Coast Survey ready to assist with hurricane recovery at Gulf Coast ports
NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey is ready with storm response andpost-storm recovery plans for the height of the 2010 hurricane season. Gearing up for the peak months, expected to last through October, navigation managers are contacting each Gulf Coast port to review the ports’ priorities for Coast Survey’s post-storm response.
To help recovery efforts after storms move out, Coast Survey’s six navigation response teams are prepared to conduct hydrographic surveys to help reopen ports and waterways of the Gulf. Ten of the 15 largest ports in the nation (ranked by cargo volume) are found along the Gulf. Efficient operations of these vital gateways for U.S. exports to world markets are necessary to a healthy U.S. economy.
Surveys are key to re-opening ports
To mariners, port navigation after the hurricane can be just as deadly as the hurricane itself if debris and changes in the ocean floor go undetected.
When underwater debris may cause navigational hazards, for instance, Coast Survey can provide response teams for the hydrographic surveying necessary to reopen navigation channels and port areas. The teams survey the ports and channels, searching for submerged vessels, pieces of oil rigs, structures swept out to sea, or any other wreckage that poses a danger to navigation. When hurricanes and strong storms make landfall they often bring stronger than normal ocean currents that can also shift navigational channels.
When needed, the response teams transport small boats over land, so they can move into the affected coastal areas as soon as possible. Each three-person crew uses the latest technology to quickly assess storm damage, identify submerged hazards or obstructions, and work with their federal, state and local community partners to restore safe navigational access.