Navigational restrictions in the Gulf of Mexico following the "Deepwater Horizon" incident

30 April 2010

Following the recent explosion on the "Deepwater Horizon" oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, the US Coast Guard advised that at present they have no plans to restrict traffic using the main channel for commercial shipping to the Mississippi River, the Southwest Pass.  However, they have imposed restrictions on three other passes to the Mississippi and have demanded that vessels transiting these areas proceed at slow speed to assist in maintaining a no wake zone in the vicinity of the booms which have been deployed to help protect the sensitive coastal areas from the oil spill.  The three passes affected are the South Pass, Southeast Pass and Pass a Loutre.

Failure to comply with the slow speed restrictions may attract a penalty of up to USD32,500, or even imprisonment.

A copy of a relevant Marine Safety Information Bulletin from the US Coast Guard is attached.