January 22nd 2016
The Mississippi River has reopened to ship traffic at Point Celeste and Davant, south of New Orleans, after a 22-barge breakaway forced a two-day disruption, the Coast Guard announced.
The river reopened late Thursday night (Jan. 21) to one-way traffic between mile markers 50 and 52, in Plaquemines Parish, the agency said in a Friday morning press release.
The Coast Guard said it closed the river after 22 barges loaded with petroleum coke and a “coal-like substance” broke loose Tuesday. Some of the barges collided with deep-draft motor vessels Q Jake, Serena P and Ocean Tomo, which had some damage and are now anchored.
Some dry-bulk soybeans from one of the vessels fell into the river, but that cargo was later secured, the release said. All but one of the loose barges have been secured. The remaining barge is pushed up against a river bank.
The Coast Guard said the cause of the incident is under investigation.
High water levels in the river have led to shipping problems in recent weeks. On Jan. 15, a tow vessel crashed into a barge fleet near the Crescent City Connection in New Orleans, spilling about 20 gallons of what the Coast Guard called a “residual petroleum-based product.”
Six barges broke loose in the Jan. 15 collision but were later secured. The incident shut down traffic in a 3-mile portion of the river for more than 10 hours.