With the approach of Hurricane Ida, the Port of New Orleans continues to service vessels that are already in port, but deep draft navigation has ceased at the mouth of the Mississippi River while mariners prepare for severe weather.
A decision is expected to be made later today about when the mouth of the Mississippi can be reopened to deep draft marine traffic. Meanwhile, vessels that do not require a pilot can continue to seek safe haven in Venice or ports further upriver, according to the Coast Guard.
The closure of the mouth of the river has delayed the inaugural arrival of the Carnival Triumph, which was scheduled to begin homeport operations from New Orleans starting Tuesday.
Because of the projected path of Hurricane Ida, Carnival Triumph will now operate a modified three-day cruise from New Orleans that will depart Wednesday, Nov. 11.
The ship was originally scheduled to sail on a four-day cruise departing Tuesday.
Guests sailing on the modified three-day voyage will receive a 50 percent refund of their cruise fare paid for the four-day cruise. Guests can also opt of cancelling and receiving a full refund. All guests on the affected voyage have been notified of the change.
A press conference and luncheon that was supposed to take place on board Carnival Triumph on Tuesday has been cancelled.
Because of the closure of flood gates along the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal (IHNC), the Seabrook and Almonaster Bridges are closed to rail traffic. There is normally no vehicular traffic on these bridges. The Seabrook and Almonaster bridges will remain open to marine traffic until the water level on the IHNC reaches +5 feet of elevation.
The Florida Avenue Bridge is closed to vehicular and rail traffic because of the closure of IHNC flood gates. The bridge has been raised to 40 feet. The bridge can be raised to a higher level to accommodate marine traffic, but mariners should notify the Port one hour in advance. Mariners should contact Charles Johnson, superintendant of bridge operations, at 504-237-4601 if they would like to request the Florida Avenue Bridge to be raised higher than 40 feet.
The St. Claude Avenue Bridge remains open to vehicular and marine traffic. It is expected remain open to marine traffic unless or until winds reach 40 mph when it will be locked in its lowered position. The curfews which prevent the bridge from being raised during peak drive times have been removed in order to aid in the movement of vessels seeking safe harbor.