Coast Guard working to reopen Mobile and Pascagoula ports and channels

Mobile, Ala. – The Coast Guard, as part of a Joint Hurricane Team (JHT), is working to reopen the Mobile and Pascagoula Ship Channels to deep-draft traffic.

Currently, the Port of Mobile is open to vessel traffic with a draft of 35 feet or less, but the Theodore Barge Canal is closed. The Port of Pascagoula is open to all traffic with a draft of 12 feet or less, but Horn Island Channel remains closed. A recovery plan has been produced with the goal of reopening the channels within the next 24 hours, possibly late Wednesday afternoon.

The JHT is made up of representatives from the maritime industry, Mobile and Pascagoula Port Authorities, and state and federal officials, including the Coast Guard, Army Corp of Engineers, and NOAA. The JHT was formed in 2006 as one of the lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina, and has since coordinated recovery operations in more than 10 tropical storms and hurricanes.

In order to expedite the reopening of the Mobile and Pascagoula Ship Channels to deep-draft traffic, members of the JHT, including Drummond Coal and Chevron Pascagoula, have joined forces again. As part of the recovery plan, the US Coast Guard is currently working to restore critical aids to navigation, and the Army Corp of Engineers is conducting detailed surveys to determine channel depth and the extent of shoaling resulting from Hurricane Gustav.

Mariners seeking additional information and a copy of the latest Marine Information Safety Bulletin can visit: http://homeport.uscg.mil

Coast Guard’s response efforts can be found at: www.uscgstormwatch.com

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