Grounded towing vessel holding up hundreds of ships on Intracoastal Waterway
BERWICK — The Coast Guard says recovery efforts are still underway after a towing vessel ran aground on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway on Monday.
Officials say the Miss Odessa was towing six hopper barges full of rock when it ran aground between Berwick and Morgan City. The Coast Guard said Thursday that recovery efforts would likely continue for another three to four days.
The queue of ships waiting for clean-up to finish so they can pass includes more than 190 towing vessels and 560 barges.
“The location of the wreck is in a particularly critical point along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, as it is adjacent to the intersection with the Atchafalaya River, a meeting point for two major shipping channels, along which most of the gulf’s maritime commerce transits,” said Lt. Cmdr. Zach Robertson, prevention department head at Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Morgan City. “This area is unusually challenging to navigate this time of year due to seasonal high water levels and rapidly changing currents.”
The vessel was traveling south on the Atchafalaya River when it turned west and hit bottom. In an attempt to break free, Miss Odessa tore apart the barge, causing the barge to split in half.
The Marine Safety Unit Morgan City's marine inspections team and investigations team arrived on the scene Monday morning to assess the incident. No damages to the Miss Odessa vessel or other five barges were reported. Also, no pollution has been reported in the area.
The Coast Guard has secured all tow traffic in the location of the barge and the vessel queue as of 2:30 p.m. Monday was 12 southbound, 4 northbound, 6 westbound and 28 eastbound.
A salvage company was hired by the towing vessel company to assist the salvage of the barge. A Coast Guard salvage engineering response team is assisting as well.