.

When the Baton Rouge gauge reads 40 feet on the rise, a U.S. Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) Measure is established in accordance with the Navigation Safety Regulations, Code of Federal Regulations Title 33, Subpart 161.11, for all waters of the Lower Mississippi River from Mile 167.5 Above Head of Passes (AHP), to Mile 254.5 AHP. This VTS Measure is needed to protect persons and vessels from the potential safety hazards associated with the effects of high river levels. This Measure is effective at immediately with the following provisions.

  • Port Allen Lock LMR MM 219-229
    • All vessels are required 5 horsepower (HP) per ton or 300 HP per regulation barge restriction on canal tows entering/exiting the Locks. Empty barges may be calculated at 1⁄2 the horsepower requirements to that of a loaded barge when computing the overall horsepower requirement.
    • Any tow may turn northbound exiting out of Port Allen Lock if making use of an assist vessel of at least 1200 HP provided they receive prior approval from the Vessel Traffic Center (VTC).
    • The use of an assist vessel (1200 HP minimum) is mandatory for all tows entering or exiting the Locks. The assist vessel shall remain with the tow to assist topping around between MM 226-219.
    • All tows planning to top around without the use of an assist vessel must proceed southbound to the safest point below MM 219.
  • Wilkinson Point LMR MM 232-237
    • All vessels are limited to a max tow size of 25 barges with 300 HP per barge for southbound transits within this area. Empty barges may be calculated at 1⁄2 the horsepower requirements to that of a loaded barge when computing the overall horsepower requirement. Vessels unable to meet the HP requirements must make adjustments to meet the requirements prior to transiting Wilkinson Point.
    • All South Bound traffic will utilize the towing assist vessel (TAV) (min 5000 HP) and will be escorted until transit of the Hwy 190 Bridge is complete. The TAV must meet the southbound vessel no lower than 2,000 feet above Wilkinson Point. The TAV will position itself alongside the most agreed upon location on the barge tow after consultation with the vessel’s captain.
    • No more than two southbound vessels will be allowed below Thomas Point (MM 240) at any time regardless of tow size
  • All southbound traffic will transit Wilkinson Point during daylight hours only.
    Northbound vessels unable to make 3 MPH under the Highway 190 Bridge and around
    Wilkinson Point must use a Private Assist Vessel (PAV).
  • Vessels shall not meet or overtake between MM 232 to MM 237.
  • Tank barges shall be placed in the most protected position in the tow makeup.
  • All tows shall be squared off. No spiked barges shall extend greater than 50 feet beyond the head of the tow. All towing companies should use their most experienced crews.
  • Tows transiting Wilkinson Point pushing one loaded standard barge or two empty standard barges are exempt from the TAV queue, but are still required to check-in with VTS LMR and the TAV prior to getting underway.
  • Tows Topping Around between the I-10 and the HWY 190 Bridges and Harbor Fleet Tows
    • Tows greater than 600 feet in length (excluding the length of the towboat) must use an 1800 HP Private Assist Vessel (PAV) when topping around between the bridges.
    • Tows 300 feet to 600 feet in length (excluding the length of the towboat) must use a minimum 1000 HP PAV when topping around between the bridges.
    • Tows less than 300 feet in length (excluding the length of the towboat) must use a minimum 800 HP PAV when topping around between the bridges.
  • Ocean Going Vessel requirements, Baton Rouge Harbor (MM 225-234):
    • Ocean Going vessels must use tug escorts with adequate horsepower alongside while transiting northbound past the I-10 Bridge to dock, as well as departing the dock and transiting southbound past the I-10 Bridge.
    • Only one Ocean Going vessel at a time will be allowed to be underway between the I-10 Bridge and the US-190 Bridge.
    • Ocean Going vessels shall not anchor in the upper half mile of the Baton Rouge General Anchorage. The Pilot must notify the VTS if it is necessary to anchor any vessel in the remainder of the anchorage.
    • Ocean Going vessels must contact the VTS with ETA to Richard Powell range light (MM 218.4) and check in again once at MM 219.
      5. Ocean Going vessels departing Baton Rouge Harbor must contact the VTS prior to getting underway.

Check In/Reporting

  1. Vessels will primarily contact the Vessel Traffic Center via VHF-FM channel 12; and can be hailed using the Call Sign “BATON ROUGE TRAFFIC”. In the event the VTS cannot be reached via radio, they may also be contacted via the 24-hour contact number at (504) 365-2230.
  2. Down bound vessels shall report at MM 254.5 (Port Hudson Light) and at MM 240 (Thomas Point)
  3. Up bound vessels shall report at MM219 (Sardine Crossing) and MM 226 (Bottom of the Baton Rouge Anchorage).
  4. Vessels getting underway or entering the river between MM 255 and MM219 must provide a sail plan report prior to entry. The sail plan report must include the following information
    1. Name of Vessel
    2. Current Location
    3. Vessel Type and Horsepower
    4. Number of loaded barges & number of empty barges
    5. Number of Red Flag barges in the tow
    6. Destination

81-Mile Point (MM170-182)

  1. All tows should stay 300-400 feet off the left descending bank within 1⁄2 mile of 81-mile point to avoid dangerous eddies.
  2. Ocean Going vessels shall navigate between MM 170 and 182 during daylight hours only.
  3. Towing vessels must be able to maintain a minimum of 3 mph through the VTS regulated area (MM 170-182)
  4. No vessels are allowed to hold within 3⁄4 of a mile of 81 Mile Point on the Left Descending Bank.
  5. All vessels transiting the area shall avoid passing or overtaking situations at or near: Philadelphia Point, 81mile Point, Bringier Point, and Point Houmas.

