Largest diesel towboat on MS River opens for tours

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - U.S. Army Corps of Engineers offered self-guided tours of the largest diesel towboat on the Mississippi River.

The boat was open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Beale Street Landing in Memphis on Tuesday.

The M/V Mississippi is 241 feet long and 58 feet wide. The boat has 22 staterooms to accommodate overnight passengers, a conference room that seats 115 people, and a dining room that seats 85.

It spends more than 90 percent of its time moving barges, but also carries distinguished passengers.

"We're 6,300 horsepower, so we aren't the strongest, but we are the biggest and a lot of that is due to our guests and members of the river commission that we take on board," U.S. Army Corps of Engineer Aaron Kirk said.

The M/V Mississippi is the fifth corps vessel to bear the Mississippi name with the job of protecting and developing the river.

"Ever since 1882 we've been doing these Mississippi River inspection trips," Kirk said.

The crew travels often, but the boats home port is Memphis.

The public is welcomed on board for an open house about four times per year. During the tour, they get to see where meals are prepared for guests and crew members. There is even an opportunity to walk through the engine room, which is the heart and horsepower of the vessel, and the pilot house, which is considered "the ears and eyes on the river."

"It's just real good to share what we do with our hometown," Kirk explained.

WMC Action News 5's Jerica Phillips got an early tour of the boat Tuesday morning:

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