Mississippi River Condition Update:

Controlling Draft for vessels calling between the Sea-Buoy and Mile 175: 49 Feet
Controlling Draft for vessels calling between Mile 175 and Mile 180: 47 Feet
Controlling Draft for vessels calling above Mile 180: 45 Feet

There are currently four dredges working in Southwest Pass.

Bar Pilots
Recommended loading draft  for Southwest Pass is 50 feet.

Crescent Pilots:
Recommended loading draft for their area of the river is 49 feet.

NOBRA Pilots
Recommended loading draft is as follows: 49 feet from New Orleans to Mile 175 ; 47 feet from Mile 175 to Mile 180 ; 45 feet from Mile 180 to Mile 234.  Vessels with a draft of 40 feet or greater area required to transit the Baton Rouge Harbor during daylight hours only.

The NOBRA Pilots’ Board of Examiners is in the process of reviewing its Standards of Care relative to High Interest Vessels and over the coming months hope to revise this specific standard that will allow for a clearer determination for the application of the standard.  Presently, operationally, the Board of Examiners is NOT designating a vessel as a High Interest Vessel when the Captain of the Port Order is an Order requiring a Crew Control Security Plan (“CCSP”) in which the sole purpose of the CCSP is to prohibit vessel crew members from disembarking the vessel.  During this transitional process, the Standards of Care remain as drafted and do provide the Board of Examiners authority to designate a vessel as HIV.

Federal Pilots:
Recommended maximum loading draft: 49 from the Sea Buoy to Mile 104.7; 48 feet from Mile 104.7 – Mile 175; 45 feet from Mile 175 – Mile 232.4; and 40 feet from Mile 232.4 – Mile 233.8.

As conditions can change, you should always check with the pilots prior to loading

MSIB XXII Issue 005 Carrollton Gauge at 8′ and rising

MSIB Vol XXI, Issue 035- Carrollton Gauge 12 Feet and Rising

MSIB Vol XXI, Issue 036- Carrollton Gauge 12 Feet and Falling

Lower Mississippi River to be Deepened to 50 Feet

The ports at Baton Rouge, New Orleans, South Louisiana, St. Bernard and Plaquemines are slated to have deep draft access after Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards and other state officials signed a formal agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Friday to begin construction on the deepening of the Lower Mississippi River to 50 feet from 45 feet. 

The overall project will provide a draft of 50-feet from the Port of Baton Rouge to the Gulf of Mexico over 256 miles of the Mississippi River. Phase 1 of the project will provide a 50-foot channel from the Gulf of Mexico through Southwest Pass to Belmont Crossing and open up approximately 175 miles of the ship channel to the deeper draft, encompassing the entire jurisdiction of Port NOLA.

“This is a great day for the people of Louisiana who depend on the Mississippi River for their livelihood,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards. “When completed, this project will allow larger vessels that can currently use the widened Panama Canal to reach Louisiana ports as far north as Baton Rouge. It will also allow for some vessels to carry heavier loads. Nationwide, industries that depend on this Mississippi River to move goods will benefit greatly from this dredging project.”

Gov. Edwards joined Major General Diana Holland, Commanding General, Mississippi River Valley Division; and Col. Stephen Murphy, Commander, New Orleans District, in a signing ceremony at the New Orleans District Headquarters. The ceremony was broadcasted on Facebook Live via the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) – New Orleans District and the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (LADOTD), due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“This monumental agreement would not have been possible without the leadership of Gov. Edwards, the Louisiana Legislature and the entire Louisiana Congressional delegation, who have been steadfast in their support of this critical project. In addition, the importance of the work of the Big River Coalition, comprised of ports, government agencies and trade associations along the entirety of the River cannot be overstated,” said Brandy D. Christian, President and CEO of the Port of New Orleans. “One-in-five jobs in Louisiana is tied to our ports and this project will help to make our world-renowned port system even more competitive, while creating opportunities for manufacturers, shippers, growers and producers who rely on the Mississippi River.”

Funding for the approximately $250 million project has been allocated through a variety of sources. As the non-federal sponsor, LADOTD has committed $81 million.

“The Mississippi River has always been a critical economic engine for the United States and connects our Nation’s heartland to the global economy,” said Major General Diana Holland, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Mississippi Valley Division Commander. “More capacity means greater efficiency in transportation and less costs for our Nation’s producers. From a benefit cost perspective, that equates to a benefit $7.20 for every dollar spent on operation and maintenance, a significant return on investment.”

