Vicksburg, Miss…The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District’s Mat Sinking Unit (MSU) will leave the harbor for its annual revetment season on July 9, 2014. The District will host a Blessing of the Fleet ceremony on July 9, 2014, 10:00 a.m., at City Front as the MSU departs.
A tradition that dates back to medieval times, the Blessing of the Fleet originally started in early European fishing communities. A blessing bestowed by a local priest was meant to ask for an abundant and safe season.
The MSU is the only one of its kind in the world and performs one of the most important jobs in the Corps’ river stabilization program. This unique one-of-a-kind crew places articulated concrete mats along the river banks of the Mississippi River to control erosion.
Its fleet consists of towboats, quarter boats, and a dredge, including the motor vessels BENYAURD, WILLIAM JAMES, and HARRISON, and other floating plants. The MSU is known as a floating city that houses and feeds its employees and has the capabilities to provide all of the electricity and potable water needed.
Inland waterway navigation is a crucial mission for the Corps. The MSU’s responsibilities are to maintain more than 800 miles of navigable channels and harbors to ensure safe, cost-effective, dependable, and environmentally sustainable transportation of vessels within our country’s inland waterways.
The Vicksburg District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers encompasses a 68,000-square-mile area across portions of Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisiana that holds seven major river basins and incorporates approximately 460 miles of mainline levees. The district is engaged in hundreds of projects and employs approximately 1,100 people. The Vicksburg District supports disaster response in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Tennessee. To learn more about the Vicksburg District, visit our website, www.mvk.usace.army.mil .
The public is invited to attend the Blessing of the Fleet.
Release no. 14-055