NOAA Prepares Hurricane 'Sandy' Maritime Response
Hurricane-force winds are expected along portions of the coast between Chincoteague Virginia and Chatham Massachusetts.
As Hurricane 'Sandy' heads north along the Atlantic coast, NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey is deep into preparations for maritime rapid response. Two objectives stand out: move navigation response personnel and assets into position to move quickly once SANDY moves out; and batten down survey vessels, to protect them from storm damage.
Coast Survey regularly responds to requests for quick navigation surveys after storms and other damaging events, pulling vessels from their normal survey schedules and deploying them to ports that need hydrographic surveys before they can resume full-fledged shipping.
The NOAA say its Coast Survey has deployed navigation managers from outside Hurricane Sandy’s areas of impact, supplemented with headquarters personnel, moving them to areas expected to hit hard. They have now have navigation managers at NY/NJ, PA/DE, MD, and VA, and they will coordinate rapid maritime response with available assets.
They are also identifying vessels of opportunity, so that they can get more personnel and high tech equipment out to ports that will need quick surveys to resume shipping and other operations. Survey teams are strategically placed out of harm’s way but ready to move, as needed, at first opportunity.
The navigation response teams (NRTs), mobile integrated survey teams (MIST) that use vessels of opportunity, autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), and Bay Hydro II are all Coast Survey response assets. Additionally, NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson is surveying in Long Island Sound and will be deployed if she is needed.