USCG: "Reconstituting the Port of New York and New Jersey is the Highest Priority"

Coast Guard Vice Adm. Robert C. Parker, Atlantic Area commander, and Rear Adm. Richard T. Gromlich, director of Operational Logistics, conducted an over-flight of the New Jersey coastline, New York Harbor and Long Island Wednesday to assess the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy.

Currently, the Coast Guard's top priority is to get the port of New York and New Jersey back to full operations. Their assessment included evaluating impacts to the marine transportation system and Coast Guard facilities. The Coast Guard enables a safe, efficient, and navigable waterway for domestic commerce, international trade and national defense.

"The United States is a maritime nation and we rely heavily on the ports for commerce - 95 percent of our goods come to us by way of sea. Just about everything you purchase on an average trip to store, from yesterday's Halloween candy to the shirt on your back, most likely came through a seaport somewhere at sometime.  The port of New York and New Jersey is vital to our nation's economy and we are doing everything humanly possible to get the port back to full operations.  This is an all-hands on deck evolution," said Parker.

The service's priorities are safety of life, to restore the marine transportation system, specifically in New York and New Jersey and rapid reconstitution of operations in the affected areas. Coast Guard crews continue to conduct assessments to ensure ports are safe and ready for business.

Coast Guard operations continue despite some service shore infrastructures sustaining flood damage, limited communications capacity and power outages.

As the Coast Guard Atlantic Area Commander, Parker serves as the operational commander for all Coast Guard missions within a geographic region that ranges from the Rocky Mountains to the Arabian Gulf and spans across five Coast Guard Districts and 40 states.

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Port Opened to Tug and Barge Traffic

The Port of New York and New Jersey is open with the following guidelines and exceptions:

The Port of New York is open to all tug and barge traffic carrying petroleum products.

New York waterway ferries and taxi service are fully operational on the Hudson and East Rivers.

Gravesend Bay anchorage south of the Verrazano Bridge as well as the anchorage north of the bridge is open and anchorage north of the bride is scheduled to be open later today.

The Hudson River is open to all vessel traffic north of George Washington Bridge.

The Kill Van Kull is open to light tugs.

More specific guidelines and exceptions on the status of the port are posted to New York Homeport.

As the port opens, agents are reminded to provide updates to the pilots and facilities to ensure the efficient entry of vessels.

Vessel operators are asked to provide information regarding weather conditions and location of debris fields to Vessel Traffic Service New York via channel 11 or 13.