Information Provided by LCDR Rob Wyman, Coast Guard Atlantic Area Public Affairs
The Coast Guard Maritime Transportation System Recovery Unit (MTSRU) was created in 2006, after the United States Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 required the National Maritime Transportation Security Plan to include a system to restore cargo flow following a national transportation security incident. Lessons learned on recovery issues following significant disruption of maritime transportation during Hurricane Katrina played a role in the formation of the unit.
The mission of the MTSRU is not new for the Coast Guard, just the formal creation of a specialized unit. MTSRU is comprised of experts in maritime mobility, incident response and port operations who work with stakeholders to restore the commercial capacity of a waterway following a natural or manmade disruption.
The 11-person MTSRU was dispatched to Haiti to provide planning and expertise needed to open Haiti’s ports and allow an adequate and sustainable flow of supplies for relief and rebuilding after the devastating 7.0 earthquake that struck Port-Au-Prince on Jan. 12, 2010.
The MTSRU has the job of informing decision makers and other stakeholders at all levels on maritime transportation following disruption. They work to support recovery efforts and ensure recovery is a critical element of planning at all levels. MTSRU members also identify communication mechanisms and informational requirements to facilitate the recovery of waterway traffic flow.
MTSRU is a unit of the planning section of the Incident Command System and is established for every incident that significantly disrupts the maritime transportation system.
The MTSRU was successfully used in the Port of Houston-Galveston to open that critical waterway following the hurricanes that hit the Gulf Coast in 2008.
UPDATE: Head over to the iCommandant blog to read more about the MTSRU, including a guest post from the team currently working in Haiti.