Brownwater News October 2021

Mississippi River pilots face scrutiny over fees 

Lower Mississippi River pilots faced scrutiny this spring from Louisiana lawmakers and industry groups targeting their salaries, fees and hiring practices.  

 The three primary pilot associations ultimately beat back new oversight and regulation, but the campaign placed fresh emphasis on the groups’ perceived insularity and lack of diversity. 

 Click here for more details on the effort, including the response from pilot groups opposed to the proposed changes.


Safety alert warns of steering loss from defective rams 

The U.S. Coast Guard is warning vessel owners and operators about a potential loss of steering from defective rams. In a safety alert issued Oct. 20, the service cited consecutive failures in an inspected towing vessel over two days.

The rams were produced in 2017 by All Phase Hydraulics and they were installed on an unidentified vessel built in 2018. Testing determined the threads on the rod studs for both rams were machined in a way that did not meet specifications, the Coast Guard alert said.  

 More details on the alert, including the model and serial number for the affected rams, can be found here. 


Golden Ray salvage nearly complete  

The massive effort to remove the vehicle carrier Golden Ray from Georgia’s St. Simons Sound is nearly finished.

Lifting operations on the final section began in mid-October, which precedes a weight-removal effort before the section can be placed on a barge for transport, the Coast Guard said.

“Once inspected and cleared for departure, the tugs will haul the barge to a recycling facility in Louisiana pending a favorable weather window,” the service said in a news release.

Golden Ray capsized on Sept. 8, 2019, while outbound from the Port of Brunswick. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determined inaccurate stability calculations caused the ship to roll over with more than 4,000 vehicles aboard.  

Click here for more details on the ongoing salvage, and here for more on the NTSB findings. 


NY supports electrifying tour boats on canal system 

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has announced the launch of the Green Boats program to advance the electrification of tour and charter boats operating on the New York State Canal System. 

Through the Reimagine the Canals initiative, the New York Power Authority and New York State Canal Corp. are creating an incentive program to support the conversion of fossil-fuel-powered vessels of qualifying tour, rental and charter boat operators on the canal system to electric propulsion.   

More on the program can be found here:

By Professional Mariner Staff