Local Coast Guard ready to help in New York, New Jersey

New LondonCoast Guard Station New London has not sent anyone to New York or New Jersey to help reopen the port but is ready to help if needed.

“We are on standby in case they need us,” Machinery Technician Second Class Jason Weaver, the officer of the day, said Thursday.

Two members of the station did bring a 100-kilowatt generator from the Coast Guard Academy to Fire Island, N.Y., on Wednesday, Weaver added. Coast Guard Station Fire Island, which lost power, is using the generator.

They are also helping firefighters throughout the region pump out basements and hand out supplies, and they ensured that all of the area’s aids to navigation were in place after the hurricane.

Coast Guard leaders surveyed the New Jersey coastline, New York Harbor and Long Island on Wednesday to assess the damage. The Coast Guard shut down the port of New York and New Jersey as a precaution and partially reopened it Thursday for fuel deliveries.

“The port of New York and New Jersey is vital to our nation’s economy and we are doing everything humanly possible to get the port back to full operations,” Vice Adm. Robert C. Parker, the Atlantic Area commander, said in a statement. “This is an all-hands-on-deck evolution.”

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano was in Connecticut Thursday to meet with state and local officials and view the ongoing response and recovery efforts. She then traveled to New York.

“We appreciate the secretary’s attention to Connecticut and other states experiencing flooding, power outages and other hardships due to Hurricane Sandy,” Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., said in a statement.

“As the department’s leader, Secretary Napolitano oversees FEMA, which has been so instrumental in helping communities up and down the eastern seaboard prepare for and recover from the storm.”

Meanwhile the Defense Department is airlifting equipment, including several types of trucks and a mobile command center, from southern California to New York.

The Navy is moving the USS Wasp, the USS San Antonio and the USS Carter Hall toward the northeast in case they are needed and about 10,000 Army and Air National Guard forces are on duty supporting the governors in 13 eastern seaboard states, including Connecticut.

j.mcdermott@theday.com




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