The Coast Guard responded to a capsized vessel on the Lower Mississippi River near Donaldsonville, La., Saturday. Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector New Orleans received a report at 9:30 p.m. that the towing vessel Vincent J Eymard capsized near mile marker 175 on the Mississippi. The crew departed the Eymard onto the towing vessel Ellysa with no reported injuries. The Ellysa also took the one empty barge the Vincent J Eymard was towing.

The Coast Guard found the 52'x22' Vincent J Eymard Sunday at mile marker 176.4. A waterway restriction has been issued from mile marker 175.9 to mile marker 176.9 requiring one-way traffic. (The towing vessel is owned by KC Boat Co. Inc., Marrero, La., according to Coast Guard vessel documentation.) The boat has approximately 3,000 gals. of diesel fuel onboard. There are no reports of pollution or environmental impacts due to the incident. The Coast Guard has used the Louisiana Waterways Warning Network to notify cities and parishes that have water intakes below the location on the Lower Mississippi River of the incident so they can be aware of the situation.The cause of the incident is under investigation.

This is the second towing vessel to capsize in the river between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, La., over the past week. (Donaldsonville is approximately 65 miles north and west of New Orleans but 85 river miles.) The 64' towing vessel Natalie Jean sank in the vicinity of mile marker 90.5 on the Mississippi on March 12. Three people went into the water and two are still missing.

High water conditions and a fast current in the area may have contributed to the incidents, but the Coast Guard is not confirming nor denying that at this time. The Corps of Engineers Mississippi Valley New Orleans (MVN) continues to operate the Bonnet Carre Spillway to manage the target flow of 1.25 million cu. ft. per second below the structure, thus lowering the river depth.


Ken Hocke has been the senior editor of WorkBoat since 1999. He was the associate editor of WorkBoat from 1997 to 1999. Prior to that, he was the editor of the Daily Shipping Guide, a transportation daily in New Orleans. He has written for other publications including The Times-Picayune. He graduated from Louisiana State University with an arts and sciences degree, with a concentration in English, in 1978.