Damage to cities catches the news cameras' attention. Damage to ship channels is overlooked, yet huge amounts of debris are washed offshore into the channels, navigation buoys washed away, sometimes even the floors of the shipping lanes are changed so that ships may run aground. After the storm this has to be repaired and cleaned up and re-charted to restore these lifelines to the cities.
The much-hallowed Private Sector isn't doing this. The National Ocean Service (NOS) is:
Immediately following a hurricane, NOS's Office of Coast Survey provides emergency hydrographic services for affected port areas. These services are performed by Navigation Response Teams (NRTs). These mobile emergency response units use echo sounders to check for shoaling and submerged obstructions that pose hazards to vessels, collect data to update nautical charts, and provide mapping support. The NRTs' work helps speed the re-opening of ports and waterways, allowing the flow of relief supplies, and enabling the resumption of ocean commerce—valued at more than $1 trillion annually to the nation's economy—to resume.Navigation for commercial shipping is one of the lifelines to the devastated areas after a disaster like this. NOS, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, works in conjunction with the Coast Guard (also not a Private Sector operation) to clear hazardous debris from the shipping channels, restore navigation aids, etc., so that lifeline gets back up as quickly as possible. Some examples:
On Oct. 31:
Oct. 31 Update: On Oct. 26, Coast Survey navigation response personnel and assets began moving to their initial positions...On Nov. 1:
New York / New Jersey: Restoring fuel flow into the New York area has been a top priority—but barge deliveries have been hampered by water borne obstructions that forced a partial closure of the port. NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson mobilized through the night to New York Harbor (see NOAA Chart 12327), where they began surveying at 3:12 a.m. this morning, looking for the sunken containers, debris, and shoaling that pose dangers to ships and lives...On Nov. 2:
Chesapeake: NOAA Ship Ferdinand Hassler completed their survey of deep draft ship channels in Chesapeake Channel and Thimble Shoal Channel, as 78 large vessels, including portions of the Navy's Atlantic Fleet, waited to transit through the entrance to Chesapeake Bay. NOAA R/V Bay Hydro II is working on their third day of surveying in the Hampton Roads area, checking channels needed by coal shipments and aircraft carriers at Norfolk...
Delaware: NOAA R/V Potawaugh mobilized yesterday to Lewes, Del., to survey for shoaling that may pose a risk to safe navigation for the Cape May–Lewes Ferry and other vessels.
Nov. 2 Update: Major navigation response operations are completed in Chesapeake Bay and Delaware Bay, although some additional hydrographic projects are still on Coast Survey's radar in the coming days.The whole page is worth reading. This is a government agency with expertise, emergency plans, and a full understanding of what a hurricane can do, and the ability to go fix it.
Work continues in the Port of New York/New Jersey. Two navigation response teams, and the Thomas Jefferson with two of her launches, are still clearing shipping channels and terminals.
Why the Obama campaign isn't publicizing this is beyond my understanding. This is precisely what a government does, if the preamble to the Constitution is to be believed: "...establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity..." I haven't noticed Private Sector support for anything but amassing wealth in private hands by trampling on the "general welfare" and liberty of the people. But the Obama administration is doing exactly what's necessary and right.