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Grounding Delays Traffic on Lower Mississippi

The bulker Anglo Alexandria went aground Friday morning in the Lower Mississippi River, backing up vessel traffic in both directions near the river's mouth.

At 0830 hours Friday morning, Coast Guard Sector New Orleans received a report that the 110,000 dwt Alexandria had grounded at river mile marker 3.5, near Pilottown.

The vessel temporarily blocked the navigation channel, and the river was closed to traffic near the site of the grounding. Due to the closure, over 50 vessels were delayed in transiting in or out of the river. The number was larger than normal: more ships were attempting to use the channel Friday due to dense fog in the area earlier in the week, which had hampered pilotage and created a buildup of demand.

At about 1620 hours Friday, the Alexandria was refloated with the assistance of several tugs. However, the river remained closed in the area for several hours after the refloat so that the depth could be surveyed. "They are checking to make sure there are no sediment deposits which might endanger other vessels from transiting through," a Coast Guard spokeswoman told The Advocate. The river section where the Alexandria grounded is known for rapid silt accumulation, and it requires frequent dredging to maintain its navigable depth.

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