Army Corps invites public to view largest towboat built in U.S.

Web1 Motor Vessel Mississippi 1

The following is the text of a news release from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers:

(LITTLE ROCK, Ark.) – The largest towboat ever built in the United States, the M/V Mississippi, is a sight to see. This 241-foot-long workhorse for the Army Corps of Engineers will travel down the Arkansas River Aug. 12-14, and the Corps invites the public to view it as it moves downstream.

While it will travel the length of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System, there are several riverfront areas where it can be better seen. The following are good locations to view the passing vessel, though the time schedules are subject to some variation:

Aug. 12

9:30 a.m. at Fort Smith Riverfront Park in Fort Smith

10 a.m.-10:30 a.m. at James W. Trimble Lock and Dam in Barling

2:15 p.m.-3 p.m. at Ozark-Jeta Taylor Lock and Dam in Ozark

Aug. 13

6 a.m.-6:30 a.m. at Dardanelle Lock and Dam in Dardanelle

9:30 a.m.-10 a.m. at Arthur V. Ormond in Morrilton

1 p.m.-1:30 p.m. at Toad Suck Lock and Dam in Conway

5:45 p.m.-6:15 p.m. at Murray Lock and Dam in Little Rock

Aug. 14

6 a.m.-6:30 a.m. in Riverfront Park in North Little Rock

The vessel will be on the Arkansas River transporting members of the Mississippi River Commission on their second-ever inspection of the McClellan-Kerr waterway.  The first inspection occurred in 2010. 

The Mississippi River Commission was established by Congress in 1879.  Today the MRC provides water resources engineering direction and policy advice to the Administration, Congress, and the Army.

The inspection focuses high-level attention on Arkansas River navigation and its benefits. The Arkansas River and other navigable tributaries feed important commerce through the Mississippi River system and America’s sea ports.

The M/V Mississippi is the flagship of the Corps. It is the largest diesel towboat in the U.S. and is 58 feet wide with 6,300 horsepower. It is 52 feet from the water line to the pilot house.

Today's MV Mississippi spends more than 90 percent of its time as a working towboat for the Corps. It is stationed at the Memphis District and moves barges, equipment, and supplies on the Mississippi River. It also serves as an inspection and workboat for the Mississippi River Commission during its two inspection trips each year (high-water, normally in April, and the low-water, normally in August).

During times of national crisis that occur with natural disasters and other threats, the M/V Mississippi is a valuable asset available to serve as a command center stationed along the nation’s waterways.

By Professional Mariner Staff