Mississippi River Condition Update:

The Controlling Draft for Deep Draft Vessels is 47 Feet.

The Corps currently has three dredges working in the crossings above New Orleans.

The State of Louisiana has awarded a marsh creation project that will require a river closure.  At the start of the project, a pipeline will be laid across the channel to allow sediment to be pumped across the river.  A one-day (12 hour) closure of the channel will be required to allow for the safe submersion of the pipeline.  The submersion of the pipeline/closure will take place once  the river has crested and is below 10 feet.  The closure is scheduled for Tuesday, August 17th, from 0600 – 1800.

Bar Pilots
Recommended loading draft  for Southwest Pass is 48 feet.

Crescent Pilots:
Recommended loading draft for their area of the river is 47 feet.

NOBRA Pilots
Current recommended loading draft is as follows: 47 feet from New Orleans to Mile 180; 45 feet from Mile 180 to Mile 234. 

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:
Draft recommendation for the Mississippi River is 45 feet.

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

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

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

Navigation Notice: Gulf and Intracoastal Waterways / Lower Mississippi River


DATE: May 17, 2021


Mariners are advised that the Hurricane Season extends from 1 June 2021 to 30 November 2021.

Locks and Navigation Structures operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will attempt to pass navigation until such time that water levels and wind conditions render operations unsafe. The structures are then closed in accordance with Hurricane



Mariners will be given as much notice as possible when structures are to be closed. However, these structures may be closed on

short notice well in advance of the actual storm. Mariners are advised to seek safe harbor as soon as possible.

US Coast Guard - 2021 Hurricane Season Notice

Hurricane Season 2021

The 2021 Hurricane Season commences June 1st and continues through November 30th. You are strongly encouraged to review your existing hurricane plan or develop a plan if you do not have one. It is extremely important to decide in advance how to minimize your risk and be prepared to evacuate as necessary.

The Captain of the Port (COTP) will set hurricane port conditions in accordance with the Sector New Orleans Maritime Hurricane Contingency Port Plan (MHCPP). The MHCPP is available on the Coast Guard Homeport website https://homeport.uscg.mil/port-directory/new-orleans, and you are encouraged to review the contents of the plan. This plan describes what actions the COTP will take in anticipation of a hurricane or tropical weather conditions, outlines the requirements of each port condition, and includes information regarding vessel movements and mooring requirements during anticipated landfall.

Furthermore, the COTP emphasizes the importance of properly maintaining and securing your equipment during hurricane season. Important hurricane-related information will be provided to the maritime community, as needed, through Marine Safety Information Bulletins (MSIBs) and Broadcast Notice to Mariners (BNMs).

Regulated Navigation Area (RNA) Annual Hurricane Operation Plans

In accordance with Title 33, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 165.838, all floating vessels are prohibited from entering or remaining in the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal, Harvey Canal, and Algiers Canal, while the RNA is enforced. However, all facilities that have vessels intending to deviate from the requirements and remain within the RNA during the enforcement period, shall develop an Annual Hurricane Operation Plan and provide a copy to the COTP as prescribed within 33 CFR 165.838(e)(1). Guidance outlining the requirements for the Annual Hurricane Operation Plan can be found in enclosure (6) of the Sector New Orleans MHCPP.

For further information, contact:

Coast Guard Sector New Orleans Command Center (24 hours): (504) 365-2200
Vessel Traffic Service Lower Mississippi River (24 hours): (504) 365-2514, VHF-FM Ch. 05A, 12 or 67
Sector New Orleans Waterways Management: (504) 365-2280 Email address: SecNOLA-WPM@uscg.mil
Sector New Orleans Facilities Compliance Branch: (504) 365-2370


Captain of the Port New Orleans

For a current list of MSIBs in the COTP New Orleans Zone visit: https://homeport.uscg.mil/port-directory/new-orleans under “Safety Notifications”

CBP’s Annual Asian Gypsy Moth Notice 2021

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

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 


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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