CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — On Friday, The Port of Corpus Christi and the United States Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi conducted Port CC Prepared 2023, a full-scale exercise to enhance maritime preparedness.
The exercise was held for two days at the entrance to the Inner Harbor of the Corpus Christi Ship Channel. With efforts of more than fifty federal, state and local agencies and organizations, the crews operated an entire response assessment to practice for an actual emergency.
The Port of Corpus Christi Chief Operating Officer Clark Robertson said the operation was the most complex kind of exercises crews could’ve pulled off. He believed there are two important aspects of the operation that all agencies must improve on.
“When these kind of events happen, it’s largely about cooperation and communication," Robertson said. "It’s cooperation between all of the different agencies that have to respond to this and it’s communication protocols and how effective those parties communicate with each other that are probably the two most critical things."
There were several community volunteers that participated for rescue response crews. The simulation included a harbor tour vessel which collided with a commercial barge resulting in a fire and the sinking of a tour boat.
With rescue operations becoming more frequent nationwide, the Coast Guard said it's crucial to stay aware of how environments can change in the matter of seconds.
“As the operations in the port changes, it’s important to reflect on what our contingency planing efforts are there and what our resources are. Then to frequently test those capabilities out to make sure that what we say we’re going to be able to do in our plans is the same as what we’re actually able to do on the water," U.S. Coast Guard Commander Sector Corpus Christi Captain Jason Gunning said.
The cultivation of the training exercise began back in 2020, but crews began preparing eight months ago. It's just one of the many proactive stances towards keeping waterways secure.
"If we don’t train, if we don’t practice, we’re just not going to be ready when the real thing comes," Robertson said.
The hope with these agencies is to continue saving lives and provide constant protection to the community.