PILOTS ACT AS FIRST RESPONDERS TO ASSIST IN CRUCIAL RIVER OPERATIONS AFTER TRAGEDIES SUCH AS HURRICANES AND FLOODS.
Hurricane Katrina - Captain Clasen was on the river bank as the eye of Hurricane Katrina approached, after the storm had passed, he approached a ship that had run aground. Surprised to see Clasen, the foreign captain stared at him wondering who he was and what he was doing on his ship. Clasen, “I’m your pilot, I’m going to get you off the bank”.
HIGH RIVER RAGES WITH A MAGNITUDE HARD TO FATHOM, THIS IS A RIVER THAT DEMANDS A PILOT.
It’s hard to be certain that a ship can overcome the force of the ferocious current or if the ship’s swing can be stopped when the river runs high. A high river is 8 feet but lately she’s risen to 19 feet, dropping silt so unpredictably it changes the depth of the river interfering with the movement of deep draft ships.
150,000 TON SHIP IS TOSSED AROUND LIKE A CHILD'S TOY
In this geographical location known for its ferociousness. Pilots require the help of tugboats to move their ships, tugs help slow the ship down. During high river it can take five tugboats to keep a ship tied to the boat and even then ships weighing 150,000 tons can be pulled from the dock as though it is a child's toy.
The Mississippi River is the most treacherous river to navigate in the Western Hemisphere, and only third to the Amazon and the Nile among the world’s largest drainage basins. During high river, The Mississippi runs so fast and furious, it could fill the Superdome in 90 seconds.
FOG SO DENSE THAT BLACKOUTS
The delays that come with zero visibility on the river can significantly increase the cost of a ship’s voyage. New Orleans on average has 155 fog days each year. In these intense circumstances pilots coordinate with the United States Coast Guard to design traffic plans, enabling business to carry on.
During a recent prolonged week of blackout fog we halted two way traffic and moved ships in a convoy. We began by navigating ships in one direction to sea. When the fog lifted, ships were moved in the opposite direction to port. We moved 100 ships the first day of convoy, this is more than some ports move in 3 months.