Coast Guard suspends barge salvation operations on Mississippi River

Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Vicksburg CrestVICKSBURG, Miss. — The Coast Guard temporarily suspended salvage operations, Saturday, on a soybean barge that partially sank after a towing vessel allided with the Old Vicksburg Bridge on the Mississippi River.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Vicksburg received a report that the towing vessel, Kay A. Eckstein, allided with the Old Vicksburg Bridge, causing the barges being pushed by the towing vessel to come free. One barge allided with the I-20 bridge, partially sank, and is considered a hazard to navigation.

The unified command will discuss further salvage plans as equipment arrives on scene and environmental conditions permit.

I-20 bridge vehicle traffic will remain unaffected during salvage operations.

Based off the current river conditions and the hazard to navigation that the partially sunken barge presents, southbound barge traffic will be permitted with some size restrictions.

Northbound traffic will be managed during the night while southbound traffic will be managed during the day. There are currently 36 vessels waiting to transit northbound.

The Coast Guard continues to work alongside Louisiana and Mississippi Departments of Transportation, local law enforcement agencies, the Army Corps of Engineers and the marine industry to complete salvage operations and re-open the river to commerce as safely and quickly as possible.

“The Unified Command remains focused on safely removing the barge from the I-20 bridge with minimal impact to vehicle traffic,” said Cmdr. Scott Anderson, deputy commander of Coast Guard Sector Lower Mississippi River.

There are no reported injuries or pollution.

The Coast Guard is investigating the cause of the incident.

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