New ‘moving safety zone’ rule starts Dec. 5
PORT OF NEW ORLEANS – The Coast Guard published a new rule
Oct. 31 that establishes a “moving safety zone” around large cruise ships as
they transit the lower Mississippi River between the port of New Orleans Cruise
Ship Terminal, at mile marker 96, and the Southwest Pass Sea Buoy. The zone
extends from bank to bank, encompassing one mile ahead and one mile astern of
each cruise ship, according to the rule. No person or vessel may enter or
remain in the Safety Zone except for vessels authorized by the Captain of
the Port or Designated
Representatives, with varying exceptions.
The Coast Guard says the safety zone is necessary to protect
persons and vessels from the potential safety hazards associated with congested
maritime traffic in the area.
If you have questions on this rule, you are asked to call or
email Lieutenant Commander (LCDR) Brandon Sullivan, Sector New Orleans, U.S. Coast Guard, at
504-365-2280 and Brandon.J.Sullivan@uscg.mil.
For the purpose of this rule, the term ``large cruise ship''
is defined as a vessel over 100’ in length, carrying more than 500 passengers for hire, making a
voyage lasting more than 24 hours, any part of which is on the high seas, and
for which passengers are embarked
or disembarked in the United States or its territories.
This rule, the Coast Guard said, is intended to establish
early passing or overtaking arrangements thus increasing the time available for
The impacts on routine navigation are expected to be minimal,
the Coast Guard said. The moving safety zones will not interfere with a
vessel's ability to make passing and overtaking arrangements. Routine
navigation around and near the safety zones will not be impacted. The moving
safety zone is intended to enable early
notification of passing or overtaking arrangements, providing additional
time and opportunity to negotiate navigational arrangements and to maneuver
without causing delay in transit for both the large cruise ship and the other vessels operating in the area.
The Pilot directing the movement of the large cruise ship
under the authority of the master has the authority to allow other vessels to
enter the safety zone when necessary. Vessels that have made suitable passing
or overtaking arrangements with
the pilot onboard the large cruise ship may enter into this safety zone in accordance with those agreed upon arrangements. Moored vessels or vessels
anchored in a designated anchorage
area may remain in their current moored or anchored position while
the large cruise ship transits the
area. Barge Fleets or vessels working a fleet may continue their current operations while the large
cruise ship transits the area. Vessels requiring a deviation from this rule
must request permission from the
Captain of the Port New Orleans. The Captain of the Port New Orleans may be
contacted at 504-365-2210.