US Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) staff are investigating a barge allision with the Bayou Ramos Bridge near Morgan City and Amelia, Louisiana. A Major Marine Casualty has been declared, since property damage was initially estimated at $500,000 or more.
The incident occurred before dawn on December 23rd 2021 when a towing vessel pushing six barges was traveling southeast along the Avoca Island Cutoff waterway. One of the lead barges in the tow struck the Bayou Ramos Bridge, causing damage to both the bridge and barge, the USCG said. No injuries were reported.
USCG personnel at Marine Safety Unit Morgan City received notification about damage to the bridge several hours later and identified the responsible party. Because of significant damage and safety concerns, the Louisiana Department of Transportation closed the bridge later that day.
The investigation is ongoing into the circumstances that caused the barge to strike the bridge. USCG and NTSB investigators are working together to gather and analyze evidence to determine the factors that led to the incident. However, once the investigation is complete, the agencies will issue independent reports detailing their findings.