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    Naval Base San Diego Port Operations Keeps the Pacific Fleet Moving

    NBSD Port Ops Keeps the Pacific Fleet Moving

    Photo By Petty Officer 2nd Class Austin Haist | 200416-N-MJ716-0048 NAVAL BASE SAN DIEGO (April 16, 2020) Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class...... read more read more



    Story by Petty Officer 2nd Class Austin Haist 

    Naval Base San Diego

    As the world adjusts to dealing with complications caused by the coronavirus pandemic known as COVID-19, so must the United States Navy. With 58 homeported ships at Naval Base San Diego (NBSD), the port operations (Port Ops) team continues to support the base’s waterfront mission.

    “Even with COVID-19 going on, you can see why what we are doing is essential,” said NBSD’s Waterfront Operations Officer Lt. Cmdr. Yvonne Mercadel. “As long as the fleet is operating, we have to support them and provide everything the ships need,” she said.

    Port Ops has their hands in every operation on the base’s waterfront. Ship and barge movements, spill recovery, booming operations and waterfront cleanliness all depend upon the Sailors and civilians that make daily operations possible. Even with the applications of social distancing, protective cleanliness measures and altered duty sections, NBSD Port Ops remains flexible to support the fleet.

    COVID-19 has introduced unique challenges for Port Ops and potential problems were identified during the early stages of the spread of the virus. When ships pull into port, they require the aid of a tugboat team, and effectively operating the tugboats requires communication from members of the tugboat team who are temporarily embarked on the ship. With only a limited number of qualified tugboat captains and pilots, precautions to protect their health went into effect early on.

    “Social distancing is difficult on a ship,” said NBSD Chief Pilot Lou Castaganola. “Before anything even officially came down, we were wearing gloves and masks to protect ourselves.”

    Ships have implemented cleaning protocols before embarking harbor pilots to help prevent the spread of the virus. Teamwork, adaptation, and flexibility are core values that have been key in dealing with the challenges presented by COVID-19.

    “It gives me a sense of pride when I see fellow Sailors and government employees coming to work to perform essential tasks to support the fleet,” said Mercadel.

    In addition to the civilian crews, the Sailors of Port Ops are also working with mitigation measures in place, such as altered duty sections to minimize the number of people in work spaces, assisting with ship movements, responding to accidents and emergencies and conducting daily upkeep of the waterfront. As long as these needs exist, the Sailors assigned to Port Ops are ready to flexibly meet them.

    “I think the team has been doing very well adjusting to our new schedule, we have been able to get the workloads done with the help of our sister sections while on duty,” said Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class Justin Gomez, a coxswain and oil spill response supervisor at NBSD Port Ops, Liquid Cargo Division and a Novato, California native. “I feel like everyone is doing a good job at following the measures and precautions we’ve been instructed to follow during this time,” he said.

    NBSD is homeport to about one third of the surface ships in the Pacific Fleet including amphibious assault ships, littoral combat ships, destroyers, cruisers and mine countermeasure ships.



    Date Taken: 04.22.2020
    Date Posted: 04.22.2020 16:50
    Story ID: 368175
    Location: SAN DIEGO, CA, US 

    Web Views: 161
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