This Marine Safety Information Bulletin supersedes Volume XVIII, Issue 011, High Water Safety Advisory: MM 167.5 to MM 254.5 AHP LMR (Above 35’).

MSIB 17 – Mississippi River Regulated Navigation Area Vessel Requirements

Vessel Traffic Service Lower Mississippi River (VTS LMR), in accordance with the Navigation Safety Regulations, Code of Federal Regulations Title 33, Subpart 161.11, has established a Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) Measure for the waters of the Lower Mississippi River from Mile Marker (MM) 90 Above Head of Passes (AHP) to MM 91 AHP. This Measure is needed to protect persons and vessels from the potential safety hazards associated with a sunken vessel in General Anchorage at MM 90.4 AHP. This Measure is in effect with the following provisions:

  1. New Orleans General Anchorage (MM 90.1 – 90.9 AHP Right Descending Bank) is closed above MM 90.4 AHP. Vessels may anchor in the lower portion of the anchorage below MM 90.4 AHP. All vessels shall remain at least 200 feet away from the green buoy in General Anchorage at MM 90.4.
  2. All vessels are restricted to one-way traffic, no meeting or overtaking, between MM 90 and 91 AHP.
  3. All vessels shall transit MM 90 – 91 AHP at minimum safe speed and favor the left descending bank. Effective immediately, Marine Safety Information Bulletin, Volume XVIII, Issue 023, is rescinded.

MSIB 18 – Pipeline Crossings Advisory

When the Baton Rouge gauge reads 40 feet and falling, a U.S. Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) Measure is established in accordance with the Navigation Safety Regulations, Code of Federal Regulations Title 33, Subpart 161.11, for all waters of the Lower Mississippi River (LMR) from Mile 167.5 Above Head of Passes (AHP), to Mile 254.5 AHP. This VTS Measure is needed to protect persons and vessels from the potential safety hazards associated with the effects of high water levels on the Lower Mississippi River. This Measure is effective at sunrise on March 29, 2018 with the following provisions.

  • Port Allen Lock LMR MM 219-229
    • All vessels are required 1 horsepower (HP) per 5 tons or 280 HP per regulation loaded barge for canal tows entering/exiting the Locks. Empty barges may be calculated at 1⁄2 the horsepower requirements to that of a loaded barge when computing the overall horsepower requirement.
    • Any tow may turn northbound exiting out of Port Allen Lock if making use of an assist vessel of at least 1200 HP provided they receive prior approval from the Vessel Traffic Center (VTC).
    • All tows >600 feet (excluding towboat) entering and exiting the lock must use an assist vessel with a minimum of 1200 HP and when topping around between MM 229-219.
    • All tows >600 feet (excluding towboat) planning to top around without the use of an assist vessel must proceed southbound to the safest point below MM 219.
    • If unable to meet the horsepower-to-ton requirements and obtain alternative permissions from the VTC, then an Assist Vessel is mandatory for entering or exiting the Locks.
  • Wilkinson Point LMR MM 232-237
    • All vessels are limited to a max tow size of 30 barges with 280 HP per barge for southbound transits within this area. Empty barges may be calculated at 1⁄2 the horsepower requirements to that of a loaded barge when computing the overall horsepower requirement. Vessels unable to meet the HP requirements must make adjustments to meet the requirements prior to transiting Wilkinson Point.
    • An 8000 HP towing vessel is authorized to push a 30 barge tow (400 HP less than the requirement in paragraph 1 above).
    • All South Bound traffic will utilize the towing assist vessel (TAV) (min 5000 HP) and will be escorted until transit of the Hwy 190 Bridge is complete. The TAV must meet the southbound vessel no lower than 2,000 feet above Wilkinson Point. The TAV will position itself alongside the most appropriate agreed upon location on the barge tow after consultation with the vessel’s captain.
    • No more than two southbound vessels will be allowed below Thomas Point (MM 240) at any time regardless of tow size
    • All southbound traffic will transit Wilkinson Point during daylight hours only.
    • Northbound vessels unable to make 3 MPH under the Highway 190 Bridge and around Wilkinson Point must use a Private Assist Vessel (PAV).
    • Vessels shall not meet or overtake between MM 232 to MM 237.
    • Tank barges shall be placed in the most protected position in the tow makeup.
    • All tows shall be squared off. No spiked barges shall extend greater than 50 feet beyond the head of the tow. All towing companies should use their most experienced crews.
    • Tows transiting Wilkinson Point pushing one loaded standard barge or two empty standard
      barges are exempt from the TAV queue, but are still required to check-in with VTS LMR and the TAV prior to getting underway.
  • Tows Topping Around between the I-10 and the HWY 190 Bridges and Harbor Fleet Tows
    • Tows greater than 300 feet in length must use a minimum 1000 HP Private Assist Vessel when topping around between the bridges.
    • Tows less than 300 feet in length must use a minimum 800 HP Private Assist Vessel when topping around between the bridges.
    • Harbor Fleet Tows of one load or two empties are exempt from daylight only restrictions, but must coordinate transits with the VTC.

