Friday, August 26, 2011

All Sortie Ships Underway in Preparation for Hurricane Irene

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109), left, and USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81) depart Naval Station Norfolk ahead of Hurricane Irene. Vice Adm. Daniel Holloway, commander of U.S. 2nd Fleet, ordered all ships in the Hampton Roads area to set Sortie Condition Alpha. Ships in the area are departing the area early Thursday morning, Aug. 25. Irene's current track indicates it will pass off the North Carolina and Virginia coasts late Saturday as a Category 3 hurricane. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Rafael Martie/Released)

Blog Editor Note: I have heard Navy traffic from the ships underway on 4372.0 kHz USB yesterday as the ships departed NORVA. That tri-graph traffic continued into the evening hours.

NORFOLK (NNS) -- All U.S. Navy ships in Hampton Roads, Va., ordered to get underway Aug. 25, have sortied in preparation for Hurricane Irene.

Twenty-seven ships departed and will be clear of the storm's path by midday Aug. 27.

These ships will rendezvous with 11 other ships that remain at sea.

Twenty-eight additional ships were taken to safe haven for various reasons, such as being in a particular maintenance status that does not allow them to get underway. Safe havens are predesignated piers that offer better protection against weather than a general pier.

Vice Adm. Daniel Holloway, commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet, said that the decision to sortie the ships from Hampton Roads is based on Hurricane Irene's current track that indicates the storm will produce at least 50 knots of wind and a five to seven foot storm surge, which meets the critiera for getting the fleet underway to avoid storm damage.

"We are being prudent mariners, getting our ships underway so that they can better weather Hurricane Irene" said Holloway. "This will be a significant storm, so not only do we need to keep our ships safe but also our families. With the forecasted destructive winds and tidal surge, we could see some significant damage here on land. Now is the time for our families to execute the plan they prepared for. Now is the time, before the storm hits."