As a result of heavy silt deposits in the Mississippi River Delta caused by recent high upstream river levels, the maximum recommended draft for vessels using the Southwest Pass has been reduced from 47 to 45 feet, Inchcape Shipping Services (ISS) informs.
The Southwest Pass is the primary shipping channel on the Mississippi River, with a wide variety of cargoes entering and leaving the Mississippi River. It is the only channel that can be used by deep draft vessels.
The guidance, issued by the Louisiana Maritime Association, is effective immediately. ISS local representatives, based in New Orleans, advise that the draft reduction is likely to remain in place for several weeks, ahead of any potential dredging activity by U.S. authorities and may be increased or decreased at any time as conditions warrant.
ISS and other agents are working with the BAR Pilots in respect of vessels already in transit and loaded above 45 feet, or currently loading to 47 feet. Agents are scheduling pilots for those vessels at a draft above 45 feet ensuring they sail as close to high tide as possible, and to avoid having the vessel going to anchorage.