OSPREY LINE LLC
M/V Bill Watson travels along the Mississippi River through Baton Rouge, La., with a 15-barge tow loaded with 375 containers of agricultural products in 2005. Alarmed by the relative lack of maritime domain awareness along the nation’s
inland waterways, the U.S. Coast Guard developed the Inland River Vessel Movement Center in 2003 to gather, display
and disseminate position reports on all inland river barges.
set up the training requirements for the system’s
watchstanders, who are required to process information around the clock.
Furthermore, Lahn said the system was set up to
enable industry to comply with reporting requirements
as efficiently and easily as possible. By establishing
Regulated Navigation Areas (RNAs) that include 96
reporting points, most of which are located at U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers locks and dams, barge operators could regularly report CDC barge positions.
“It’s a win for the Coast Guard, because it gives us
more frequent position updates, and it’s a win for industry because the towing vessel operators have less of
a burden to comply with,” Lahn said. “IRVMC is the
methodology for industry to comply with Coast Guard
The largest barge operators on the inland rivers do
domestic towing, and include major carriers such as
Ingram Barge Co., Kirby Corp., ARTCO Fleeting
Services and American Commercial Lines LLC, as well
as numerous smaller companies. IRVMC’s industry reporting requirements generally call for operators, as
well as fleeting area managers, company representatives and dispatchers, to file initial reports on CDC
barge positions before entering mile marker 235 and
into the RNA. They also send subsequent reports from
each of the 96 checkpoints where operators can submit
information via fax, phone, e-mail and other electronic means. Approximately 90 to 150 barges traverse the
river system on a daily basis.
IRVMC serves the Coast Guard’s Eighth District and
parts of the Illinois River in the Ninth District. The
vast majority of information comes from commercial
traffic in the Eighth District, or Sector Upper
Mississippi, with an area of operation that covers 11
states, including points east in Pennsylvania to parts of
Minnesota and as far west as Wyoming.
Lt. Cmdr. Timothy Whalen, chief in the prevention
department for Coast Guard Sector Upper Mississippi
River, said IRVMC helps the local sector carry out its
larger mission for law enforcement, security, safety and
“We are interested in knowing where the barges are so
we can track them, so that we are aware for other mis-