Ocean Going Vessel requirements, Baton Rouge Harbor (MM 225-234):

  1. Ocean going vessels must use tug escorts with adequate horsepower alongside while transiting northbound past the I-10 Bridge to dock, as well as departing the dock and transiting southbound past the I-10 Bridge.
  2. Only one ocean going vessel at a time will be allowed to be underway between the I-10 Bridge and the US-190 Bridge.
  3. Ocean going vessels shall not anchor in the upper half mile of the Baton Rouge General Anchorage. The Pilot must notify the VTC if it is necessary to anchor any vessel in the remainder of the anchorage.
  4. Ocean going vessels must contact the VTC with ETA to Richard Powell range light (MM 218.4) and check in again once at MM 219.
  5. Ocean going vessels departing this area must contact the VTC prior to getting underway.

Check In/Reporting

  1. Vessels will primarily contact the Vessel Traffic Center via VHF-FM channel 12; and can be hailed using the Call Sign “BATON ROUGE TRAFFIC”. In the event the VTC cannot be reached via radio, they may also be contacted via the 24-hour contact number at (504) 365-2230.
  2. Down bound vessels shall report at MM 254.5 (Port Hudson Light) and at MM 240 (Thomas Point).
  3. Up bound vessels shall report at MM219 (Sardine Crossing) and MM 226 (Bottom of the Baton Rouge Anchorage).
  4. Vessels getting underway or entering the river between MM 255 and MM219 must provide a sail plan report prior to entry. The sail plan report must include the following information:
    1. Name of Vessel
    2. Current Location
    3. Vessel Type and Horsepower
    4. Number of loaded barges & number of empty barges
    5. Number of Red Flag barges in the tow
    6. Destination

81-Mile Point
All tows should stay 300-400 feet off the left descending bank within 1⁄2 mile of 81-mile point to avoid dangerous eddies.

This Marine Safety Information Bulletin supersedes Volume XVIII, Issue 016 High Water Safety Advisory: MM 167.5 to MM 254.5 AHP LMR (Above 40’).

MSIB 19 – Vessel Warping Advisory

Vessel warping during extreme high water may create a hazardous condition and significant potential risk of a marine casualty. Captain of the Port New Orleans expects vessels, facilities, and vessel agents planning to warp a vessel to consult with the appropriate pilot associations prior to warping to determine whether or not a pilot and/or tugs are necessary to reposition the vessel from dock to dock.

MSIB 21 – Towing Vessel Safety Advisory

Due to the navigational hazards within the Lower Mississippi River (LMR) associated with high water, there is an increased risk of marine casualties, which could result in towing vessels taking on water. Therefore, the Captain ofthe Port New Orleans is strongly advising the following provisions for all towing vessel operations:

  • Recognize the risks involved and avoid downstreaming under current high river conditions;
  • Ensure that all doors and windows on the first deck are closed and secured;
  • Ensure the vessel has adequate freeboard aft;
  • Notify crewmembers of intentions; and
  • Position crewmembers to climb to safety in the event of a downstreaming casualty. In addition, towing companies shall:
    • Stress the need for safe operations during periods of high water, to include raising awareness as to the risks associated with downstreaming;
    • Conduct daily crew meetings and communications at watch changes to identify and discuss downstreaming hazards and the procedures noted above;
    • Institute and discuss high water procedures to address; the need to close and secure doors and windows on the first deck, be aware ofthe location of crewmembers at all times (i.e. the “buddy system”), and actions and procedures to be taken in the event of a casualty.

MSIB 22 – VTS Measure LMR MM 89 – 95 General Anchorage Traffic Restrictions Rescinded

Vessel Traffic Service Lower Mississippi River (VTS LMR), in accordance with the Navigation Safety Regulations, Code of Federal Regulations Title 33, Subpart 161.11, has established a Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) Measure for the waters of the Lower Mississippi River from Mile Marker (MM) 89 Above Head of Passes (AHP) to MM 95 AHP. This Measure is needed to protect persons and vessels from the potential safety hazards associated with the salvage of a sunken vessel at MM 90.4 AHP. This Measure is in effect with the following provisions:

  1. New Orleans General Anchorage (MM 90.1 – 90.9 AHP Right Descending Bank) is closed. Vessels shall not enter or depart this anchorage without permission from VTS LMR.
  2. Ocean-going deep draft vessels are restricted to one-way traffic, no meeting or overtaking, between MM 89 and 95 AHP. Down-bound transits only during daylight hours and up-bound transits only at night.
  3. Tows shall not meet or overtake between MM 89 – 90.5 AHP.
  4. All vessels shall transit MM 89 – 90.5 AHP at minimum safe speed and favor the left descending bank.

USCG – Facilities Hold Tugs on Deep Draft Vessels Questionnaire

The Captain of the Port New Orleans is requesting all facilities that receive deep draft vessels, and require hold tugs to stay with the vessel, to report the following information:

  1. Facility name and location.
  2. The number of tugs utilized and the trigger point for implementation?
  3. Are the pilot associations consulted prior to requiring hold tugs?
  4. Does your facility have these procedures in writing? If so, please provide a copy.
    Please email your response to the questions above to facilitiesnola@uscg.mil as soon as possible. Thank you in advance for your time and cooperation.

USCG – VTS Measure Rescinded MM 175.9 to MM 176.9

MSIB Issue #24, VTS Measure for one way traffic MM 175.9 to MM176.9, as been rescinded. Normal traffic operations are now back in effect.

