NEW ORLEANS—As the 2020 hurricane season continues, the U.S. Border Patrol - New Orleans Sector now has new emergency response and rescue operations capabilities.
The sector received nine Surface Drive Vessels in June to conduct flood rescue operations. The vessels are outboard engine driven, and come in two different sizes that are
designed to traverse shallow waters in various environmental conditions at varying speeds. They can hold up to eight people, and can be deployed throughout the country for operations such as rescues, transporting sand bags, and delivering supplies to stranded people during a flood.
“These vessels will better equip us to assist our local law enforcement partners in rescue efforts during emergency situations,” said U.S. Border Patrol New Orleans Sector Acting Chief Patrol Agent Michael Harrison. “Having been involved in many hurricane rescue operations, I can confirm that one of the most valuable pieces of equipment to have is an SDV.”
Special Operations Supervisor (SOS) Marcus Adkinson, who coordinates this new capability, added that the new vessels will enhance the sector’s capability to communicate with other rescue teams and increase response times to help the affected communities during flooding.
“New Orleans Sector realized after Hurricane Katrina and the many other natural disasters over the past decade that CBP needed the ability to safeguard the workforce and assist the community in times of need,” he explained. “While there are mechanisms in place to bring in resources and rescue teams from other areas, the SDV Crews will be able to respond much quicker than in the past. In addition, the SDV Crews are familiar with the terrain and communities, thus making the rescue efforts much easier.”
New Orleans Sector is the first USBP sector to receive these new vessels, which will be strategically located between Mobile, AL and Lake Charles, LA. Similar vessels have been used in recovery operations during Hurricanes Florence and Harvey by other sectors, such as Del Rio and Laredo in Texas.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between official ports of entry. CBP is charged with securing the borders of the United States while enforcing hundreds of laws and facilitating lawful trade and travel.