Sean Duffy, Executive Director of the Big River Coalition, added, “The deepening of the ship channel to 50 feet is a historic project that will bring the nation’s most prolific artery of trade into the modern post Panamax era. The deepening will offer significant cost savings to shippers and promote economy of scale efficiencies that will help stimulate trade for decades. The Coalition applauds the USACE and LADOTD for their professional support and recognizes the unwavering commitment from the navigation industry across the Mississippi River Basin.”

“With the signing today, we have taken one step forward toward providing a better future for countless Louisianans,” said DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson, Ph.D. “If we work together with our natural resources and put a multimodal commerce plan in place, the Mississippi River can be an economic super highway and Louisiana can be a leader in global goods movement.”

“No single agency can undertake a project of this level, magnitude, and importance without great partners,” said Col. Stephen Murphy, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – New Orleans District Commander. “The Corps is privileged to have such a partner in the Louisiana Department of Transportation.Together we look forward on delivering a project that will have immense benefits, not only for Louisiana, but across the nation.”

“This is an important step forward for the shipping industry and commerce in our country,” said DOTD Commissioner of Multimodal Commerce Renee Lapeyrolerie. “State, local and federal officials along with other interested parties worked for a common goal that will culminate in benefits across the nation.”


The American Club: A Shipowner’s Guide to Regulatory Compliance

Petroleum Importations from the Russian Federation

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has issued GENERAL LICENSE NO.16: “Authorizing Transactions Related to Certain Imports Prohibited by Executive Order of March 8, 2022, Prohibiting Certain Imports and New Investments with Respect to Continued Russian Federation Efforts to Undermine the Sovereignty and Territorial Integrity of Ukraine.”   Part A of this general license states, “all transactions prohibited by Executive Order (EO) of March 8, 2022, Prohibiting Certain Imports and New Investments With Respect to Continued Russian Federation Efforts to Undermine the Sovereignty and Territorial Integrity of Ukraine, that are ordinarily incident and necessary to the importation into the United States of crude oil; petroleum; petroleum fuels, oils, and products of their distillation; liquefied natural gas; coal; and coal products of Russian Federation origin pursuant to written contracts or written agreements entered prior to March 8, 2022 are authorized through 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time, April 22, 2022.”



CBP will therefore be requiring filers of entries or admissions to Foreign Trade Zones for shipments of crude oil; petroleum; petroleum fuels, oils, and products of their distillation; liquefied natural gas; coal; and coal products of Russian Federation origin to provide purchase orders and/or executed contracts and/or any other documentation showing when the order and/or contract went into effect. Such documentation will be required through 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time, April 22, 2022, after which General License No. 16 expires and EO issued March 8, 2022 takes full effect.


The full general license can be accessed here https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/126/russia_gl16.pdf


CBP intends to require this documentation prior to unlading of the conveyances and will place holds on both unlading and cargo pending verification of the required information.  This information should be provided to CBP at the port of entry where the cargo is intended to be unladen and should include conveyance information, bill of lading number(s) and entry number(s) or FTZ admission information.  CBP encourages the submission of the proof required under GL 16 as soon as possible, preferably prior to arrival, to prevent any undue delays at ports for qualifying shipments.  Additional contact information and process may be provided, and this guidance will be updated appropriately.


In addition, effective immediately, shipments of crude oil; petroleum; petroleum fuels, oils, and products of their distillation; liquefied natural gas; coal; and coal products of Russian Federation origin are not authorized for direct delivery privilege until further notice.  Admission via a CBP Form 214 or electronic equivalent will be required for the duration of this EO. 


CBP expects trade partners to continue to be proactive in identifying shipments subject to the EO and the General License and to provide appropriate documentation to ensure compliance.


Area Port of New Orleans Guidance:

  • CBP Officers will place bill of lading/manifest holds on shipments of crude oil; petroleum; petroleum fuels, oils, and products of their distillation; liquefied natural gas; coal; and coal products of Russian Federation origin.
  • CBP Officers will not initially approve a CBP 3171 Lade Order, denying Preliminary Entrance for vessels transporting shipments of crude oil; petroleum; petroleum fuels, oils, and products of their distillation; liquefied natural gas; coal; and coal products of Russian Federation origin until the requested documentation such as purchase orders and/or executed contracts and/or any other documentation showing when the order and/or contract went into effect is submitted, and reviewed and approved by the CBP Port Director.
  • If the documentation provided on the shipments is approved, CBP Officers will remove the shipment bill of lading holds and approve the CBP 3171 Lade Order granting Preliminary Entrance on the vessel to enter port and unlade.
  • Documentation should provide to the Port of Entry along with the CBP 3171 Lade Order as soon as possible to allow ample time for CBP review and approval.  This will minimize delays and reduce port congestion.
  • The New Orleans Marine Division Trade Enforcement Team [TET] is the primary contact to provide documentation and coordinate bill of lading holds and releases, CBP Form 3171 Lade Order approvals and CBP Form 214 FTZ admissions in the Port of New Orleans.
  • Contact the Ports of Morgan City, Gramercy, Baton Rouge and Lake Charles to coordinate bill of lading holds and releases, CBP Form 3171 Lade Order approvals, and CBP Form 214 FTZ admissions.
  • CBP Form 3171 Lade Order processing procedures, along with contact information, is provided in Southern Currents 22-005, attached as reference.


