LMR Collision Leads To Brief River Closure

The tows of two towboats, one heading northbound and the other southbound on the Lower Mississippi River near New Orleans, La., collided February 13 and led to a breakaway, a brief closure of the river there, and minor damage to the vessels involved.

The mv. Miss Dixie, owned by Louisiana, Mo.-based Hex Stone Inc., was headed southbound around Mile 103 near the city of Westwego, while American Commercial Barge Line’s mv. D&R Boney was moving northbound. Various reports indicated the Miss Dixie lost steerage, with that vessel’s lead barge striking the D&R Boney’s lead barge around 6:45 p.m.

“They were pushing a total of 14 barges, and one was reported as a red flag barge,” said U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Brandon Giles.

Giles said the D&R Boney suffered a 4- or 5-foot puncture in one of its ballast tanks. The Jefferson Parish Fire Department responded to an apparent fire in the engineroom aboard the Miss Dixie. According to one media report, that apparent fire had already been extinguished when a fireboat arrived on the scene.

As a result of the breakaway, the river was closed briefly between Mile 101 and Mile 106. Giles said all the barges were recovered safely, with no reports of injuries or environmental impacts.

At press time, both the Miss Dixie and the D&R Boney remained moored on the east bank of the river just above the New Orleans Engineer District office.