NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Coast Guard said vessels along the Mississippi River were weathering Tropical Storm Isaac early Thursday and there were no reports of loose barges.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Ryan Tippets said the river remained closed to shipping.

The Coast Guard and port officials were expected to begin inspecting conditions Thursday as a first step toward reopening the river, which was closed on Monday as the storm neared the coast. About 10 ships are waiting to enter the river about 100 miles south of New Orleans. Most were cargo ships, but a cruise liner was due to arrive on Thursday as well.

Tippets said the Coast Guard is readying other storm relief efforts. He said helicopters were on standby in case they are needed for rescues.