This guidance will be updated as additional information becomes available.  Questions regarding this trade notice should be directed to Assistant Port Director Mark Choina at mark.s.choina@cbp.dhs.gov or via telephone at (504) 670-2287.

Ballast Water Management Systems

Ballast Water Management Systems User Guide


Approval Status for Ballast Water Management (BWM) System


Guidelines for Evaluating Potential courses of action when a vessel bound for a port in the United States has an inoperable Ballast Water Management (BWM) System


COVID-19: Ballast Water Management (BWM) Extensions 


Ballast Water Frequently Asked Questions

US Ballast Water frequently asked questions

CBP Asian Gypsy Moth Inspection Program

COVID-19: Spotlight on the Mental Health of Mariners

Marine Safety Information Bulletin

U.S. Coast Guard MSIB Number: 07-21,
Date: May 19, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have significant impacts on the U.S. Marine Transportation System, the Global shipping industry and on mariners themselves. The risk of severe illness and death from COVID19 infection and the prolonged nature of the pandemic have compounded existing stressors and created new stressors on maritime personnel, including feelings of isolation, and physical and mental fatigue caused by pandemic-related restrictions on crew changes, shore leave, and repatriation of seafarers. These issues have led to humanitarian concerns as well as concerns for the physical and mental health of mariners.

Mariner mental health concerns are of significant importance to the USCG as they may adversely affect vessel operations and life at sea. Mariner mental health concerns, including those stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, may include, but are not limited to, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and suicide. While some of these concerns arise in individuals with diagnosed mental illness, many occur in people who do not have a known mental health condition. The USCG is committed to working closely with industry partners and the National Merchant Mariner Medical Advisory Committee to identify successful strategies to promote mariner mental health. However, the USCG and its partners recognize that strategies will only be successful if mariners feel safe accessing and utilizing available mental health resources.

To that end, the USCG seeks to assure mariners that seeking mental health care will not jeopardize a mariner’s medical certification. In fact, the National Maritime Center (NMC) routinely approves medical certification for individuals who have stable, well controlled mental health conditions. On the infrequent
occasions that the NMC has denied medical certification to a mariner with mental health concerns, it was for mental health conditions that were not sufficiently controlled so as to pose a risk to public and maritime safety.

If you are a mariner who is in need of mental health care, please:
1) do so without fear of reprisal or punishment from the USCG; and
2) remember that it is generally better to seek help and treatment rather than putting yourself and fellow crew members at risk because of an untreated condition.

Information on the medical review process for mariners with diagnosed mental health conditions is available in the Merchant Mariner Medical Manual, COMDTINST M16721.48, which can be found here: Merchant Mariner Medical Manual  (https://media.defense.gov/2019/Sep/11/2002181050/-1/-1/0/CIM_16721_48.PDF). Information on mariner health and wellness topics, including mental health, can be found in the Proceedings Magazine Fall 2020 Edition on Mariner Health & Wellness online at: PROCEEDINGS MAGAZINE – Mariner Health & Wellness (https://www.dco.uscg.mil/Portals/9/DCO Documents/Proceedings Magazine/Archive/2020/Vol77_No2_Fall20_Proceedings.pdf?ver=-Mytxq63r7KwEbzSlGxy8g%3d%3d).

Developing successful strategies to promote mariner mental health also require that the USCG and the maritime industry understand what mariners are experiencing. To reach this goal, researchers at the University of Washington School of Public Health are conducting a confidential survey of mariners to ask how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected their mental health. Mariners may complete the survey anonymously and study researchers will not share the personal information or individual responses of study participants with the USCG. The USCG wants to encourage all mariners to participate in this very important “Mariner Mental Health Needs during Covid-19” survey. Additional information on the survey can be found here: https://mariners.coastguard.blog/2021/01/29/cmts-covid-19-working-group-survey-of-u-s-marinermental-health-needs-during-covid-19/.
R. V. Timme, RDML, U.S. Coast Guard, Assistant Commandant for Prevention Policy send



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