PORTSMOUTH, Va. – The Coast Guard Atlantic Area commander, Vice Adm. Robert Parker directed the Coast Guard Cutter Spencer to New York Harbor to assist the Coast Guard Captain of the Port and Coast Guard Rear Adm. Dan Abel, First District commander, with the full Coast Guard post-storm response to Hurricane Sandy.
Abel relocated from his normal headquarters in Boston, Wednesday, and has established his command and control post aboard Spencer, anchored in New York Harbor. Abel’s top priority is to fully reopen the Port of New York and New Jersey, associated waterways, approaches and anchorages while facilitating the maritime delivery of fuel, other critical commodities and critical passengers. His other priorities include ensuring the safety of life and property, and rapidly responding to oil and hazardous materials incidents and mitigating their impacts on the environment and on the maritime transportation system.
“This is an all hands on deck evolution and we are doing everything humanly possible, and then some, to reestablish full operations, with immediate focus on fuel deliveries, in the Port of New York and New Jersey,” said Abel. “We also stand ready to respond to all hazard and all threats. Positioning the Spencer in New York Harbor gives me on scene command and control, supplements units impacted by the storm and offers the very best response to the people of New York and New Jersey.”
The Port of New York and New Jersey is open to all barge and tug traffic and tanker ships are anchored in the port and transferring fuel to fuel barges. The Coast Guard is permitting larger, deep draft vessels to transit the port on case-by-case basis, based on whether the facilities they need to go to are up and operating. Opening the port to all traffic must be done in a manner that does not further complicate port operations or environmental response efforts by letting vessels transit before verification that the port facilities are prepared to safely receive vessel traffic.
Additionally, the Coast Guard is overseeing the clean up of three hazardous material release sites on the New Jersey side of Arthur Kill and positioning our resources to rapidly respond to oil and hazardous materials incidents and mitigate their impact of the environment and on the maritime transportation system.
The cutter Spencer is a 270-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Boston. A medium endurance cutter, like Spencer, provides forward operating capabilities and command and control to assist with responding to all hazards and all threats.