First Class Pilot Lic

I have searched around pretty well and have not been able to find the requirements for the First Class Pilot Lic. I am working on the Lower Mississippi River. I understand there is a certain number of round trips, tonnage, and time. I was told many pilots come up through the harbor tugs which I work on, but then I heard that the license requires time on vessels over 200GRT, which none of our boats meet.
As bad as things are with the economy I’m not about to leave my job if I can’t get that license here, but I’d love to hear it’s still possible.

46 CFR 15 and Chapter 11 of Vol. III of the Marine Safety Manual should be a good starting place.