Lower Mississippi River vessel traffic system returns to normal following Hurricane Isaac

America's Heartland Coast Guard NewsNEW ORLEANS – The Coast Guard Captain of the Port of New Orleans lifted all restrictions to vessel traffic on the Lower Mississippi River from Baton Rouge to the Gulf of Mexico Friday at 10 p.m., after assessments and transits by smaller ships indicated that the channel is safe for all types of vessels.

Tows are permitted to transit the Lower Mississippi without restriction, and the Intracoastal Waterway East of Harvey Lock is open.

“The Mississippi River system is a vital part of the U.S. economy, so we are very pleased we can open the river to those who depend on it,” said Capt. Peter Gautier, Coast Guard Captain of the Port of New Orleans. “We work very closely with Vessel Traffic Service and the River Pilot Associations on a regular basis to keep the Mississippi River system running smoothly, and this situation was no exception.”

The Coast Guard, Army Corps of Engineers, River Pilot Associations and port authorities surveyed the river and surrounding waterways in an aggressive effort to identify any navigational hazards.

The Coast Guard continues to work with the maritime industry to respond to a number of ship groundings and barge strandings along the riverbank caused by the river surge and high winds of the storm. Additionally, Coast Guard hazardous materials response teams are surveying the area to identify any hazardous materials released during the hurricane.

The public is reminded to notify the Coast Guard Sector New Orleans Incident Management Team at 504-365-2158 to report any sunken vessels, pollution in the water, suspicious activities and unsafe conditions.

If you have any problems viewing this article, please report it here.