The Club has recently received the below information from our correspondents in Houston on the current operational status of the ports in Texas following Hurricane Harvey.
"A Port Coordination Team (PCT) call was held at 0900 morning 29th August. Tropical Storm (TS) Harvey moved ashore this morning and is now over SW Louisiana. It will continue to push NE today and tomorrow. Weather conditions in the Houston area and offshore are improving. Offshore winds are 20-30 knots, seas 4-6’ with occasional 8-9’ swells. Over the next 24 hours, there should be significant improvements, winds below 15 knots, seas nearer 2-3’, and no significant rainfall is expected. The main issue now is that the outflow from rivers and bayous will remain high over the next several days, possibly longer.
Waterway bottom surveys are commencing. The Army Corps of Engineers has five survey vessels in the Houston area, with another three arriving today, and one more Friday. A NOAA Navigation Response Team is in Houston, but some personnel have been unable to get to their vessel. NOAA hopes to have its side scan capability up this afternoon. A mobile team is arriving at Stennis Space Center today and should be in Houston tomorrow. The Coast Guard is developing a priority list of waterways to be surveyed.
Local pilots have been sending boats out, and have in general encountered improving conditions. As expected, some aids to navigation are either damaged or off station. The Pilots cautioned that the rivers and bayous will be discharging elevated amounts of water at some time, increasing currents and water flow (the Houston Pilots reported the current at Morgan’s Point running at 7 MPH) and this will make vessel navigation a challenge for some time, even when the ports re-open.
The Houston – Galveston port complex remains at Port Condition Zulu (closed). The Coast Guard Captain of the Port (COTP) is monitoring the situation hourly; the hope is that limited ship movements can begin soon, but no timeline has been given for when ZULU might be lifted. The COTP’s goal is to re-open the ports as soon as it is safe. The Coast Guard has begun facility surveys, and has conducted 60+ surveys so far. The first step for re-opening a facility is completion of the Facility Self-Assessment Checklist, Annex E of the Severe Weather Plan, which was attached to yesterday’s synopsis. While the checklist can be emailed to the address on the form, firstname.lastname@example.org, be advised Coast Guard Sector Houston has severely degraded internet access at this time. The Coast Guard hopes to have internet completely restored today. In the interim, if a facility has completed its checklist and is ready for inspection in order to re-open, the facility may call the Coast Guard at (281) 464-4953 or (281) 493-4938 to get on the list of facilities ready for inspection…"
Attached are PDFs concerning the blockage of Corpus Christi and a more in-depth analysis of each port.
Source of Information Loss Prevention / MBell Blank Rome LLP
For the latest port information for Houston-Galveston please see the US Coast Guard website: https://homeport.uscg.mil/mycg/portal/ep/portDirectory.do?tabId=1&cotpId=28