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As we navigate the uncharted waters of this global pandemic, I want to express my gratitude to Galveston Wharves board, staff, business partners and representatives from local, state and federal entities who have joined forces to keep everyone safe and the waterfront working.
The Port of Galveston is critical to the U.S., state and local economies. While cruise sailings have been voluntarily suspended since March 13, the waterfront remains busy with cargo shipments, lay ship services, infrastructure construction, tenant operations and other business activities.
Our No. 1 focus has and will remain the health and safety of everyone on the waterfront. That’s why we proactively organized a multi-agency infectious disease tabletop exercise on March 2. As a result, we have an active Infectious Disease Response Team representing more than a dozen federal, state and local entities to help us with COVID-19 preparedness, prevention and response.
These team members have provided invaluable guidance, recommendations and resources during this fast-evolving situation as we work together to set and implement effective policies and practices to keep everyone safe.
Relying on the Experts
The U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Galveston County Health District, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection have absolute authority during any public health incident, including infectious diseases. These agencies dictate the protocols, and the port follows them.
The U.S. Coast Guard has maritime regulatory and enforcement authority over ports, waterways and coastal security. Their duties range from issuing orders to monitoring crew and cargo movements.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is the ultimate guide for the policies and procedures that the Coast Guard and all of us follow to protect our workers and the communities.
The Galveston County Health District is another vital resource, educating and advising us on the latest developments in the virus spread and current prevention measures.
Another member of our Infectious Disease Response Team, The University of Texas Medical Branch, plays a critical role by providing medical emergency management guidance as we plan responses. We also coordinate with other local entities including the city of Galveston and Galveston County.
As a recent example, these organizations coordinated with the port, cruise industry, stevedores and others to establish procedures to protect public health while the cruise line companies transported healthy crew members off of cruise ships and to their home countries.
Keeping the Port Running
Everyone who works on the waterfront plays an essential role in keeping commerce moving, but I particularly want to recognize the Galveston-Texas City Pilots and the International Longshoremen’s Association. Both have implemented stringent safety procedures in an effort to keep their workers safe while they keep the port running.
Finally, I want to recognize everyone on the Galveston Wharves staff. Many are diligently working from home to stay safe, while our Galveston Wharves Police and Security, Construction and Maintenance, and other essential personnel continue to work on the waterfront while taking protective measures. I’m extremely proud of how we have all worked together in these challenging times.
Find details and resources click on the link https://www.portofgalveston.com/AlertCenter.aspx?AID=Coronavirus-COVID-19-for-latest-updates--52