Out with Gustav, in with Ike

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The Coast Guard has ordered all vessels moored in the Inner Harbor Navigational Canal (IHNC) of New Orleans be removed to prepare for the possible landfall of Hurricane Ike, according to a press release.

The orders were made to avoid damage to bridges and other structures in or neighboring the navigable waters of the IHNC. Southern Scrap Recycling has had to take its numerous vessels and barges elsewhere after they broke their mooring lines along the turning basin north of the FloridaAvenueBridge during Hurricane Gustav last week. Many of the vessels, some of which are ex-Navy ships, drifted north and west and ran aground on the north and west sides of the turning basin. The federal levee flood protection system was not impacted, according to the report.

One change in the Coast Guard heavy weather plan since Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was the removal of commercial vessels from the southern section of the IHNC that was strictly enforced during Hurricane Gustav, according to the report.

“Having any vessel adrift during a storm is a concern and problem we take extremely seriously,” says Capt. Lincoln Stroh, commander of Coast Guard Sector New Orleans, in the report. “Every storm we face produces its own set of circumstances that impact our waterways. Our responsibility to the citizens of New Orleans and the maritime industry is to be vigilant in preparation for storms and vigilant in response after the storm.”

Ike is currently rounding the southern coast of Cuba, moving west at 14 mph According to the National Weather Service’s National Hurricane Center, it’s expected to reach the New Orleans coast about 8 a.m. Saturday. To track Ike, visit http://www.nhc.noaa.gov

— Elizabeth Ellis

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