Coast Guard opens Mississippi River with safety restrictions after tug boat sinks

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NEW ORLEANS — The Coast Guard has re-opened the Mississippi River above Head of Passes after determining it to be safe for navigation, Sunday.

Survey operations are ongoing in an effort to locate the sunken 48-foot tug boat C-Pec between mile marker eight and Head of Passes. Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Service Lower Mississippi River will continue to implement vessel traffic management measures to ensure safe navigation.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completed two survey passes from mile marker eight to mile marker zero above Head of Passes with no navigation hazards identified. Contracted survey vessels have conducted channel centerline surveys from mile marker zero through Southwest Pass below Head of Passes to the Gulf of Mexico with no navigation hazards identified.

The Coast Guard Captain of the Port of New Orleans has re-opened mile marker zero to mile marker 10 to one-way vessel traffic only, implementing a traffic resumption plan developed by the Coast Guard, Army Corps of Engineers and pilot associations with initial transits to be conducted by three shallow draft vessels.

All deep draft vessels movements will be coordinated between the Vessel Traffic Service, pilot associations and the Army Corps of Engineers. Shallow-draft vessels that do not normally navigate the deep draft channel are encouraged to transit the area at a slow safe speed with extreme caution and adhere to any instructions from the survey vessels on VHF-FM channel 67.

The Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Service will continue to issue routine updates as needed.

Surveys with Army Corps of Engineers vessels, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration vessels and six contracted vessels will continue to search for the sunken vessel and verify conditions along the edge of the channel.

The cause of the incident is under investigation.

– See more at: http://www.uscgnews.com/go/doc/4007/1839471/#sthash.9GX6li8e.dpuf

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