Mississippi River closed after two towboats collide; 26 barges adrift

The following is the text of a press release issued by the U.S. Coast Guard:


(MEMPHIS, Tenn.) — The Coast Guard has closed the Mississippi River to all vessel traffic from mile marker 595 to 640 as the result of a towing vessel collision at approximately 3 a.m., Tuesday, May 19, 2009.

The collision between the towing vessels Golden Eagle and Mary Ann resulted in 26 adrift barges, and possibly one sunken barge at mile marker 640. Most of the adrift barges have been recovered.

The Coast Guard is working with the Army Corps of Engineers to survey the navigational channel to ensure the river can be safely reopened to commercial traffic.

There are no reports of injuries or pollution and the incident is under investigation.

By Professional Mariner Staff