NEW YORK – Once Hurricane Sandy moves ashore and weather on the water calms, the Captain of the Port for New York and New Jersey will begin easing restrictions on the waterways that are vital to the maritime commerce of the United States.
Currently marine traffic in the Port of New York and New Jersey is restricted to specific approval by the Captain of the Port. The restrictions ensure vessels are not moving as the worst of the storm moves through. Aids to navigations such as markers and buoys may be blown off station during strong storms as well as water depth changes due to storm surge and rough water conditions.
The Port of New York and New Jersey has a Maritime Transportation System Recovery Unit in place that coordinates the reopening and survey of local waterways and facilities. Once bad weather subsides, Coast Guard crews in conjunction with the Army Corps of Engineers, Federally licensed Pilots and state and local authorities will begin inspecting shore-side facilities for damage. They will also begin to check positions on every buoy in the port to ensure vessels can safely navigate the correct shipping channels. Crews will also identify areas where shoaling has occurred due to moving sand disturbed by the passing storm.
As facilities are inspected, channel markers checked and the condition of the waterway’s bottom verified; the local Captain of the Port can begin to ease restrictions on waterways where commerce moves. The Captain of the Port works with industry and local partners to prioritize ship movement to ensure normal commerce resumes.
“With the Port of New York and New Jersey bringing in more than $80 billion dollars annually, it is of the utmost importance to ease restrictions on the port as soon as it is safe to do so,” said Capt. Gordon Loebl, commander of Coast Guard Sector New York, Captain of the Port.