Report: USCG Investigates Near Miss as Bulker Losses Control on Mississippi

Port New Orleans
The out of control bulker was headed for the Nashville Avenue terminal when two tugs intervened (Port NOLA file photo)

Published Apr 18, 2024 1:45 PM by The Maritime Executive


Details surfaced from a social media posting highlighting a series of near-miss incidents on the lower Mississippi River near New Orleans late last month. Tugs were able to intervene to prevent an impact but the U.S. Coast Guard confirmed to the newspaper The Advocate in New Orleans that it is reviewing the circumstances of the incidents.

Moran tugboat company dispatcher Eric Agena highlighted the events on LinkedIn with an animation showing the 114,674 dwt bulker Anglo Marie Louise careening out of control on the river and heading for the Nashville Avenue wharf. It is one of the port’s heavy-lift and project cargo facilities which is operated by Ports America. The terminal which is on the East Bank of Mississippi River near mile 100 is over 4,300 feet long with 11 berths.

The animation shows the UK-registered vessel managed by Anglo-Eastern which is 837 feet (255 meters) in length traveling at 9 knots as it comes to the bend in the river. It starts to slow, reportedly having lost power. The animation shows the bulker careening across the river, turning perpendicular, and heading toward the wharf. It slows to around 3 knots and appears close to an allision with the wharf or possibly some of the ships docked at Nashville Avenue when two tugs are seen rushing to intercept the bulker. She makes a 180-degree turn with the assistance of the tugs reportedly having lost power.



According to Agena, “Thanks to the extraordinary efforts of the crews of the Lizzy B. Moran and the Sommer S, a certain disaster was avoided.” He goes on to write, “This goes to highlight the dangers our mariners can face at any given time on the hazardous waters of the lower Mississippi River and is certainly a nod to the excellent training and preparedness of our fleet crews.”

It was the second incident in two days on March 26 and March 27 where tugs came to the assistance of a vessel out of control. Agena says the day before while the Anglo Marie Louise was docked at the Convent Marine Terminal, another breakbulk terminal in the area, the Greek-managed Thunderbird (79,500 dwt) also lost control. Tugs from Bisso Towboat Co., another tug company on the river, are reported to have prevented the bulker registered in the Marshall Islands which lost power from an allision with the Anglo Marie Louise.

The Advocate reports the U.S. Coast Guard acknowledged to the paper that the incidents took place and is currently working to determine how serious the events were. A spokesperson said the USCG understands the potential magnitude of both situations.