The following is the text of a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard:
(NEW ORLEANS) — The Coast Guard continues its response to a 22-barge breakaway at mile marker 54 on the Mississippi River, near West Point a la Hache, on Thursday.
The Mississippi River is closed between mile markers 50 to 53. The Coast Guard is overseeing operations to assess the location of the last barge to determine if it is a hazard to navigation.
The vessel queue is 21 southbound and 18 upbound.
As a result of the breakaway, the deep-draft motor vessels Q Jake, Serena P and Ocean Tomo sustained damage after barges that broke away collided with them. A portion of dry-bulk soybeans from one of the vessels entered the river and the release has since been secured. The three affected deep-draft vessels are safely anchored.
All 22 barges were loaded with coal and petroleum coke, a coal-like substance. All of the barges have been accounted for and secured except one that is pushed up against the left descending bank.
The cause of the incident is under investigation.
(POINT CELESTE, La.) — Twenty-two barges broke free as the result of a collision Wednesday afternoon on the Mississippi River, closing the waterway to shipping traffic at Point Celeste and Davant, The Times-Picayune reported. The Plaquemines Parish Sheriff's Office said the barge-vessel collision occurred at about 1315 hours at mile marker 54.8. The U.S. Coast Guard said the barges were loaded with coal and petroleum coke and that the river was closed between mile markers 51 and 54.
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