Small Unmanned Systems Used in Response to Hurricane Sally

Below is a news release from the Eighth district. The thing I found surprising, was that in the video below, it reports that three USCG drone pilots flew 95 flights totaling 16 hours and 34 minutes (about 10.5 minutes per flight). You will see some of the drone video below. Above is a better look at the equipment being used.

united states coast guard

 

Video Release

U.S. Coast Guard 8th District Heartland
Contact: 8th District Public Affairs
Office: 504-671-2020
After Hours: 618-225-9008
Eighth District online newsroom

Coast Guard ends 37-day response to Hurricane Sally aftermath on Gulf Coast

This video highlights the Coast Guard's role in marine environmental response operations after Hurricane Sally. Hurricane Sally made landfall in Alabama on Sept. 16, 2020. Coast Guard video by Petty Officer 2nd Class Edward Wargo 

Editors’ Note: Click on image to download high-resolution version.

MOBILE, Ala. — The Coast Guard Sector Mobile Incident Command has concluded a 37-day coordinated response effort to Hurricane Sally along the Gulf Coast, Thursday.

Many parts of Alabama and the Florida Panhandle sustained damage during Hurricane Sally when it made landfall September 16th as a Category 2 hurricane. Since then, 1,132 vessels have been assessed for potential pollution threat to the environment. All sources of pollutants have been mitigated and contractors continue to conduct salvage operations in Escambia, Santa Rosa, and Baldwin Counties. 

The Coast Guard federal on-scene coordinator and the state on-scene coordinator from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection coordinated efforts to remove weathered oil, discovered on a half-mile area of Johnson Beach, Florida, in consultation with Federal Trustees:

  • Department of Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service
  • National Park Service

The impacted area was located on federally designated, critical habitat and marine protected areas as well as being designated as culturally significant to federally recognized tribes.

Coast Guard Sector Mobile Sally Marine Environmental Response (MER) partnered with wildlife response specialists to save the life of a brown pelican. It was found heavily oiled at Day Break Marina in Pensacola, Florida. After a three-week rehabilitation process, it was safely released into the Northwest Florida Wildlife Sanctuary.

“The Coast Guard concluded its response to Hurricane Sally well ahead of our anticipated timeline, ” said Cmdr. Kelly Thorkilson, Coast Guard Hurricane Sally MER incident commander. “Coast Guard members deployed from across the nation, collaborated with our partner agencies, and quickly integrated new technologies which greatly enhanced frontline operations resulting in a more efficient response.” 

There were 148 Coast Guard responders whose combined efforts totaled an estimated 17,630 work hours. Members managed logistics, resources, and operations including; vessel assessments and facilitating the deployment of 11,650 feet of containment boom. Additionally, three drone pilots flew a total of 95 unmanned aerial system flights to pinpoint pollution along the Gulf Coast. 

Any additional pollution incidents should be reported to the National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802.

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