In the wake of Hurricane Maria, CBP is responding to the call for support and aid. Locating and assisting employees and others affected by the storm remains CBP’s top priority.
Air and Marine Operations (AMO) is shuttling several P-3 aircraft between Miami and Puerto Rico, bringing in gas cans and supplies and then returning with evacuating employees and their families. The P-3s are from the National Air Security Operations Center, Jacksonville, and the National Air Security Operations Center Corpus Christi. Aircraft from the Miami Air and Marine Branch are also involved in the relief.
P-3 aircraft are also relaying communications and coordinating air traffic.
Bringing a human touch to the calamity, one CBP P-3 pilot purchased toys for the children returning on his aircraft. Before leaving Jacksonville yesterday pilot Ken Caves packed a bag of toys for the kids, reasoning the toys may help them relax. “They’re leaving everything behind and getting on an aircraft and going to a city they know nothing about,” he said. “There’s lots of upheaval.” For all the evacuees on board, Caves brought along chicken, rice and beans. “We thought a little home cooking would be nice,” Caves said.
On the ground, CBP Special Response Teams are working to account for employees. As of Sunday morning, 654 the 678 CBP employees in Puerto Rico have been located, according to Dario Lugo, CBP Emergency Operations Center manager, located in Washington, D.C.
Fuel shortages have created more demand for security. Arrangements are being made to guard fuel depots and escort fuel trucks to their destinations, according to CBP Officer Christian Miranda, program manager, Admissibility Review Office. “Drivers are reluctant to drive alone considering the conditions,” he said.
CBP has also engaged cruise ships to bring supplies to the island and return to Miami with CBP evacuees. Tanker ships will transport fuel, Miranda noted. “Ships can bring in so much more fuel.”
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 the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.