The annual 2023 Gulf Inland Waterways Joint Hurricane Team Response Protocol Review was held on Thursday, May 25, 2023, at the Port of New Orleans.
Copies of the agency presentations from the 2023 Protocol Review meeting are located below:
BACKGROUND / HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE
The 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons devastated the Maritime Transportation System (MTS) along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW) and Lower Mississippi River (LMR) resulting in an unparalleled level of collaboration, coordination and cooperation between the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and inland marine industry to restore commerce. The experience gained in 2004 and 2005 bolstered the pre-existing relationships between the inland marine industry and the various federal and state partners with waterway management and oversight responsibilities during tropical weather events. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between the USACE, USCG, and the inland marine industry, via the Gulf Intracoastal Canal Association (GICA) and American Waterways Operators (AWO), to capture the spirit of cooperation developed during 2004 and 2005 and established the Gulf Coast Inland Waterways Joint Hurricane Team (JHT).
Early in 2006, the JHT reviewed and codified the hard-won lessons learned from 2004 and 2005 to ensure effective, consistent, safe, and expedient restoration of the inland MTS during future tropical weather events. Their efforts resulted in the development of the Gulf Coast Inland Waterways Joint Hurricane Response Protocol (a.k.a. the Protocol). The Protocol addresses the commercially navigable waters of the Lower Mississippi River below Baton Rouge, the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, and its tributaries. The Protocol is a living document, reviewed and updated, as needed, under the auspice of the JHT, annually.
GICA maintains the Protocol as the inland marine industry’s primary waterways management representative for the Gulf Coast. The President of GICA serves as Chair of the JHT, with Co-Chairs including an Eighth Coast Guard District representative and representatives from each USACE Gulf coast Districts. The Protocol includes a list of key industry, USACE, USCG and state agency personnel with direct responsibility for hurricane preparedness and response operations including the industry and agency points of contact who participate in the USCG led Port Coordination Team (PCT) and USACE led Navigation Restoration Team calls held pre- and post-storm.
The Protocol focuses on the working relationships, roles, and responsibilities, of the USCG, USACE, NOAA, states, and inland marine industry, partnering together, to safely and efficiently secure the waterways prior to storm landfall and safely restore them as quickly and efficiently as possible post-storm. The Protocol is intended to augment and NOT duplicate or supersede USCG and USACE hurricane response plans. Applicable portions of the Protocol may be included in hurricane plans maintained by federal, state and local partners.