High water prompts closures on Mississippi, Illinois rivers

The following is text of a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard:

(ST. LOUIS, Mo.) — The Coast Guard closed portions of the Mississippi and Illinois rivers to all vessel traffic Thursday due to extremely high water levels and fast-moving currents near St. Louis, Mo.

St. Louis Harbor is closed from mile marker 179 to mile marker 184 on the Mississippi River. A no-wake order has been issued on the Illinois River from mile marker 10 to mile marker 80.2.

While outside the river closure zone, the Coast Guard strongly encourages southbound transits between mile marker 179 and mile marker 168.5, the JB Bridge, on the Mississippi River only occur during daylight hours.

Vessel operators may request permission to move within the closure zone. Vessel movements within the closure zone will be limited to monitoring waterway conditions and enhancing port safety. In order for vessels to move within the closure zone, operators must obtain permission from the captain of the port representative at the Coast Guard Sector Upper Mississippi River command center, via VHF Channel 16 or (314) 269-2332 at least 30 minutes prior to movement. The captain of the port will review each request to move within the closure zone on a case-by-case basis.

The Coast Guard captain of the port determines when to issue a river closure by following a waterways action plan, which provides the marine industry, Coast Guard, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, state and local governments with a coordinated plan for facilitating the safe and orderly movement of traffic during extreme conditions on the inland rivers.

Restrictions to operations will be lifted as soon as conditions improve.

By Professional Mariner Staff