You are the upstream tug and tow on the Mississippi River. Do you need a license?

The Coast Guard is telling the license mate the answer is yes, after his oil-laden barge was split in two by an outbound tanker.<br><br>Is this an extremely isolated incidence or is this topic a bit sensitive?

<P>I have no first-hand knowledge of the working on the Mississippi. I know nothing about the people or cirumstances of what I am cut and pasting here. These comments come reader comments to an article in “The Times-Picayune”. <br><br><A href="]</A><br><br>“All the ‘smaller’ companies face problems like this… captain shortages, why work in the river when you can catch a sweet job running dedicated tows… all the good pilots are gone… there are still a few out there… but for the most part the smaller companies, like DRD, Tako, Quality Marine, Eymaurd, etc are hurting… They have to hang on to anyone who knows how to run a tugboat, liscensed or not, doped up or not… I have seen owners of a company allow employees to ‘study’ for drug tests because they cannot afford to lose any employees. As an old friend of mine used to say “it’s a sad situa’tion cap””<br><br>“As serious a situation as this may be, there are many people on the river that are not properly licensed that are running boats. I personally know that DRD has people that are not licensed that can run the f**k out of a boat. The maritime industry is struggling to find good captains and dont just hand licenses out at your local drive-thru!!! The person that was running the Mel Oliver could very well be able to run the boat, but you do not know what was going on nor why the captain left the boat. I have been reading alot of these comments and cannot believe that DRD is being trashed the way they are. They give their employees the chance to make a living. They may save a dollar to put that apprentice on the boat, but the licensed captain is responsible for overseeing that boat. Drd may take a few chances, but they won’t put an inexperienced person on that boat to run it. How many people get into a car everyday without a license, does that mean he/she cannot drive that car. A water vessel is the same way. If you can trust that person behind the wheel or sticks give them that chance. There are alot of people that have been grandfathered into the industry that can’t even read or write should they be on the river. Ther is only one true judge, but today’s judge(USCG) will prevail!!!”<br><br>“DRD Towing is responsible for this. They have run a trash operation for years.For those not in the marine industry this is the second crash DRD Towing is responsible for this month. On July 12 DRD Towing was operating the M/V Ruby E with out a properly licensed Capt. in which they tried to over take a northbound tow and ended up sinking the boat. You break the law no matter what you will eventually will get caught.”<br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br></P>