As a result of the Baton Rouge gauge reading 31’ 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 to Mile 240 Above Head of Passes. This advisory is effective immediately. The following are recommendations for the advisory:
Wilkinson Point LMR MM 232-237:
1. Tow sizes should be kept to a maximum of 36 barges.
2. All tow operators and towing companies should use a ratio of 240 horsepower per standard barge or 550 horsepower per oversize barge for southbound transits. For the purpose of this calculation, barges with dimensions 290’ x 50’ or larger are considered “oversize” while barges with dimensions less than 290’ x 50’ are considered “standard.” If one of the barge dimensions (length or width) meets or exceeds the 290’ x 50’, then the barge is considered “oversize.” Empty barges may be calculated at ½ the horsepower requirements to that of a loaded barge when computing the overall horsepower requirement. Towing vessels with Z-drive propulsion types may be treated as having a horsepower 20% greater than the engine’s rating for the purpose of this calculation.
3. Tows should use their most experienced crews.
Port Allen Lock LMR MM 219-229:
1. All tows greater than 600’ (excluding the towboat) shall employ an assist vessel of at least 1200 hp when entering the locks.
2. All tows exiting the Port Allen Lock into the LMR intending to turn northbound shall use an assist vessel of at least 1200 hp or proceed southbound below MM 221 if topping around unassisted before heading north.
3. Canal Tow operators are recommended to use at least 280 HP per standard barge. Empty barges may be calculated at ½ the horsepower requirements to that of a loaded barge.
4. Tows should use their most experienced crews.
5. Towing vessels shall catch a headline when entering the Port Allen Lock.
6. 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 MSIB Vol XXII Issue 26 Baton Rouge 33’ and falling.
For additional information, contact the following:
Coast Guard Baton Rouge Waterways Management: (225) 298-5400 X230
Coast Guard Sector New Orleans Command Center: (504) 365-2200
Vessel Traffic Service Lower Mississippi River: (504) 365-2230, VHF FM Ch. 05A, 12, 67