Ship Strikes Pier, Leaks Diesel Into River

The U.S. Coast Guard’s Vessel Traffic Service Lower Mississippi River on April 12 closed the Mississippi River between Miles 91 and 101 after a vessel reportedly struck a pier and leaked diesel fuel into the river.

The Coast Guard received a report at about 10:30 a.m. that morning that the Singapore-flagged ship Pac Antares had struck a pier at the Port of New Orleans’ Nashville Avenue Wharf, puncturing its hull and causing the diesel discharge.

By midday, the ship was still moored at the wharf.

“All vessels are prohibited from transiting between Mile 91 and Mile 101 without permission from VTS LMR until further notice,” the Vessel Traffic Service announcement read in part.

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Effect On Other Vessels

The discharge was already having an effect on inbound vessels farther downriver as well. Early into the response, Capt. Ron Branch, president of the Louisiana Maritime Association, confirmed that Capt. Michael Bopp, president of the Crescent River Port Pilots’ Association, had recommended that inbound ships at the 9 Mile Anchorage and 12 Mile anchorages to deploy boom around their hulls.

“There has been a spill at Nashville Avenue and the spill is heading downriver,” Bopp said in the message, “and when it gets on the ships [they] will be mandated to clean it off before moving into clean water.”

Involved in the response were the Coast Guard, Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans, National Response Corperation, Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinators Office, Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality and OMI Environmental Standards.

The Coast Guard reported no injuries, and the cause of the incident was under investigation.