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September 25, 2006

Post-Rita overflights find moderate damage

The Coast Guard today relocated its Hurricane Rita Incident Management Team to the Hilton Hobby Hotel in Houston. Meantime, essential personnel continued conducting damage assessment of shorelines, waterways and the outer continental shelf closer to the impacted area.

Overflight assessments conducted yesterday by the Coast Guard and other federal agencies in and around Texas, Louisiana, and the Gulf of Mexico flights showed:

  • The Houston Ship Channel showed relatively little negative impact from the storm. Approximately 50 percent of the aids to navigations are off station. One minor pollution spill has been reported west of Pelican Island.
  • Several minor pollution spills were sighted in the Port Arthur, TX area. Aids to navigation surveys will begin in the area Sunday.
  • An aerial assessment of Hurricane Rita's track line was flown in the Continental Shelf region of the Gulf of Mexico. The survey showed two damaged drilling platforms, but no visible sheens. More over flights are scheduled for this area.
  • These flights were just the first of many aerial and ground surveys of waterways and facilities that will take place over the next several days in Texas, Louisiana, and the Gulf of Mexico.

    The Coast Guard continues to work with the Army Corps of Engineers and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to complete full assessments of vital waterways in order to re-establish commercial vessel traffic. This traffic is vital in moving materials involved in the production of gasoline and other chemical products.

    Coast Guard officials are in close contact with vessel pilots and industry in order to keep them informed as to when these waterways will reopen.