According to the AP, with the next hurricane season two weeks away, Northrop Grumman Ship Systems
has made changes in its plans to protect its coastal shipbuilding facilities and recover from a storm as powerful as Hurricane Katrina, a company official said Tuesday.
Northrop Grumman, which bills itself as the world's largest military shipbuilder, will evacuate workers and start securing its facilities in Pascagoula, Gulfport and New Orleans at least 24 to 36 hours earlier than it typically did for past hurricanes, officials said.
Vehicles and equipment will be moved to higher ground. Water, food, generators and gasoline will be stockpiled in greater quantities. Fewer workers will stay behind to ride out the storm.
Katrina inflicted hundreds of millions of dollars in damage to the shipbuilder's facilities at ports in Pascagoula, Gulfport and New Orleans.
Workers resumed building ships within two weeks of the Aug. 29 storm. The company, the state's largest manufacturing employer, has returned to around 90 percent of its pre-Katrina staffing levels, with 12,000 employees in Mississippi and 5,700 employees in Louisiana.
Northrop Grumman also has repaired about half of its Pascagoula facility and roughly a quarter of its Gulfport facility. Damage to the company's New Orleans facility was less severe than in Mississippi.
For the first time, Northrop Grumman also drafted a detailed plan for recovering from another hurricane, by stockpiling critical supplies and setting an off-site command center where employees can contact company officials.