Unified Command continues to respond to tsunami damage

SEATTLE - A marina near Chetco River Ore., suffers damage after a tsunami hit the Oregon coast following a magnitude 8.9 earthquake in Japan, Mar. 11, 2011. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Group Air Station North BendSAN FRANCISCO – Unified Command response crews have begun working with boat owners in Crescent City and Santa Cruz to find safe mooring for their vessels following the tsunami that struck Northern California Friday.

In Crescent City, severe weather, strong winds, and high seas have temporarily halted some operations for salvage crews. However, Unified Command continues to assess the damage in the harbor and develop plans for strategic boom. Divers are ready to deploy to conduct underwater assessments, once it has been determined safe to do so.

Ensuring the safety of both the public and responders continues to be a top priority. Even though the tsunami warning has been canceled, people should heed all beach warnings and avoid low-lying areas, rocks, and jetties during this period of severe weather in Crescent City.

Boaters are advised to stay in port and not get underway unless necessary. If boaters do take to the seas, they are encouraged to check the weather and their safety gear prior to departing. All boaters should have life jackets, immersion suits, flares and a marine radio capable of contacting the Coast Guard on Channel 16, and should file a float plan with someone on shore prior to leaving port.

In Santa Cruz, response teams have already begun dive operations and are working with boater owners to move all undamaged vessels to open slips. Crews continue to remove hazardous debris and mitigate pollution threats.

The Unified Command, which consists of the Coast Guard, California Department of Fish and Game Office of Oil Spill Prevention and Response, and local harbor masters, is expected to stay on-scene until at least the end of the week.

The Department of Fish and Game has activated the Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN) to help monitor and recover oiled wildlife. The public is asked to not attempt to rescue oiled animals, but instead report them to OWCN at (877) 823-6926.

In addition, the public should report any pollution to the National Response Center at (800) 424-8802 or online at www.nrc.uscg.mil. The National Response Center is the federal point of contact for all oil and chemical spills.

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