Yesterday, on the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Issac (seen in the satellite image) hit the U.S. Gulf Coast, home to Trinity Yachts’ two megayacht facilities. Both shipyards have emerged with little or no damage.
Isaac had Category 1 strength winds when it hit New Orleans, Louisiana, where Trinity Yachts’ first yard lies. Isaac’s power was slightly less, having that of a tropical storm, when it hit Gulfport, Mississippi, a bit farther to the east. Gulfport is where the second Trinity Yachts facility is located.
The area in New Orleans near Trinity’s first yard sustained an 11-foot storm surge. New floodgates kept it from impacting the city. As for the shipyard itself, the management reports about a foot and a half of water came over the bulkheads, but did not cause damage. There was some damage to roof panels over a covered wetslip, though no megayacht was in that slip. The 164-foot Mia Elise was on site, moored due to some refit work, but her captain and crew say she emerged unscathed.
The Gulfport area, meanwhile, sustained a nine-foot storm surge. Trinity’s management team says nothing at the yard was damaged, nor were any of the yachts or other vessels there. (The facility constructs military and commercial vessels as well as megayachts.)
Craftspeople will return to work at Trinity Yachts’ Gulfport yard on Friday, August 31. The New Orleans yard (pictured) will reopen on Monday, September 3.
In advance of Hurricane Isaac, many media were making comparisons with Katrina, mostly due to the timing and Katrina’s severity, as it was among the deadliest and most destructive of all time. Katrina was a Category 3 hurricane when it made landfall in Louisiana in 2005 and essentially barreled through the region, with winds of 100 mph and higher. However, Isaac was larger, much slower moving, and meandering, even stalling over the region at one point on Wednesday. Isaac began battering the Gulf Coast on Tuesday afternoon, first as a tropical storm and then a Category 1 hurricane, the latter with winds of 80 mph.
The main problem has been the rain—lots of it. According to weather.com, 7.86 inches of rain fell on Wednesday alone in New Orleans, a new daily record. (For comparison, the average monthly rainfall in August in New Orleans is 5.98.) As for Gulfport, 9.59 inches of rain had fallen as of Wednesday. Due to Isaac’s snail-like pace, as of 3 pm East Coast time today, an additional 12 to 18 inches of rain were expected in southern Mississippi and parts of Louisiana through to tomorrow.
The rain has been causing significant flooding in some parts of the Gulf Coast, but Trinity’s two yards, as stated above, were fine. The New Orleans facility is benefiting from the new Seabrook Floodgate Complex, which opened in July. The floodgates are located at the mouth of the Industrial Canal at Lake Pontchartrain; Trinity’s property lies along the canal. (On a related side note, Trinity’s 164-foot Wheels was the first private vessel to pass through the gates.) Trinity’s shipyard, which dates back 70 years and is where the famed Higgins landing craft of World War II were made, is now officially within the Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System. For some perspective, consider that Katrina pushed a 20-foot-high storm surge into New Orleans and had 100-mph-plus winds. It flooded Trinity’s facility with several feet of water, ripped off portions of the roofs, and more.
The Gulfport facility, meanwhile, was fine following Katrina—though it wasn’t Trinity’s property until shortly thereafter. It was a defunct shipbuilding site for VT Halter Marine, which in an interesting twist was Trinity’s initial parent company. Trinity’s partners acquired it and moved all operations there from New Orleans until the New Orleans yard could be repaired. Given the larger size and capacity of the Gulfport yard, the management team decided to keep both yards for new construction, refit, and more.