Thursday, August 23, 2012

Thousands tour MV MISSISSIPPI

The Motor Vessel Mississippi is the largest diesel towboat on the Mississipi River. It serves as a work boat, command center during emergency operations, and town hall during inspection trips.
by Mary Markos, St. Louis District Public Affairs
Photos by Tory Rae Thompson

More than 3,000 adults and children toured or visited the largest towboat in the United States August 10-18 when the Motor Vessel MISSISSIPPI made stop in the St. Louis District Corps of Engineers area.

The MV MISSISSIPPI, the flagship of the Mississippi River Commission, hosted three open houses as it worked its way upstream to Alton, Ill., then back downstream to Chester, Ill.  Currently hosting MRC Public Hearings, the vessel will continue making stops on its way to Houma, La.

Sponsored by the St. Louis District, the open houses and special events offered Corps’ partners and the public the opportunity to board and explore the vessel that operates as a working towboat 90 percent of the time. It has also served as a floating command center during emergency operations, including the Corps’ response to Hurricane Katrina and the Flood of 2011.

The fifth vessel to bear its name, the MISSISSIPPI is 241-feet long and 58 feet wide with 6,300 horsepower. It has 22 staterooms and can accommodate 150 passengers.

Most of the year it works on the Corps’ revetment process, helping stabilize the banks of the river. When not serving as a work boat, it serves as an ambassador for the Corps and the MRC during the Commission’s inspections trips. These trips typically take place twice a year, in high- and low-water.

The inspection trips allow the MRC, a presidentially appointed body charged with the oversight of the Mississippi River basin, a chance to view problem areas in the river and hear comments and concerns from the public.

“The public hearings held during the inspection trips are unique to the MRC,” said Col. Chris Hall, St. Louis District Commander. “They allow the public an opportunity to speak with the policy makers and influencers directly and, through the Commission, share their concerns with their representatives in Congress.”

For more information on the Mississippi River Commission, go to

Jose Lopez, a member of the St. Louis District's Leadership
Development Program, shows visitors to the MV Mississippi a levee
model during an open house event in Chester. 

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