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 to Mile 240 Above Head of Passes. This advisory is effective Saturday, April 24, 2021 at sunrise. The following are recommendations for the advisory:
Wilkinson Point LMR MM 232-237:
- Once the Southbound queue is clear at Wilkinson Point, Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) Lower Mississippi River will no longer direct traffic at Wilkinson Point or monitor VHF ch 12. Per their normal communications plan, VTS will monitor channel 05A for MM 109-254.
- 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 recommended for southbound transits from Wilkinson Point (MM 232 to MM 237 LMR). Empty barges may be calculated at ½ the horsepower requirements to that of a loaded barge when computing the overall horsepower requirement.
- Owners / Operators are reminded to ensure towing vessel tests and inspections are completed before heading southbound through the Highway 190 bridge at Wilkinson Point, per 33 CFR 164.78.
- Line-towing companies should consider staffing vessels with the most experienced crews.
Port Allen Lock LMR MM 221-229:
- 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 use an assist vessel, or first proceed southbound and then top around at or below MM 221 prior to heading north.
- Companies should consider staffing vessels with the most experienced crews.
- Towing vessels are recommended to 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.
- Canal Tow operators are recommended to use at least 240 HP per barge. Empty barges may be calculated at ½ the horsepower requirements to that of a loaded barge.
This Marine Safety Information Bulletin supersedes MSIB Vol XXI Issue 015 Baton Rouge 35’ and rising VTS Measure and MSIB Vol XXI Issue 024 Baton Rouge 37′ and falling Wilkinson Point VTS Measure.
For additional information, contact the following:
Vessel Traffic Center Lower Mississippi River: (504) 365-2230 (24 HR), VHF-FM CH 05A
Coast Guard Baton Rouge Waterways Management: (225) 298-5400 X230
Coast Guard Sector New Orleans Command Center: (504) 365-2200