Southern Currents 13-011.pdf

SUBJECT: Customs and Border Protection’s Preparation for Tropical Storm Karen

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is part of the Department of Homeland Security’s federal response to Tropical Storm Karen. CBP remains in close contact with the United States Coast Guard and other state and local entities regarding the tropical storm.

At this time, all CBP Office of Field Operations locations in the state of Louisiana remain open for business. We do not anticipate any office closures at this time but will continue to monitor the storm’s path and will notify all concerned parties if this status changes.

CBP anticipates inquiries about the status of port operations at the ports of New Orleans, Gramercy and Morgan City. In New Orleans, our point of contact for trade issues is Assistant Port Director Merlin Hymel at (504) 670-2088 or via blackberry at (504) 274-7531 or If any vessel or crew or passenger issues arise as a result of the storm, we are requesting that the trade community contact the local CBP office as soon possible. In New Orleans, please contact Assistant Port Director, Tactical, Mark Choina at (504) 670-2287 or via blackberry at (504) 270-5692 or For issues arising in the port of Gramercy, please contact Acting Port Director Tabitha Casimier at (225) 869-3765 or via Blackberry at (504) 252-2849 or For issues arising in the port of Morgan City, please contact Port Director Michael Hebert at (985) 632-8182 or via Blackberry at (985) 397-1875 or

Vessel Entrances and Clearances: At this time there is no plan to close the CBP Marine Division. CBP is operating under normal procedures for vessel foreign and coastwise entrances, as well as vessel foreign and coastwise clearances.

Vessel Departures: A blanket delay in departure will be granted if pilots cease operations at the MS River SWP in light of TS Karen. The blanket delay in departure provides up to 72 hours for a vessel to depart the Port after CBP clearance has been granted. Under a blanket delay in departure there is no reason to contact the Marine Division to request a delay in departure. Vessels should attempt to depart within the 72 hours provided.

In the event that a vessel departure is delayed beyond 72 hours the vessel should notify the Marine Division which granted clearance to cancel and surrender the original clearance.

  • Saturdays, Sundays and holidays count when calculating the 48 or 72 hours for vessel departures.
  • If the Gramercy or Baton Rouge Marine Division is closed, coordinate the delay in departure with the New Orleans Marine Division.

CBP will continue to update the trade community and public on the Tropical Strom Karen’s impact on shipping as needed. If you have any additional questions please contact me at (504) 670-2179.