MSIB 26 – VTS Measure MM 90 to MM 91: General Anchorage

Vessel Traffic Service Lower Mississippi River (VTS LMR), in accordance with the Navigation Safety Regulations, Code of Federal Regulations Title 33, Subpart 161.11, has established a Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) Measure for the waters of the Lower Mississippi River from Mile Marker (MM) 90 Above Head of Passes (AHP) to MM 91 AHP. This Measure is needed to protect persons and vessels from the potential safety hazards associated with a sunken vessel in General Anchorage at MM 90.4 AHP. This Measure is in effect with the following provisions:

  1. New Orleans General Anchorage (MM 90.1 – 90.9 AHP Right Descending Bank) is closed above MM 90.4 AHP. Vessels may anchor in the lower portion of the anchorage below MM 90.4 AHP. All vessels shall remain at least 200 feet away from the green buoy in General Anchorage at MM 90.4.
  2. All vessels are restricted to one-way traffic, no meeting or overtaking, between MM 90 and 91 AHP.
  3. All vessels shall transit MM 90 – 91 AHP at minimum safe speed and favor the left descending bank. Effective immediately, Marine Safety Information Bulletin, Volume XVIII, Issue 023, is rescinded.

MSIB 25 – MM167.5 – MM254.5, BR Gauge Below 40’ Supersedes MSIB 16/Superseded by MSIB 35

When the Baton Rouge gauge reads 40 feet and falling, a U.S. Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) Measure is established in accordance with the Navigation Safety Regulations, Code of Federal Regulations Title 33, Subpart 161.11, for all waters of the Lower Mississippi River (LMR) from Mile 167.5 Above Head of Passes (AHP), to Mile 254.5 AHP. This VTS Measure is needed to protect persons and vessels from the potential safety hazards associated with the effects of high water levels on the Lower Mississippi River. This Measure is effective at sunrise on March 29, 2018 with the following provisions.

  • Port Allen Lock LMR MM 219-229
    • All vessels are required 1 horsepower (HP) per 5 tons or 280 HP per regulation loaded barge for canal tows entering/exiting the Locks. Empty barges may be calculated at 1⁄2 the horsepower requirements to that of a loaded barge when computing the overall horsepower requirement.
    • Any tow may turn northbound exiting out of Port Allen Lock if making use of an assist vessel of at least 1200 HP provided they receive prior approval from the Vessel Traffic Center (VTC).
    • All tows >600 feet (excluding towboat) entering and exiting the lock must use an assist vessel with a minimum of 1200 HP and when topping around between MM 229-219.
    • All tows >600 feet (excluding towboat) planning to top around without the use of an assist vessel must proceed southbound to the safest point below MM 219.
    • If unable to meet the horsepower-to-ton requirements and obtain alternative permissions from the VTC, then an Assist Vessel is mandatory for entering or exiting the Locks.
  • Wilkinson Point LMR MM 232-237
    • All vessels are limited to a max tow size of 30 barges with 280 HP per barge for southbound transits within this area. Empty barges may be calculated at 1⁄2 the horsepower requirements to that of a loaded barge when computing the overall horsepower requirement. Vessels unable to meet the HP requirements must make adjustments to meet the requirements prior to transiting Wilkinson Point.
    • An 8000 HP towing vessel is authorized to push a 30 barge tow (400 HP less than the requirement in paragraph 1 above).
    • All South Bound traffic will utilize the towing assist vessel (TAV) (min 5000 HP) and will be escorted until transit of the Hwy 190 Bridge is complete. The TAV must meet the southbound vessel no lower than 2,000 feet above Wilkinson Point. The TAV will position itself alongside the most appropriate agreed upon location on the barge tow after consultation with the vessel’s captain.
    • No more than two southbound vessels will be allowed below Thomas Point (MM 240) at any time regardless of tow size
    • All southbound traffic will transit Wilkinson Point during daylight hours only.
    • Northbound vessels unable to make 3 MPH under the Highway 190 Bridge and around Wilkinson Point must use a Private Assist Vessel (PAV).
    • Vessels shall not meet or overtake between MM 232 to MM 237.
    • Tank barges shall be placed in the most protected position in the tow makeup.
    • All tows shall be squared off. No spiked barges shall extend greater than 50 feet beyond the head of the tow. All towing companies should use their most experienced crews.
    • Tows transiting Wilkinson Point pushing one loaded standard barge or two empty standard
      barges are exempt from the TAV queue, but are still required to check-in with VTS LMR and the TAV prior to getting underway.
  • Tows Topping Around between the I-10 and the HWY 190 Bridges and Harbor Fleet Tows
    • Tows greater than 300 feet in length must use a minimum 1000 HP Private Assist Vessel when topping around between the bridges.
    • Tows less than 300 feet in length must use a minimum 800 HP Private Assist Vessel when topping around between the bridges.
    • Harbor Fleet Tows of one load or two empties are exempt from daylight only restrictions, but must coordinate transits with the VTC.

Ocean Going Vessel requirements, Baton Rouge Harbor (MM 225-234):

  1. Ocean going vessels must use tug escorts with adequate horsepower alongside while transiting northbound past the I-10 Bridge to dock, as well as departing the dock and transiting southbound past the I-10 Bridge.
  2. Only one ocean going vessel at a time will be allowed to be underway between the I-10 Bridge and the US-190 Bridge.
  3. Ocean going vessels shall not anchor in the upper half mile of the Baton Rouge General Anchorage. The Pilot must notify the VTC if it is necessary to anchor any vessel in the remainder of the anchorage.
  4. Ocean going vessels must contact the VTC with ETA to Richard Powell range light (MM 218.4) and check in again once at MM 219.
  5. Ocean going vessels departing this area must contact the VTC prior to getting underway.

