This morning’s Sun Herald front page lead story was a bittersweet treat for me this morning to the point where I actually read the print story rather than the on line version which is my custom. (Mrs Sop insists on keeping the print edition coming to our doorstep) The subject matter is one that I am very familiar in the destruction caused by unsecured containers and break bulk cargo that was left on the port by the shipping companies. Today Anita Lee ties up all the loose ends from the past and tells us about the lessons learned response from the port’s management and it is there we begin:
The S.S. Camille bore witness to a hurricane’s formidable surge.
In 1969, Hurricane Camille beached the 72-foot tugboat north of U.S. 90 in Gulfport, not far from the state port. The property owners accepted nature’s bounty by setting up a souvenir shop beside the tug.
The men who managed emergency plans for the port and companies operating there frequently drove past the hurricane relic. They would later testify they saw no need to dwell on Camille’s ferocity or, if they were new to the area, to delve into the dynamics of storm surge at a port that sits over the water, 9 to 12 feet above sea level.
As a result, Katrina hurtled containers, trailers and paper rolls into the neighborhoods of West Gulfport and East Long Beach. They heightened the terror of residents who remained in their homes, equally unprepared for the storm’s savagery. Essentially, containers that weigh 3 1/2 tons empty to more than 26 tons loaded, along with 5,400-pound paper rolls, pounded like battering rams against structures already compromised by wind and water.
Lawsuits prompted by the damage ended badly for property owners, but their attorneys say Katrina reinforced lessons lost after the 1947 hurricane and Camille. Both of those storms forced the enormous paper rolls ashore, before containers became part of the operation.
Camille’s surge was around 20 feet at the port; Katrina’s was 22 1/2 feet. Continue reading “Ship for Brains Part Deux: Anita Lee reports on the new ‘safe harbor’ at the State Port of Gulfport”