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The U.S. Coast Guard is continuing to assess damage and environmental threats across Southeast Louisiana more than a week after Hurricane Ida’s landfall.
The Coast Guard said it continues to prioritize nearly 350 reported incidents for further investigation by state, local, and federal authorities in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.
Coast Guard crews from across the nation, including the National Strike Force, Unmanned Aircraft System Teams, and personnel from Coast Guard Sector New Orleans and Marine Safety Unit Houma, have deployed throughout Southeastern Louisiana to conduct hazard assessments in order to identify and prioritize threats to the environment and navigable waterways.
The assessments are essential to ensuring waterways are safe for marine traffic and ensuring that potential pollution hazards are expeditiously identified and mitigated.
On Sunday, the Coast Guard conducted overflights that focused on two locations previously identified for further investigation. A Coast Guard HC-144 flew over Bay Marchand, south of Port Fourchon, Louisiana, and the Enterprise Offshore Drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico, in a continued effort to track and monitor any threats they may pose to the environment. Coast Guard crews observed no active discharge at the Bay Marchand site or near the Enterprise site.
However, during the flight, it was discovered that a wellhead belonging to S2 Energy was discharging oil approximately five miles away from the Bay Marchand site. The S2 Energy facility reports they have since secured the wellhead and it is no longer discharging oil. S2 Energy has contracted an Oil Spill Response Organization to boom the area in order to mitigate the spread and collect any recoverable product.
The Coast Guard said the impacted area is approximately 100-yards long by 100-yard wide. Estimates of release are yet to be determined.
More than 80% of oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico remained shut-in after Hurricane Ida as of Monday, according to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE). The agency’s Hurricane Response Team is continuing monitoring offshore oil and gas operators in the Gulf as they return to platforms and rigs after the storm.
Based on data from offshore operator reports submitted as of 11:30 CDT Monday, personnel remained evacuated from a total of 99 production platforms, representing 17.68 percent of the 560 manned platforms in the Gulf of Mexico; five non-dynamically positioned rigs, equivalent to 45.45 percent in the region; and three dynamically positioned rigs remain off location, representing 20 percent of the 15 DP rigs currently operating in the Gulf.
The Coast Guard captain-of-the-port, New Orleans, Capt. Will Watson, opened the Lower Mississippi River to all vessel traffic in New Orleans and key ports in the region on Friday.
“Working alongside key federal, state, parish, city and maritime industry leaders, we’ve made significant progress reconstituting ports and waterways throughout Southeast Louisiana,” said Watson. “The marine transportation system in this region connects our heartland’s harvest with global markets and provides vital energy supply to our Nation. We continue to support the State of Louisiana as we collectively recover from the impacts of Hurricane Ida.”
An update from the Coast Guard on Tuesday said it has assessed 826 reports of pollution made to the National Response Center (NRC) to date since the storm. Of the 826 reports, there are:
“Coast Guard teams throughout the area are working overtime to respond to every report that comes in,” said Capt. Kristi Luttrell, Federal On-Scene Coordinator for the Coast Guard’s Hurricane Ida response. “We take each report seriously and are responding to ensure we mitigate threats to the environment.”
Port conditions change based on weather forecasts, and current port conditions can be viewed on the following Coast Guard homeport webpages:
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