MSIB Vol XXI Issue 032 Safety Advisory MM 219 - 240 30' and Rising

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Baton Rouge 30’ and Rising - MM 221 to MM 240 AHP LMR

As a result of the Baton Rouge gauge reading 30’ and predicted to rise, the Captain of the Port of New Orleans has issued a safety advisory for all waters of the Lower Mississippi River (LMR) from Mile 219 to Mile 240 Above Head of Passes. This advisory is effective Wednesday, May 05, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. The following are recommendations for the advisory:


Wilkinson Point LMR MM 232-237:     

  • All tow operators and towing companies should use a ratio of 240 horsepower per standard barge or 550 horsepower per oversize barge for southbound transits. For the purpose of this calculation, barges with dimensions 290’ x 50’ or larger are considered “oversize” while barges with dimensions less than 290’ x 50’ are considered “standard.” If one of the barge dimensions (length or width) meets or exceeds the 290’ x 50’, then the barge is considered “oversize.” Empty barges may be calculated at ½ the horsepower requirements to that of a loaded barge when computing the overall horsepower requirement. Towing vessels with Z-drive propulsion types may be treated as having a horsepower 20% greater than the engine’s rating for the purpose of this calculation.

  • Owners / Operators are reminded to ensure towing vessel tests and inspections are completed before heading southbound through the Highway 190 bridge at Wilkinson Point, per 33 CFR 164.78.

  • Line-towing companies should consider staffing vessels with the most experienced crews.


Port Allen Lock LMR MM 221-229:

  • All tows greater than 600’ (excluding the towboat) are recommended to employ an assist vessel of at least 1200 hp when entering and exiting the Port Allen Lock.

  • All other canal tows exiting the Port Allen Lock intending to directly head northbound are recommended to use an assist vessel, or first proceed southbound and then top around at or below MM 221 prior to heading north.

  • Companies should consider staffing vessels with the most experienced crews.

  • Towing vessels are recommended to catch a headline when entering the Port Allen Lock.

  • Vessels will be put on queue for lock turn when their tow is built and may remain in the area in which their tow was built until it is time for lock turn.

  • Canal Tow operators are recommended to use at least 240 HP per barge. Empty barges may be calculated at ½ the horsepower requirements to that of a loaded barge.


This Marine Safety Information Bulletin supersedes MSIB Vol XXI Issue 029 Baton Rouge 30’ and falling


For additional information, contact the following:

Vessel Traffic Center Lower Mississippi River: (504) 365-2230 (24 HR), VHF-FM CH 05A

Coast Guard Baton Rouge Waterways Management: (225) 298-5400 X230

Coast Guard Sector New Orleans Command Center:  (504) 365-2200