M/V T. Y. Dolese making it's way south this afternoon around 4:45.
M/V T. Y. Dolese
Heading under the bridges in the bright sunlight!
At Riverwalk Casino where M/V T.Y. Dolese has past the bridges near the accident.
Austin Golding, the marketing, sales and customer service manager for Golding Barge Lines of Vicksburg, said his company is pleased traffic is open but the past week has been challenging.
"It's pertinent that we get all this product to where we need it to go. It's just one more challenge we've had to face the past three years," he said, referring to the record flooding in 2011 and drought in 2012.
The tough decisions today and in coming days will be which tows to move to the front of the line for passage through Vicksburg, where vessels are being limited by the U.S. Coast Guard to single southbound tows during daylight hours and single northbound vessels at nighttime.
Congestion on the river, Golding said, even after it's fully open, will have lingering effects.
"It'll be a while before things are normal because of the number of tows that are backed up," he said. "Even if the restrictions are lifted, the number of tows backed up just makes it more difficult."
Since traffic tentatively reopened Wednesday, 17 southbound tows with 268 barges and 23 northbound tows with 294 barges had cleared the 16-mile stretch of the river that had been shut down since Sunday when a barge tanker carrying 80,000 gallons of crude oil hit the U.S. 80 bridge and began leaking.
The number of vessels is down from a peak of 60 boats towing 1,000 barges in queue early Wednesday morning.
Towboats/barges involved sitting up against Louisiana shoreline.
Crews working to contain the oil spill.
Small boat coming towards the Riverwalk shoreline.
M/V T.Y. Dolese near Riverwalk Casino as the small boat pulls up nearby.
Close-up view of towboats/barges up against the shoreline on the Louisiana side that was in the accident.
Looking north towards the I-20 and Hwy 80 bridges at Vicksburg, MS.
The current and potential wakes vessels will cause is the reason for the limited traffic, officials said.
It's basically because at night, they have to go slower because they're going against the current," said Petty Officer 1st Class Matthew Schofield.
For the southbound traffic, they're going with the current, so we're advising tow operators to be bottoms down to allow the current to carry them and make sure they're not carrying additional weight."
At the site of the oil spill, workers continued today to skim oily water, and pouring it into another barge.
Crews have skimmed about 7,650 gallons of oil and water, About 7,000 gallons of oil are estimated to have leaked. After the oil is cleared, crews will work to remove the barge from the shore. The vessel will have to be checked for water integrity first and then go to a nearby facility for assessment.
A Coast Guard helicopter dispatched 50 miles downriver Tuesday found no evidence of oil or any environmental impact.
Matt Stuart - The Vicksburg Post