Check In/Reporting

  1. Vessels will primarily contact the Vessel Traffic Center via VHF-FM channel 12; and can be hailed using the Call Sign “BATON ROUGE TRAFFIC”. In the event the VTC cannot be reached via radio, they may also be contacted via the 24-hour contact number at (504) 365-2230.
  2. Down bound vessels shall report at MM 254.5 (Port Hudson Light) and at MM 240 (Thomas Point).
  3. Up bound vessels shall report at MM219 (Sardine Crossing) and MM 226 (Bottom of the Baton Rouge Anchorage).
  4. Vessels getting underway or entering the river between MM 255 and MM219 must provide a sail plan report prior to entry. The sail plan report must include the following information:
    1. Name of Vessel
    2. Current Location
    3. Vessel Type and Horsepower
    4. Number of loaded barges & number of empty barges
    5. Number of Red Flag barges in the tow
    6. Destination

81-Mile Point

All tows should stay 300-400 feet off the left descending bank within 1⁄2 mile of 81-mile point to avoid dangerous eddies.

This Marine Safety Information Bulletin supersedes Volume XVIII, Issue 016 High Water Safety Advisory: MM 167.5 to MM 254.5 AHP LMR (Above 40’).

MSIB 28 – Carrollton Gauge at 15’ and Falling Supersedes MSIB 14, Superseded by MSIB 43

When the Carrollton Gauge indicates a Mississippi River Stage of 15 feet on the fall. The following requirements will no longer be in effect:

  • 33 CFR 165.810 (d)(2) prohibits vessels from entering South Pass from the Gulf of Mexico if ithas a speed of less than 10 miles per hour. This paragraph does not apply when Southwest Pass is closed to navigation.
  • A U.S. Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) Measure is being established in accordance with the Navigation Safety Regulations, Code of Federal Regulations Title 33, Subpart 161.11, for all waters of the Lower Mississippi River from the Southwest Pass Entrance (SWP), to Mile 255 Above Head of Passes (AHP). Until further notice, vessel-to-vessel cargo transfers are prohibited unless specifically approved in advance by the Captain of the Port (COTP). This temporary VTS Measure restricts the cargo transfers authorized in designated anchorages as noted 33CFR110.195, and also restricts all barge-to-barge mid-stream cargo transfers.
    This VTS Measure does NOT restrict

      • Vessel-to-vessel transfers which take place at a Coast Guard regulated facility.
      • Bunkers or the delivery of ships stores.

    Cargo operations which take place in a designated and established mid-stream buoy system.
    Anyone wishing to conduct vessel-to-vessel cargo transfers not specifically exempted as noted above, should contact the Sector New Orleans Facility Compliance Branch at (504) 365-2370 or by e-mail at Facilitiesnola@uscg.mil.

The following regulations remain in effect:

    • 33 CFR 165.803 (m) requires stricter barge fleeting standards on the Lower Mississippi River.
    • A U.S. Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) Measure is being established in accordance with the Navigation Safety Regulations, Code of Federal Regulations Title 33, Subpart 161.11, to enhance the safety of barge fleets. The 33 CFR 165.803 regulations requiring stricter barge fleeting standards on the Lower Mississippi River are being extended to include all barge fleets from Head of Passes to mile marker (MM) 255 Above Head of Passes (AHP).
    • 33 CFR 165.810 (b)(2) describes high-water requirements for all vessels operating in the Lower Mississippi River below mile 233.9 AHP including South Pass and Southwest Pass.
    • In accordance with 33 CFR 161.65, the Governor Nicholls Harbor Traffic Control Light 94, Gretna Harbor Traffic Control Light 97 and the Westwego Traffic Light 102 will be energized.
    • The Harbor Traffic Control Lights are located at:
      • Governor Nicholls Light, MM 94.3, AHP, LDB, LMR (LLNR 13855/34770), Gretna Light, MM 96.6, AHP, RDB, LMR (LLNR 13880/34795), and Westwego Traffic Light, MM 101.4, AHP, RDB, LMR (LLNR13950).
    • The Governor Nicholls Navigation Light 94 and the Gretna Navigation Light 97 will be extinguished while Traffic Control Lights are operating.
    • Downbound vessels: Check in with Vessel Traffic Service Lower Mississippi River (call sign “New Orleans Traffic”) no lower than the Huey P Long Bridge, MM 106.1, AHP (SHIPS and TOWS), and the Marlex Terminal, MM 99.0, AHP (SHIPS and TOWS).
    • Upbound vessels: Check in with “New Orleans Traffic” no higher than the Algiers Canal Forebay, MM 88.0, AHP (SHIPS), Industrial Canal, MM 92.7, AHP (SHIPS and TOWS), and Crescent Towing Smith Fleet, MM 93.5, AHP (TOWS).
    • In accordance with 33 CFR 160.111 (c), the COTP has determined that during periods of high water, unless moored to a shore side facility or mooring buoys, all deep draft vessels must have three means to hold position. An example would be two fully operational anchors and the propulsion system in standby. Should a vessel lose an anchor or become inoperable with no redundant capabilities available, such as aft anchors or two main engines, a third means of holding position could be via tug assist.
      Mariners should also familiarize themselves with MSIB XV, Issue 13 “Vessel Anchoring Capabilities”.

This Marine Safety Information Bulletin supersedes Volume XVIII, Issue 014 “Carrollton Gauge at 15 Feet and Rising,” originally published on March 1, 2018.

MSIB 27 – Opening of the Bonnet Carre Anchorage

As a result of the Bonnet Carré Spillway closure on March 30, 2018, and the acceptable survey of the Bonnet Carré Anchorage, the VTS Measure detailed in MSIB Volume XVIII, Issue 015 has been cancelled. The Bonnet Carré Anchorage is now open.

