The following is the text of a press release issued by the U.S. Coast Guard:
(NEW ORLEANS) — The Coast Guard has set a safety zone on the Mississippi river near Vicksburg, Miss., due to barges breaking away, today.
The safety zone will extend from MM 436 to MM 415. The waterway is closed to all vessels except those directly involved in recovery efforts.
At approximately 10:55 a.m., watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Lower Mississipi received a call that 30 barges carrying coal and grain had broken free of their moorings after the lead barge had struck the Vicksburg Railroad Bridge.
All of the barges have been accounted for.
Two barges are partially submerged on the river bank.
One barge is aground on a dike.
One barge is sunk just south of the I-20 bridge piling parallel to the channel.
Mariners shall not enter into, depart from, or move within the safety zone unless specifically authorized by the Captain of the Port Lower Mississippi river or a designated representative. All concerned mariners may contact Sector Lower Mississippi River at 901-521-4824 or the Coast Guard on VHF-FM channel 16.