Coast Guard responds to barge breakaway on Upper Mississippi River

The Coast Guard and local agencies responded to a multi-barge breakaway in the vicinity of mile markers 176 and 177 on the Upper Mississippi River Wednesday, February 12, 2020. Multiple towing vessels in the area worked together to account for and secure all the loose barges.

The Coast Guard and local agencies responded to a multi-barge breakaway in the vicinity of mile markers 176 and 177 on the Upper Mississippi River Wednesday, February 12, 2020.

NEW ORLEANS — The Coast Guard and local agencies responded to a multi-barge breakaway in the vicinity of mile markers 176 and 177 on the Upper Mississippi River, Wednesday.

Watchstanders at Sector Upper Mississippi River received the report at 3 a.m. that there was a multi-barge breakaway from a fleeting area on the Upper Mississippi River.

Multiple towing vessels in the area worked together to account for and secure all the loose barges.


The Coast Guard initially closed the river for the safety of those on the waterway, however all loose barges have been accounted for and the river has been reopened.

There is no report of pollution or injuries.

“The Coast Guard works closely with our port partners and local law enforcement to properly manage incidents like this,” said Lt. Cmdr. Kathryn McCormack, the incident commander representing Sector Upper Mississippi River. “Anyone on the water should maintain vigilance while operating on the waterway.”

The cause of this incident remains under investigation.

Involved in the response were:

  • Coast Guard Sector Upper Mississippi River
  • Illinois State Police
  • Missouri Department of Transportation
  • River Industry Action Committee
  • Signal Hill Fire Department


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