MSIB 29 – MM 167.5 to MM 254.5, Baton Rouge Gauge Above 35’ Superseded by MSIB 42

When the Baton Rouge gauge reads above 35’, a U.S. Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) Measure is established in accordance with the Navigation Safety Regulations, Code of Federal Regulations Title 33, Subpart 161.11, for all waters of the Lower Mississippi River (LMR) from Mile 167.5 Above Head of Passes (AHP), to Mile 254.5 AHP. This VTS Measure is needed to protect persons and vessels from the potential safety hazards associated with the effects of high water levels on the Lower Mississippi River. This Measure is effective immediately with the following provisions.

  • Port Allen Lock LMR MM 219-229
    • All vessels are required 1 horsepower (HP) per 5 tons or 280 HP per regulation loaded barge for canal tows entering/exiting the Locks. Empty barges may be calculated at 1⁄2 the horsepower requirements to that of a loaded barge when computing the overall horsepower requirement.
    • Any tow may turn upbound exiting out of Port Allen Lock if making use of an assist vessel of at least 1200 HP provided they receive prior approval from the Vessel Traffic Center (VTC).
    • All tows >600 feet (excluding towboat) entering and exiting the lock must use an assist vessel with a minimum of 1200 HP and when topping around between MM 229-219.
    • All tows >600 feet (excluding towboat) planning to top around without the use of an assist vessel must proceed downbound to the safest point below MM 219.
    • If unable to meet the horsepower-to-ton requirements and obtain alternative permissions from the VTC, then an Assist Vessel is mandatory for entering or exiting the Locks.
  • Wilkinson Point LMR MM 232-237
    • The Towing Assist Vessel (TAV) is no longer assisting tows around Wilkinson Point.
    • All vessels are limited to a max tow size of 30 barges with 280 HP per barge for downbound
      transits within this area. Empty barges may be calculated at 1⁄2 the horsepower requirements to that of a loaded barge when computing the overall horsepower requirement. Vessels unable to meet the HP requirements must make adjustments to meet the requirements prior to transiting Wilkinson Point.
    • An 8000 HP towing vessel is authorized to push a 30 barge tow (400 HP less than the requirement stated in paragraph 1 above).
    • All downbound traffic is required to flank Wilkinson Point and advise VTS when safely clear of the Highway 190 bridge. The only exception to the flanking requirement are tows pushing 1 loaded barge or 2 empty barges.
    • No more than two downbound vessels will be allowed below Thomas Point (MM 240) at any time regardless of tow size
    • All downbound traffic will transit Wilkinson Point during daylight hours only.
    • Upbound vessels unable to make 3 MPH under the Highway 190 Bridge and around Wilkinson Point (between MM 232 and 237) must use a Private Assist Vessel (PAV).
    • Vessels shall not meet or overtake between MM 232 to MM 237.
    • Tank barges shall be placed in the most protected position in the tow makeup.
      10. All tows shall be squared off. No spiked barges shall extend greater than 50 feet beyond the head of the tow. All towing companies should use their most experienced crews.
    • Tows transiting Wilkinson Point pushing one loaded standard barge or two empty standard barges are exempt from the queue, but are still required to check-in with VTS LMR prior to
      getting underway.

Tows Topping Around between the I-10 and the HWY 190 Bridges and Harbor Fleet Tows

  1. Tows greater than 300 feet in length must use a minimum 1000 HP Private Assist Vessel when topping around between the bridges.
  2. Tows less than 300 feet in length must use a minimum 800 HP Private Assist Vessel when topping around between the bridges.
  3. Harbor Fleet Tows of one load or two empties are exempt from daylight only restrictions, but must coordinate transits with the VTC.

Ocean Going Vessel requirements, Baton Rouge Harbor (MM 225-234):

  1. Ocean going vessels must use tug escorts with adequate horsepower alongside while transiting upbound past the I-10 Bridge to dock, as well as departing the dock and transiting downbound past the I-10 Bridge.
  2. Only one ocean going vessel at a time will be allowed to be underway between the I-10 Bridge and the US-190 Bridge.
  3. Ocean going vessels shall not anchor in the upper half mile of the Baton Rouge General Anchorage. The Pilot must notify the VTC if it is necessary to anchor any vessel in the remainder of the anchorage.
  4. Ocean going vessels must contact the VTC with ETA to Richard Powell range light (MM 218.4) and check in again once at MM 219.
  5. Ocean going vessels departing this area must contact the VTC prior to getting underway.

Check In/Reporting

  1. Vessels will primarily contact the Vessel Traffic Center via VHF-FM channel 12; and can be hailed using the Call Sign “BATON ROUGE TRAFFIC”. In the event the VTC cannot be reached via radio, they may also be contacted via the 24-hour contact number at (504) 365-2230.
  2. Downbound vessels shall report at MM 254.5 (Port Hudson Light) and at MM 240 (Thomas Point).
  3. Upbound vessels shall report at MM219 (Sardine Crossing) and MM 226 (Bottom of the Baton Rouge Anchorage).
  4. Vessels getting underway or entering the river between MM 255 and MM219 must provide a sail plan report prior to entry. The sail plan report must include the following information:
    1. Name of Vessel
    2. Current Location
    3. Vessel Type and Horsepower
    4. Number of loaded barges & number of empty barges
    5. Number of Red Flag barges in the tow
    6. Destination

81-Mile Point
All tows should stay 300-400 feet off the left descending bank within 1⁄2 mile of 81-mile point to avoid dangerous eddies.

