The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has completed work at the Plaquemine Bend location for the day and the channel is reopened with no revetment related transit restrictions.
The Vessel Traffic Service does request that vessels transit the area at the slowest safe speed this afternoon.
The revetment operations at Plaquemine Bend will not resume until approximately noon on Monday, January 18, 2021.
The Big River Coalition’s U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) 2020/2021 Revetment Schedule and Transit Restrictions Update 11421 is here.
The latest schedule for revetment operations as provided by the USACE is here – as released on January 12, 2021.
The remaining schedule for revetment operations at the last location below Baton Rouge (Plaquemine Bend) and the transit restrictions are listed in the table below.
2020/21 USACE Revetment Schedule and Restrictions Secondary Locations Below Baton Rouge
(Right or Left)
|2020/2021 Scheduled Dates
January 7 to January 14
January 18 to January 22
|No southbound traffic and northbound traffic is limited to vessels having drafts of 25 feet or less during working hours. MSU will fold in at night.
There will be no revetment operations conducted from January 15 to January 17 and therefore no revetment related transit restrictions.
The USACE intends to conduct revetment operations with a partial work day on January 18, 2021, with a tentative starting time of 1200 hours. The transit restrictions would go into effect when the MSU begins mat sinking operations that day.
The restrictions for the Plaquemine Bend location are reproduced below from the most recent Marine Safety Information Bulletin (attached) released by the U.S. Coast Guard Sector New Orleans:
“Each evening when the platform is removed from the channel, the USACE contact pilots will direct vessels in the southbound queue to proceed, and then allow northbound traffic to continue once the southbound queue is clear. Mariners are advised to transit at slowest safe speed to minimize wake whenever passing the Mat Sinking Unit (MSU).
The following restrictions are in effect while the MSU is conducting revetment maintenance operations:
- All vessels (except as described below) are prohibited from entering a zone extending from I mile upriver to l mile downriver from the MSU.
- Northbound vessels having a draft of less than 25 feet may transit around the MSU after contacting the USACE contact pilots stationed on the M/V WILLIAM JAMES via VHF-FM Channels 67 or 82 to make passing arrangements.
- Towing vessels pushing small tows approximately 1-2 barges in length may be able to transit past the revetment operation during working hours if deemed safe by the USACE contact pilots.
This Marine Safety Information Bulletin SUPERSEDES Volume XX Issue 133 dated 30 Dec 2020. Updates and/or changes will be disseminated via VTS email distribution and via Broadcast Notice to Mariners.”
Working hours are from 0600 hours to 1900 hours, although completion is dependent upon multiple factors that could mean completing earlier or working later.
The Mat Sinking Unit will fold in at night – no night time transit restrictions are expected related to the revetment operations.
The restriction from the New Orleans Baton Rouge Pilots Associations (NOBRA) is for vessels transiting above Mile 220 AHP having a draft of 41 feet or greater and will place on extra limitation on these deeper vessels.
“Above LMR MM 220, vessels drafting 41’ or greater are restricted to daylight only. Vessels must get underway 3 hours prior to the official sunset time.
Exceptions will be made for shifts from berths to/from the Middle Baton Rouge anchorage.”
The following steps were designed to assure vessels having drafts deeper than 41 feet conducting transits above Mile 220 could sail at first light, while minimizing the delay to the USACE revetment operations.
These steps were developed with collaboration of the NOBRA Pilots, USACE and Big River Coalition:
- Prior notification of the intent for a vessel with a draft of 41 feet or greater to transit above Mile 220 Above Head of Passes – confirmed with NOBRA and the Big River Coalition no later than 1630 hours the day before the prospective morning transit.
[Notification of tentative plans to transit 24-48 hours in advance would be very helpful and shared with the USACE and NOBRA.]
- Confirmation of delayed morning start for revetment operations from USACE will be shared with the vessel agent and NOBRA by 1700 hours the day before the morning transit.
- Vessel Agent will order the NOBRA Pilot ordered onboard by 0530 hours the morning of transit.
- Vessel Agent must ensure harbor tug(s) are dedicated to the specific job and alongside with the vessel ready to sail (engines warmed up) no later than 0545 hours.
- The Pilot going aboard will call Toby Wattingney (NOBRA VP) to confirm status of prospective vessel transit.
- Toby will establish a three way call with myself and the proper contact from the USACE no later than 0545 hours on morning of coordinated transits.
- Realtime transit decision confirmed and shared with the NOBRA, Big River Coalition and USACE on the morning of transit.
- Big River Coalition will immediately contact the vessel agent to share the conditions from the call identified in Step #7.
- The Mat Sinking Unit will delay revetment operations until 0900 hours on the morning of the pre-arranged transit.
- If a coordinated and scheduled planned transit for a vessel with a draft of 41 feet or greater is delayed for any reason, such as tugs delayed, anchors fouled or weather delays (fog or visibility) the transit will be cancelled during the 0545 scheduled call and rescheduled for the next available day.
- The transiting vessel must be able to clear the working revetment site by 0900 hours or possibly be rescheduled for the following day.
Vessel agents are encouraged to coordinate closely with and provide prior notification (advanced notice) to the NOBRA Pilots and the undersigned to assist with vessel movements through the area of revetment operations at Plaquemine Bend.