Home » Aviation » Navy, Coast Guard Evaluating Hurricane Irma Damage to Facilities, Ports

Navy, Coast Guard Evaluating Hurricane Irma Damage to Facilities, Ports

Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 2nd Class Ray Clark signals to raise an aircraft elevator in the hangar bay of the amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD) 7 as part of preparations for potential humanitarian relief efforts on Sept. 11, 2017. US Navy Photo

The Navy’s Hurricane Irma relief effort is ramping up as more ships position off the coast of Florida and teams arrive on land to deliver supplies and assess damage, the service said on Wednesday.

Tuesday evening amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD-7), amphibious transport dock ship USS New York (LPD-21) and guided-missile cruiser USS San Jacinto (CG-56) arrived on station off of Key West to support relief efforts.

The ships arrived with Amphibious Squadron 4, a component of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, a detachment from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 28, as well as members of Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group 2, Tactical Air Control Squadron 22 and Fleet Surgical Team 8, according to a Navy statement.

The ships and embarked units joined the ongoing relief efforts of aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72), which has already been sending supplies onto land by helicopter.

Meanwhile, in the Caribbean near Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the USS Wasp (LHD-1), USS Kearsarge (LHD-3) and USS Oak Hill (LSD-51), Military Sealift Command’s dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS William McLean (T-AKE 12), the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), and Federal Emergency Management Agency staff continue providing humanitarian aid to the islands.

A sailor sprays insect repellent on U.S. Marine Corps woodland utility uniforms aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD-7) on Sept. 10, 2017. US Marine Corps Photo

Also Wednesday, the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Southeast announced a 17-person Contingency Engineering Response Team was expected to land at Naval Air Station Key West to evaluate base damage. No injuries were reported when Hurricane Irma made landfall Sunday morning about 18 miles from the base, but the Navy is still assessing what repairs are needed for the air station to resume normal operations.

Naval Station Key West, according to a Navy statement, was the hardest hit of all Navy installations in Florida. Team members are specialists trained to inspect roofing, physical structures, and electrical systems. Two weeks ago, the command stated the team deployed to inspect Navy facilities in Kingsville and Corpus Christi, Texas, following Hurricane Harvey.

Meanwhile, the Coast Guard continues inspecting ports along the Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina coast for damage, signaling to boaters some areas are now safe for traffic. The concern, according to a Coast Guard statement, is debris washed into ports and waterways posing underwater hazards to passing marine traffic.

Two MH-65 Dolphin helicopters were returned to the Coast Guard Air Station Miami in Opa Locka, Fla. following the storm. The Coast Guard had temporarily located the helicopters in Mobile, Ala., to avoid the storm.

Coast Guard members offload MH-65 Dolphin helicopters from an Air Force C-17 aircraft at Coast Guard Air Station Miami in Opa Locka, Fla., Sept. 11, 2017. US Coast Gaurd Photo

After battling 15-foot seas between Hurricanes Irma and Jose, Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton arrived in Jacksonville Tuesday to assess damage in the area, according to a Coast Guard statement. A 35-foot Long Range Interceptor small assessed damage on the St. Johns River in Jacksonville.

  • Stephen

    When I was a Federal Official, I suggested bringing US Navy SeaBees to Haiti, after the quake. I also advocated docking a Naval Support vessel providing clean water & power. The reaction was swift & brutal! We can’t do that! It would look like an invasion! Well, USVI & PR are American, so it won’t look like an invasion; it’s the right thing to do. SeaBees can build the foundation to recover community centers, medical facilities & schools faster than any private builder. Our ships make water & power; drastically needed utilities.

    • SM3, Edwin “Tony” Roach

      When I was in the Navy 57′ to 61′, the USS Boxer LPH-4,spent a lot of time in the Caribbean. It was not uncommon for us to provide potable water and power to liberty ports we often visited. Like St. Thomas (US Virgin Islands).I don’t remember anyone squawking about it. Part of our job was to promote peace and goodwill.

      • Stephen

        1st & foremost, thank you for your service! We had 2 work details when we were stuck in Gitmo. We went to Haiti and did some work on Port facilities. The other was we built a community center on St Maarten, under the direction of SeaBees. I’ll bet that building survived Irma. We dug pits at the corners, placed a vertical I beam & filled with cement. Steel-frame with cinder blocks, painted gray with a blue & red roof. Shoulder-to-shoulder, we worked hard… Homeland & DOD need to coordinate & make this stuff happen. USVI & PR are Americans & need help.

        • SM3, Edwin “Tony” Roach

          We provided potable water by anchoring out in deep water, because we were a long hulled Essex Class, deep draft vessel,so we wouldn’t screw up our evaporators. You don’t want to suck up mud, sand and seaweed. LCU’s then came along side carrying large empty water tanks, which we filled with hoses. When full the LCU’s took them ashore for distribution. Getting power ashore was a different problem. Since we drew a lot of water we had to get pier side before getting an electrical cable connected to shore for power. Then we could light up a small city. Harbors with shallow water were out of luck, except for small draft ships that could get in. Maybe this will help motivate some one who knows how it can be done.

          • Stephen

            Subs could go in & provide the power. Water would need to be a relay-you guys figured that out. DDG or CG could go in for power & medical services. Construction teams under SeaBee oversight would be a snap. Navy/Marine/USCG would rise to this challenge. The pictures from St John are heart-breaking…

          • SM3, Edwin “Tony” Roach

            I pray someone goes for it ASAP. Now another hurricane is threatening.

          • SM3, Edwin “Tony” Roach

            As a Naval Academy Parent Alumni (94), one of my favorites at the Academy Chapel is “Eternal Father Strong To Save.” I dare someone with authority to take command of this situation.

          • Stephen

            Mayor Bloomberg has stepped up & organizing a relief chain. Southern Command needs to assign units to the USVI & PR.