Port of New Orleans CEO: Isaac "not our first rodeo"

Gary LaGrangeAUGUST 28, 2012 —"Our staff and terminal operators have taken all of the necessary precautions in anticipation of the worst, while we hope for the best," said Port of New Orleans President and CEO Gary LaGrange as the port prepared for Tropical Storm Isaac. "This isn't our first rodeo."

Cargo terminals within the port were set to cease operations by 5 p.m.yesterday as port personnel and terminal operators finished storm preparedness procedures.

The Associated Branch Pilots, who pilot ships through Southwest Pass at the mouth of the Mississippi River, ceased operations Sunday night and the Crescent River Port Pilots and the New Orleans Baton Rouge Pilot Association ceased moving vessels yesterday morning, closing the river to deep-draft traffic until the storm threat passes.

The Port of New Orleans Administration Building and cargo operations will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday.

The final phase of the Port's storm plan is to lock down cranes, ensure key operations and security personnel are in place; remove any potential hazards from wharves and secure all floating equipment.

"Our storm preparations have gone very smoothly," Mr. LaGrange said. "We are in constant contact and coordinating all efforts with the Coast Guard, Army Corps of Engineers and all of our tenants and customers."

The Port's Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal was finishing work yesterday on the 778-foot MSC Nederland, which will remain in port, along with five other ships until the Mississippi River reopens.

The Port says its cruise operations were not affected by the approaching storm over the weekend. The Carnival Conquest sailed normally Sunday and is due back on Sunday, Sept. 2. The Carnival Elation is scheduled to arrive Thursday at the Erato Street Cruise Terminal.

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