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February 25, 2004

Southwest Pass reopens

The U.S. Coast Guard reopened the Southwest Pass of the Mississippi River at 1.00 p.m. today to one-way maritime traffic.

All vessel movement through the Southwest Pass must be coordinated through the U.S. Coast Guard's Vessel Traffic Center in New Orleans.

The Coast Guard is continuing to work with the various pilot associations to ensure that the vessels waiting to enter and depart the Mississippi River via the Southwest Pass do so in as safe a manner as possible.

The decision to reopen the Southwest Pass came after salvage teams had removed the capsized OSV Lee III.

The 178-foot OSVsank soon after it and the Zim Mexico III, a 534-foot Antiguan-flagged cargo ship, collided at about 5:20 a.m. Saturday in the Mississippi Delta, about 60 miles south of New Orleans. Five OSV crew members were lost.

The cause of the accident remains under investigation by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Details of the extensive salvage and remedial efforts made are available at http://www.d8publicaffairs.com

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