Coast Guard units throughout Southeast Louisiana have begun post-hurricane response operations, including response to several vessel incidents, pollution and aids to navigation assessments and reconstitution of the service's facilities.
The Coast Guard command post here, re-located from New Orleans and responsible for directing all operations in Southeast Louisiana, received a report Monday morning of two ships and one barge adrift in the New Orleans Industrial Canal. On-scene sources confirmed that two ships - apparently decommissioned supply vessels - had broke the moorings and were being pushed against the west side of the canal, just north of the Florida Ave. Bridge, and that the barge had sunk in the same area. The Coast Guard contacted the owner of the supply vessels and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to provide crews and vessels to attempt to secure the vessels. Those operations are ongoing.
In a separate incident in the Industrial Canal, another vessel and two barges broke their moorings and are adrift at the L&N railroad bridge. The barges are against the bridge, which has reportedly sustained damage. One barge is above a natural gas pipeline and will require an assessment and Coast Guard-approved salvage plan before safe removal. The Coast Guard is working with the Army Corps of Engineers, the owners of the vessels and a salvage company to mitigate the situation.
Other incidents the Coast Guard is responding to include:
- A tug sank in the Mississippi River, near Harahan, La., and a fuel leak has been reported. The Coast Guard is working with a pollution cleanup company to respond.
- Eight barges broke away at the Gnotts Fleet, just upriver from Kenner, La. Seven of the barges were reported to be empty and one contains non-hazardous cargo.
- The ferry Iberville broke free from its moorings, struck another vessel and sank against the bank of the Mississippi River, 20 miles downriver from Baton Rouge, La.
Personnel are working today to verify multiple reports of barges and vessels adrift and monitoring industry efforts to deploy tugs to various locations to secure vessels. Coast Guard assessment teams are also in the field to determine waterway conditions, part of efforts to reconstitute the maritime transportation system.
Southeastern Louisiana waterways will remained closed until after these assessments for pollution, aids to navigation and any hazards to navigation are complete and it is safe for traffic to resume. However, tugs and other vessels required for surveys and to secure adrift barges and vessels are being allowed to move on the waterways.
The service is also working to return personnel and units that re-located to safe havens ahead of the storm. Personnel are assessing all Coast Guard shore facilities throughout the region to determine when operations can resume from home units. Operations have continued from command posts at emergency relocation sites in the region.