The MV (Motor Vessel) Mississippi V was in Cape Girardeau, Mo. on Saturday Aug. 17 for an open house. On Friday the boat had spent three hours taking on supplies at St. Louis before beginning the overnight cruise to Cape Girardeau. Over 800 visitors boarded and toured the largest diesel powered towboat in the country. Visitors were allowed access from the engine room to the pilot house.
The MV Mississippi V is under the direction of the Army Corp of Engineers and is used as a tow boat, moving barges of concrete up and down the Mississippi. The concrete is used in support of the Corp’s mat sinking operations along the river.
When not being used as a towboat the Mississippi is pressed into service for the Mississippi River Commission, which uses it for high and low water inspection. The vessel has a hearing room that can hold up to 115 people and is used for hearings along the river by the commission. When not in use as a towboat or by the MRC it is used as a public relations vessel. While in the St. Louis District the Mississippi was opened to the public in Cape Girardeau and for a public hearing in Alton, Ill.
The vessel sits four stories high, with the pilot house occupying the top floor. There are 22 state rooms on three floors, not including the quarters used by the 24-hour staff. When fully booked the boat can hold 150 people. The hearing room is equipped with a large screen television, with computer access. A fully equipped kitchen is manned by a staff of chef’s, cooks and attendants.
The boat is equipped with three large diesel engines. When cruising the boat makes an average speed of eight miles per hour and is controlled by the Pilot House. When sitting idle the engines can be controlled in the engine room, for testing and repairs.
After the Hurricane Katrina event the vessel was sent to Vicksburg, Miss. where it was stationed as a floating operations command center.
In 1882 the first MV Mississippi was commissioned in St. Louis, Mo. The steam powered boat was used for river inspections and also carried President Theodore Roosevelt and two years later President William Howard Taft. In 2007 the MV Mississippi IV arrived in Vicksburg, Miss., where it remains today and is used as the Lower Mississippi River Museum.