Joint Hurricane Team Meeting Set For May 26

Stakeholders, operators and waterway managers from along the Gulf Coast will gather in New Orleans May 26 for the annual planning session of the Gulf Coast Inland Waterways Joint Hurricane Team. The Joint Hurricane Response Protocol, an outgrowth of the partnerships forged by fire during the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons, focuses on the relationships, roles and responsibilities of the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Army of Corps of Engineers, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Gulf states and the towboat and barge industry as they prepare ahead of storms and reconstitute waterways after they pass.

The Gulf Intracoastal Canal Association (GICA) coordinates the annual meeting, which is held at the Port of New Orleans’ headquarters on the east bank of the Mississippi River.

The meeting this year will open with remarks from Rear Adm. Richard Timme, commander of the Eighth Coast Guard District; a hurricane season outlook from the National Weather Service; and a general overview of the protocol by GICA President Paul Dittman. Doug Blakemore, with the Eighth Coast Guard District’s bridge administration, will brief operators on movable bridges in the area, while Vic Landry, Corps operations manager for the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, will look at the status of locks in south Louisiana.

Attendees will also hear reports from U.S. Coast Guard Sector New Orleans, including marine safety units in Morgan City, Houma and Baton Rouge and vessel traffic services in New Orleans and Berwick Bay. Representatives from the Mobile Engineer District and Galveston Engineer District will speak, as will representatives from Coast Guard Sector New Orleans and Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston. Attendees will also hear from marine safety units in Texas City, Port Arthur and Lake Charles, vessel traffic services in Houston and Port Arthur and Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi.

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The meeting will convene at 9 a.m. and conclude by 2 p.m. A draft of the latest version of the protocol is available on the Gulf Intracoastal Canal Association’s website,