MSIB 42 – MM 219 to MM 240, Baton Rouge Gauge 35’ and Falling Supersedes MSIB 45

As a result of the Baton Rouge gauge reading 35’ and predicted to fall, the Captain of the Port of New Orleans has issued a safety advisory for all waters of the Lower Mississippi River (LMR) from Mile 219 Above Head of Passes (AHP), to Mile 240 AHP. This safety advisory is effective May 9, 2018 at sunrise. The following are recommendations for the advisory:

  • Wilkinson Point LMR MM 232-237:
    • It is recommended that line-towing companies and tow operators use towing vessels with a horsepower ratio of 240 hp per barge. A maximum of 36 barges per tow is authorized for southbound transit from Wilkinson Point (MM 232 to MM 237 LMR). Empty barges may be calculated at 1⁄2 the horsepower requirements to that of a loaded barge when computing the overall horsepower requirement.
    • Towing vessels with 8000 hp are allowed to push a 35 barge tow makeup (400 hp less than requirement stated above).
    • Owner / Operators are reminded to ensure towing vessel inspections are completed before heading southbound through the Highway 190 bridge at Wilkinson Point, as per 33 CFR 164.78.
    • Line-towing companies should consider staffing vessels with the most experienced crews.
  • Port Allen Lock LMR MM 219-229:
    • All tows greater than 600’ (excluding the towboat) are recommended to employ an assist vessel of at
      least 1200 hp when entering and exiting the Port Allen Lock.
    • All other canal tows exiting the Port Allen Lock intending to directly head northbound are
      recommended to us an assist vessel. All other tows should proceed southbound and then top around at or below MM 219 prior to heading north.
    • Companies should consider staffing vessels with the most experienced crews.
    • Towing vessels shall catch a headline when entering the Port Allen Lock.
    • Vessels will be put on queue for lock turn when their tow is built and may remain in the area in which their tow was built until it is time for lock turn.

This Marine Safety Information Bulletin supersedes Volume XVIII, Issue 029 Safety Advisory: MM 167.5 to MM 254.5 AHP LMR (Above 35’).

MSIB 43 – Carrolton Gauge 12 Feet and Falling, Superseded by MSIB 48

When the Carrollton Gauge indicates a Mississippi River Stage of 12 feet on the fall, the following regulations are no longer in effect:

  1. 33 CFR 165.803 (m) requires stricter barge fleeting standards on the Lower Mississippi River.
  2. 33 CFR 165.810 (b)(2) describes high-water requirements for all vessels operating in the Lower Mississippi River below mile 233.9 AHP including South Pass and Southwest Pass.
  3. A U.S. Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) Measure is being established in accordance with the Navigation Safety Regulations, Code of Federal Regulations Title 33, Subpart 161.11, to enhance the safety of barge fleets. The 33 CFR 165.803 regulations requiring stricter barge fleeting standards on the Lower Mississippi River are being extended to include all barge fleets from Head of Passes to mile marker (MM) 255 Above Head of Passes (AHP).

The following regulations remain in effect:

  1. In accordance with 33 CFR 161.65, the Governor Nicholls Harbor Traffic Control Light 94, Gretna
    Harbor Traffic Control Light 97 and the Westwego Traffic Light 102 will be energized.
  2. The Harbor Traffic Control Lights are located at:
    Governor Nicholls Light, MM 94.3, AHP, LDB, LMR (LLNR 13855/34770), Gretna Light, MM 96.6, AHP, RDB, LMR (LLNR 13880/34795), and Westwego Traffic Light, MM 101.4, AHP, RDB, LMR (LLNR13950).
  3. The Governor Nicholls Navigation Light 94 and the Gretna Navigation Light 97 will be extinguished while Traffic Control Lights are operating.
  4. Downbound vessels: Check in with Vessel Traffic Service Lower Mississippi River (call sign “New Orleans Traffic”) no lower than the Huey P Long Bridge, MM 106.1, AHP (SHIPS and TOWS), and the Marlex Terminal, MM 99.0, AHP (SHIPS and TOWS).
  5. Upbound vessels: Check in with “New Orleans Traffic” no higher than the Algiers Canal Forebay, MM 88.0, AHP (SHIPS), Industrial Canal, MM 92.7, AHP (SHIPS and TOWS), and Crescent Towing Smith Fleet, MM 93.5, AHP (TOWS).
  6. In accordance with 33 CFR 160.111 (c), the COTP has determined that during periods of high water, unless moored to a shore side facility or mooring buoys, all deep draft vessels must have three means to hold position. An example would be two fully operational anchors and the propulsion system in standby. Should a vessel lose an anchor or become inoperable with no redundant capabilities available, such as aft anchors or two main engines, a third means of holding position could be via tug assist.
  7. All cargo transfers authorized in designated anchorages as noted in 33 CFR 110.195, as well as mid- stream cargo transfers, are required to submit for review a Notice of Midstream Transfer 48-hours prior to commencing transfer operations within the Captain of the Port New Orleans (COTP) zone. Midstream cargo transfers may be conducted at the designated anchorages within the New Orleans COTP zone as defined by 33 CFR 110.195(a), with exception of the General Anchorage (MM 90.1 – 90.9 AHP) and the Quarantine Anchorage (MM 90.9 – 91.6 AHP). This requirement does NOT affect:
    1. Vessel to vessel transfers which take place at a Coast Guard regulated facility.
    2. Bunkers or delivery of ships stores.
    3. Cargo operations which take place in a designated and established mid-stream buoy system.

