Unified command completes Hurricane Michael response

MIRAMAR BEACH, FL – Cleanup efforts and removal operations of displaced vessels by Emergency Support Function 10 Florida response are entering the final stage three months after Hurricane Michael made landfall in Northwest Florida.

The Unified Command for the response consisted of leaders from the U.S. Coast Guard and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

There were 175 displaced vessels removed from Florida waterways. People from 175 state and federal agencies were involved in the disaster response.

“We are very proud of the exemplary team effort and expert coordination by our responders as they closed out the daunting task of assessing and responding to nearly 1,400 targets throughout Bay, Gulf, Franklin and Wakulla Counties in Florida,” said Cmdr. Kelly Thorkilson, Coast Guard incident commander for ESF-10 Florida. “The Coast Guard and the state of Florida will continue to regularly monitor the affected areas for environmental threats through our local commands.”

“Our agency partnerships and the tremendous help of vessel owners taking initiative made this effort a success,” said Major Rob Rowe, FWC incident commander for ESF-10 Florida. “The state will continue to leverage these partnerships in support of local communities as we help Floridians get back on their feet.”

Because of the work accomplished by the Unified Command in partnership with vessel owners, the mission is close to successful culmination. Incident commanders say this success benefits the environment, fishermen, small businesses and the tourism sector.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency assigned $18.6 million for the ESF-10 mission as part of Northwest Florida hurricane recovery efforts. ESF-10 is the framework by which federal support is coordinated with state agencies in response to actual or potential oil spills or hazardous material releases. Partner agencies, including Florida Department of Environmental Protection and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration contributed expertise and experience to the assessment and removal efforts.

To date, ESF-10 response teams have completed the following in their efforts to reduce the potential impact to Florida’s marine environment:

  • Assessed 1,370 displaced, wrecked, sunken or beached vessels
  • 175 vessels mitigated and/or removed from the environment;
  • Pollution mitigation from 29 actively sheening vessels
  • Pollution was proactively removed from 77 vessels to mitigate potential/future environmental threats
  • Removed approximately 23,407 gallons of oily water
  • Deployed 2,320 feet of absorbent boom

Vessel owners are encouraged to hire a salvage company to recover their vessels to provide the safest removal method possible for the public and environment. A listing of vessels recovered by the Coast Guard and FWC that were wrecked/sunken on the waters of the state can be found here. Vessel owners who have located their vessels and have a specific salvage plan can call (850) 488-5600 Monday through Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Property owners interested in reporting a wrecked vessel found on their property or boat owners looking for their lost vessels as a result of Hurricane Michael can call the FWC Northwest Regional Communication Center at (850) 245-7716.

The public is encouraged to call the National Response Center at (800) 424-8802 to report any pollution incidents.

Reports of marine debris should be directed to county management authorities.

If you have any problems viewing this article, please report it here.

Related Posts

Comments are closed.