New Orleans, Mississippi River and Gulf Coast updates

Following the recent tragedies in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the situation regarding the Mississippi River is changing continually. We therefore draw to members' attention that the Mississippi River Maritime Association (MRMA) is operating a functional web site http://www.mrma.ws/mrma/default.asp with up-to-date information as well as contact points.  

The MRMA web site lists its members on the web site but some large local agencies have established temporary offices with new phone numbers. Should INTERTANKO members have difficulty in trying to contact one of the MRMA local steamship agents, they should contact the MRMA, who will pass on the local agents' temporary phone numbers and temporary e-mail addresses. 

The full contact details for the MRMA are as follows:

Michael Titone - President

Mississippi River Maritime Association

Phone:          (225) 791-7575

Fax:             (225) 791-7576

Cell:             (225) 975-0386

E-mail: titone@earthlink.net 

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, most U.S. Gulf ports have now re-opened with draught restrictions – see Maritime Information Safety Bulletin 25/05 issued 7 September. 

The Gulf Intracoastal Waterway is mostly open - click here for details. 

According to the latest press release from the Port of New Orleans, the Mississippi River is open to shallow draught traffic, and to deep draught vessels with 39 feet draught, with two-way traffic but in daylight hours only - until Aids To Navigation have been fully re-established. Some berths have depths available that are deeper than the main channel. It is the port's post-Katrina goal that it will work its first commercial cargo ship by 14 September 2005. 

Click here for additional updates on the status of ports and waterways.  

Click here for information about offshore oil rig and platform status. 

The Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management, Rebecca Watson, has testified before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee regarding the status of offshore oil and natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico 

In an extract from the Minerals Management Service (MMS), U.S. Department of the Interior, press release dated 6 September 2005, Watson says: "Our focus now is to ensure that the offshore oil and gas operations are brought on-line safely and as soon as possible. Although Hurricane Katrina moved through a core area of offshore operations and damaged many production and exploration facilities, early reports indicate that the vast majority of facilities could be ready to come back on line in days and weeks, rather than months." 

Oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico supplies 29% of U.S. domestic oil production and 21% of U.S. domestic gas production. The highest amount of production shut in by the effects of Hurricane Katrina was on 30 August 2005, when 95% of daily oil production and 88% of daily gas production was shut in for environmental and human safety. Today, those numbers stand at 58% of oil production and 42% of natural gas production.  

Of the roughly 4000 Outer Continental Shelf production facilities, 37 shallow water platforms were destroyed; however, they only produced about 1% of total Gulf production. Four large deep water platforms accounting for about 10% of the pre-storm federal offshore Gulf oil production suffered extensive damage, which could take up to 3–6 months to bring back on line. Some pipelines suffered damage that could take months to repair, while others, after inspection and testing, have already commenced operations.  

"Despite this damage, about 90% of Gulf oil production could return to the market in one month," says Watson, "if refineries, processing plants, pipelines and other onshore infrastructure are in operation to receive, prepare and transport it to the consumer."

Contact: Howard Snaith and Bill Box