Mat Sinking Unit to begin work; holding Blessing of the Fleet

Mississippi River

Mississippi River

VICKSBURG — 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.

The District will host a Blessing of the Fleet ceremony July 9 at 10 a.m., at City Front in Vicksburg 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. The 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.

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