LAMA Members

I’m providing the following as a “For Your Information“….


  • As you recall, earlier this year persistent fog conditions closed navigation from Algiers Point down through SWP.
  • The fog not only shutdown navigation for vessels; it also shut down the USACE survey operationsand severely hampers dredging operations.
    • The USACE survey vessel(s) do not operate in fog conditions nor at night.
  • The lack of surveys caused the BAR Pilots to reduce draft from 44’ to 40’ on February 8, 2019.
  • After a few ships transited SWP, the draft was returned to 44’.
  • The draft was lowered again in March to 41’, and finally back up to 44’ in April.
  • We continue to have a 44’ recommended draft, 3’ below the ’normal’ 47’.

Some estimates have the cargo cost of losing draft at $1M a foot per vessel.


Here is what I understand:

  • The USACE uses several survey boats that utilize single beam sonar that takes a ’shot’ every 3’ at a 500’ – 1000’ cross-sections.
  • A computer interpolates the bottom contour in between the actual cross-sections.

There are new technologies deployed by commercial contractors thatutilize multibeam sonarreporting:

  • They can take 1 shot per square foot providing 100% coverage.
  • Also, the commercial contractors report they can operate in fog and at night.

To the point….

  • CRPPA has contracted with a commercial company to conduct a 30-day Beta Test to conduct daily surveys from the Jump to the HOP (10.5 Miles).
  • Those surveys will be over laid the USACE surveys for comparison purposes.
  • The surveys can be found at, then click on “Surveys”.

Note: CRPPA will ‘expense’ the cost of the test in their annual true-up. Therefore, as all Pilot expenses, it will be part of their Tariff in 2020.

If the Beta test provides the results promised, a decision on the way-forward will have to be made.

Updates will be provided.

End of report.