22 Runaway Barges Drifting Free in LA Due to Hurricane Ida
Over the next few months (and possibly years) we will be talking about the damage Hurricane Ida visited upon Louisiana. On the 16th anniversary of the extremely destructive power of Hurricane Katrina - Ida made landfall as a category 4 storm with winds in excess of 150 miles an hour, a massive storm surge, torrential rain and more bad weather news for the coast of Louisiana and our neighbors to the south.
A Free-Floating Disaster
Now, a new menace is terrifying residents who live near the busy waterways in St. Bernard Parish. According to a report form WEAR TV, an astonishing 22 barges have broken free of their moorings and are now floating freely and recklessly slamming into structures on or near the The Mississippi River–Gulf Outlet Canal.
This busy waterway acts a highway for barges traveling down the mighty Mississippi river to the Gulf of Mexico and vice versa - connecting Louisiana and parts north to the wider world by massive cargo hauling ships. Unfortunately, Hurricane Ida freed some of these barges that were tied down before the storm. When you factor in the 150+mph winds, it's simple to see that these free floating and unpiloted ships powered by hurricane-force winds can be very dangerous.
Some Damage Has Already Occurred
One has reportedly slammed into the Kerner Swing Bridge in Lafitte, prompting officials in neighboring Jefferson Parish to warn residents fleeing the storm to avoid using the bridge on the fear that its structural integrity had been compromised by the collision.
The Plan to Bring Them Under Control
The chief concern with these runaway barges is that they will continue to cause damage to structures like bridges, the parishes water intake and refinery infrastructure. That being said, the plan to bring these massive battering rams (some weigh up to 900 tons) under control can't commence until the winds die down. According to St. Bernard Parish president Guy McInnis' statement to CNN, the Coast Guard will round them all up and secure them once again.