Anyone wishing to conduct vessel to vessel cargo transfers not specifically exempted as noted above, should contact the Sector New Orleans Facility Compliance Branch at (504) 365-2370 or by e-mail at Facilitiesnola@uscg.mil. A Midstream Transfer Notice form was supplied, identified as MSIB XVIII Issue 008a.

Mariners should also familiarize themselves with MSIB XV, Issue 13 “Vessel Anchoring Capabilities”.
This Marine Safety Information Bulletin supersedes Volume XVIII, Issue 028 “Carrollton Gauge at 15 Feet and Falling,” originally published on March 30, 2018.

MSIB 45 – MM 219 to MM 240, Baton Rouge Gauge 30’ and Falling Supersedes MSIB 42

As a result of the Baton Rouge gauge reading 30’ and predicted to fall, the Captain of the Port of New Orleans has issued a safety advisory for all waters of the Lower Mississippi River (LMR) from Mile 219 Above Head of Passes (AHP), to Mile 240 AHP. This safety advisory is effective immediately. The following are recommendations for the advisory:

Port Allen Lock LMR MM 219-229:

    1. All tows greater than 600’ (excluding the towboat) are recommended to employ an assist vessel of at least 1200 hp when entering and exiting the Port Allen Lock.
    2. All other Canal Tows exiting the Port Allen Lock intending to directly head northbound are recommended to use an assist vessel. All other tows should proceed southbound and then top around at or below MM 219 prior to heading north.
    3. Companies should staff vessels with their most experienced crews.
    4. Towing vessels are recommended to catch a headline when entering the Port Allen Lock.
    5. Vessels will be put on queue for lock turn when their tow is built and may remain in the area in which their tow was built until it is time for lock turn.

Wilkinson Point LMR MM 232-237:

All restrictions have been rescinded.

This Marine Safety Information Bulletin supersedes Volume XVIII, Issue 042 High Water Safety Advisory: MM 219 to MM 240 AHP LMR (35’ and falling).

MSIB 48 – Carrollton Gauge 9 feet and Falling, Supersedes MSIB 43

The Carrollton Gauge indicates a Mississippi River stage of 9 feet and falling.
As a result of the Carrollton Gauge reading 9 feet and falling, the following measures are now in effect:

  1. In accordance with 33 CFR 161.65, the Governor Nicholls Harbor Traffic Control Light 94, Gretna Harbor Traffic Control Light 97 and the Westwego Traffic Light 102 have been de-energized. The harbor traffic control lights are located at: Governor Nicholls Light, MM 94.3, AHP, LDB, LMR (LLNR 13855/34770); Gretna Light, MM 96.6, AHP, RDB, LMR (LLNR 13880/34795); and, the Westwego Traffic Light, MM 101.4, AHP, RDB, LMR (LLNR13950).
  2. The Governor Nicholls Navigation Light 94 and the Gretna Navigation Light 97 are operating properly.

The following regulations are no longer in effect:

  1. 33 CFR 165.810 (b)(2) describes high-water requirements for all vessels operating in the Lower Mississippi River below mile 233.9 AHP including South Pass and Southwest Pass.The Algiers Point Vessel Traffic Control lights are energized and vessel traffic is being regulated in the vicinity of Algiers Point. The Vessel Traffic Control lights are located at Governor Nicholls Light, 94.4AHP, LBD, LMR (LLNR 13630/33185), Gretna Light, 97.6 AHP, RDB, LMR (LLNR 3655/33210) and the Westwego Repeater Light, 101.4 AHP, RDB, LMR (LLNR 13715).
  2. In accordance with 33 CFR 160.111 (c ), the COTP has determined that during periods of high water, unless moored to a shore side facility or mooring buoys, all deep draft vessels must have three means to hold position. An example would be two fully operational anchors and the propulsion system in standby. Should a vessel lose an anchor or become inoperable with no redundant capabilities available, such as aft anchors or two main engines, a third means of holding position could be via tug assist.
  3. All cargo transfers authorized in designated anchorages as noted in 33 CFR 110.195, as well as mid-stream cargo transfers, are required to submit for review a Notice of Midstream Transfer 48-hours prior to commencing transfer operations within the Captain of the Port New Orleans (COTP) zone.

This Marine Safety Information Bulletin supersedes Volume XVIII, Issue 043 Carrollton Gauge at 12 Feet and Falling.

For further information, contact the following:

Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Service Lower Mississippi River (24 hours): (504) 365-2230, VHF-FM ch 12Coast Guard Sector New Orleans Command Center (24 hours): (504) 365-2543
Coast Guard Sector New Orleans Waterways Management: (504) 365-2280

MSIB 50 – MM 219 to MM 240, Baton Rouge 26’ and Falling Supersedes MSIB 45

MM 219 to MM 240 AHP LMR (26’ and falling)

As a result of the Baton Rouge gauge reading 26’ and predicted to fall, the Captain of the Port of New Orleans has issued a safety advisory for all waters of the Lower Mississippi River (LMR) from Mile 219 Above Head of Passes (AHP), to Mile 240 AHP. This safety advisory is effective immediately.

Port Allen Lock LMR MM 219-229:

  • All restrictions have been rescinded.

This Marine Safety Information Bulletin supersedes Volume XVIII, Issue 045 High Water Safety Advisory: MM 219 to MM 240 AHP LMR (30 and falling).

For further information, contact the following:

Vessel Traffic Center Lower Mississippi River: (504) 365-2230 (24 HR), VHF-FM CH 05A, 11, or 12 Coast Guard Baton Rouge Waterways Management: (225) 298-5400 X230
Coast Guard Sector New Orleans Command Center: (504) 365-2200