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NOAA starts 2013 post-Sandy surveys at Statue of Liberty   4 comments

NOAA kicked off its spring season for post-Sandy hydrographic work on April 11, as a navigation response team — equipped with high-tech surveying equipment — began a search for underwater storm debris and mapped the depths surrounding Liberty Island and Ellis Island. Navigation Response Team 5 wrapped up their project today, after surveying over 110 linear nautical miles. They surveyed for 119 hours, collecting over 578 million depth measurements.

In addition to surveying around Liberty Island and Ellis Island, Coast Survey’s NRT5 surveyed adjacent areas to acquire data for updates to NOAA’s nautical charts. This is the “rainbow” coverage map that shows the surveyed area. (The colors indicate depth.)

Graphic depiction of Navigation Response Team 5 surveys of Liberty Island and adjacent areas

Navigation Response Team 5 prepared this graphic depiction of their surveys of Liberty Island and adjacent areas.

NRT5 was one of the first in-water responders to help re-open the Port of New York and New Jersey immediately after Hurricane Sandy hit last year. They returned in April at the request of the National Park Service, which is working to re-establish safe navigation and docking at the Statue of Liberty, in preparation for its planned re-opening on July 4, 2013.

Dr. David Conlin, chief of the National Park Service’s Submerged Resources Center, expressed his appreciation for the special survey at Liberty Island.

Coast Survey's Navigation Response Team 5 surveyed the waters surrounding Liberty Island, April 2013.

Coast Survey’s Navigation Response Team 5 surveyed the waters surrounding Liberty Island, April 2013.

“The Park Service needs highly qualified hydrographic assistance as we move forward with repairs to Liberty Island’s permanent docks and as we make sure surrounding waters are safe for passenger ferries and private vessels,” Conlin explained. “We are very pleased that Coast Survey is stepping up to help re-open this icon for the American people.”

Equipped with multibeam echo-sounding technology and side scan sonar, NRT5 looked for storm debris and identified areas that have depths suitable for the installation of temporary floating docks. NRT5 will deliver survey results (including any pertinent images) to the National Park Service Submerged Resources Center. After further processing, the data will also be forwarded to Coast Survey’s Marine Chart Division, where cartographers will apply new data to NOAA’s nautical charts. NRT5 found no dangers that would warrant an immediate Notice to Mariners — feature evaluations are ongoing.

Navigation Response Team 5 members are Lt. Steven Loy, and physical science technicians Matt Andring and Philip Sparr.

U.S. and Canada eliminate overlapping ENC coverage in the Great Lakes   1 comment

Countries issue advance notice for changes in electronic charts

To comply with internationally agreed practices, Canada and the U.S. have been eliminating overlapping coverage of electronic navigational charts (ENCs). New changes will soon take effect in the Great Lakes. Under the new ENC coverage scheme, each country is changing their areas of coverage so that only one country’s ENC is available for any given area at a particular scale.

These changes come into effect 0000 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), on 22 February, 2013.

Coast Survey’s ENC Overlap webpage has images depicting changes to the ENC coverage in the Great Lakes. (Mouseover the images to switch between original coverage and revised coverage.) It also lists the revised ENC limits as agreed upon by Canada and the United States.

The U.S. and Canada are making these changes to comply with the International Hydrographic Organization Worldwide Electronic Navigational Chart Database principles. According to those principles, countries should avoid ENC duplication, with only one country responsible for producing electronic charts for any given area. The U.S. and Canada revised ENC coverage last year for overlapping regions in Pacific and Atlantic regions.

More information.

This is the original ENC coverage for Band 3. Go to our website to see revised coverage for all bands.

This is the original ENC coverage for Band 3. Go to our website to see revised coverage for all bands.

NOAA Ship Hassler starts post-SANDY survey of deep draft routes to Hampton Roads and Baltimore   2 comments

NOAA Ship Ferdinand R. Hassler departed from NOAA’s Marine Operation Center in Norfolk this morning, to start post-SANDY surveys of critical deep water channels.

NOAA’s newest survey ship, the Ferdinand R. Hassler, began survey operations today in support of the U.S. Coast Guard efforts to re-open the Port of Virginia. Hassler was in port at NOAA’s Marine Operations Center – Atlantic in Norfolk, Virginia, for maintenance when Hurricane Sandy affected the area. The ship’s crew spent Monday completing the work and system tests necessary to get underway once the storm passed, and has now been returned to limited operational status.

Lt. Cmdr. Ben Evans, Hassler’s commanding officer, got the ship underway today (Tuesday), and will return Wednesday evening. The Coast Guard Captain of the Port for Hampton Roads requested that the ship survey critical portions of Thimble Shoal Channel and Chesapeake Channel, the deep draft routes to the ports of Hampton Roads and Baltimore.

“Surveying the deepest draft channels will allow the Coast Guard to decide when to re-open the port to unrestricted traffic without unnecessary delay,” Evans explained. “The ports of the Chesapeake Bay are critical to the U.S. economy and national security, so we need to make this effort as soon as the ship is ready to sail.”

The need for hydrographic surveying is critical. There are 78 large vessels, including portions of the Navy’s Atlantic Fleet, waiting to transit through the entrance to Chesapeake Bay.

The Hassler was also a pivotal survey asset last year, as Hampton Roads resumed operations after Hurricane Irene. At that time, Hassler was one of the three NOAA survey vessels used to clear the port from dangers caused by underwater debris or shoaling. Their work enabled a rapid resumption of shipping and port operations in 2011.

“Delays in shipping, even minor ones, cost the economy millions each year,” explained Rear Admiral Gerd Glang, director of NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey. “After Hurricane Irene last year, NOAA’s rapid maritime response paid dividends in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, where an average of $5 million worth of cargo is shipped in or out, every hour. This year, rapid response is just as critical.”

The Norfolk Custom District is the country’s 9th largest in terms of the value of total imports and exports moving through the port, with nearly $55 billion in total trade in 2011.

*** Learn more about how NOAA’s National Ocean Service responds to hurricanes.

NOAA deploys personnel and survey assets to speed resumption of shipping after Sandy – Update 29 Oct   1 comment

Coast Guard and Coast Survey at NY-NJ

USCG Lt. Cmdr. Anne Morrisey, chief of Waterways Management Division for Sector New York, and NOAA Coast Survey navigation manager Kyle Ward discuss potential navigation response scenarios, at Sector NY Coast Guard Maritime Transportation System Recovery Unit.

As conditions go downhill, NOAA is deploying personnel and hydrographic survey assets to help speed the resumption of shipping after SANDY clears out.

Coast Survey has deployed navigation managers from outside Hurricane Sandy’s areas of impact, supplemented with headquarters personnel, moving them to areas expected to be hit hard. Navigation managers are now at U.S. Coast Guard Incident Command Centers for New York – New Jersey and for Delaware Bay. We are also working with Coast Guard Captains of the Port for Virginia, Baltimore, and New England. NOAA’s navigation managers are working with the Coast Guard and the Army Corps of Engineers to coordinate deployment of NOAA’s navigation response teams (NRT) for rapid maritime response. They are also identifying vessels of opportunity, for potential use with Coast Survey’s mobile survey team (MIST).

NOAA’s navigation response teams provide essential information when ports need to quickly but safely re-open in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, helping to limit the nation’s exposure to significant economic losses and adverse effects on national security caused by prolonged disruptions to the maritime transportation system.

As of noon today, the graph below depicts the position of navigation response teams, survey vessels, and equipment available to search for underwater dangers to navigation and to detect dangerous shoaling that may pose an unacceptable risk to vessels.

NOAA Coast Survey Response Assets and Locations 29Oct2012

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