Reopening Ports after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita
NOAA's Office of Coast Survey helped to reopen ports within days of disaster striking.
In the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, many ports and waterways were closed indefinitely and commercial vessels were limited in their ability to safely navigate blockages in the ship channel from debris and other material. NOAA provided critical information supporting the U.S. Coast Guard to rapidly assess and reopen waterways, allowing marine-based relief efforts into impacted communities. This effort demonstrated NOAA's contribution to the nation's commerce with information for safe, efficient, and environmentally sound transportation. Within a few weeks after Hurricane Katrina and Rita made landfall, navigation response teams and hydrographic survey vessels enabled the reopening of all 13 major ports and waterways in the region allowing access to over 100 ships awaiting entry.
When coastal disasters strike, NOAA's Office of Coast Survey (OCS) leads federal emergency hydrographic response efforts, acquiring data on depths and obstructions that are essential to reopening vital waterways. Coast Survey's navigation response teams work with other NOAA offices, government agencies, ports, maritime industries, and local authorities to rapidly survey and re-chart impacted areas in support of safe marine navigation and the rapid resumption of maritime commerce.
For more information:
Local and Regional Economic Impacts of The U.S. Deepwater Port System, 2007
Waterborne Commerce Statistics Center, Navigation Data Center, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers