Mississippi River Re-Opened to Navigation — Despite Sunken Barges
ST. LOUIS–(KMOX)–The Coast Guard does an “about face,” opening the Mississippi to navigation this afternoon, after warning this morning it might be closed for more than a week due to sunken barges.
Coast Guard Spokesman Lt. Colin Fogarty says originally it was believed three of eleven breakaway barges that sank Saturday night were in the main channel.
Now, it’s been determined two are off to the the side, and the third is deep enough in the main channel to allow most boats to get through.
The eleven barges that sank were part of 114 that got loose from their moorings just south of the Arch.
“Our Coast Guard investigation is underway to determine the exact cause of this,” Fogarty said, “But the answer might simply be that it was an act of God and it was unpreventable.”
Fogarty says typically barges are secured with heavy steel cable attached to beams sunken twenty feet in the ground.
Some of the barges that sank contain petroleum, but Fogarty says there is no sign any of the barges are leaking.