CFAY Port Ops Team Braves Typhoon to Keep Waterfront Safe


Story Number: NNS190925-09Release Date: 9/25/2019 11:06:00 AM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tyler Fraser, Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka Public Affairs

YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- Typhoon Faxai made landfall east of Tokyo bringing heavy rain and winds of 99 miles per hour to Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka (CFAY) Sept. 9.

The typhoon’s path passed directly over the base damaging cars, buildings, portions of a seawall, and uprooting multiple trees. Despite the damage to infrastructure, CFAY and the tenant commands sustained no injuries to personnel.

As the typhoon made landfall, a team of Sailors from CFAY’s Port Operations were tasked with making routine rounds of the piers, ensuring piers were clear of debris and that all ships in port were moored correctly to withstand the strong winds.

“The conditions were life threatening for hours but these highly-skilled Sailors were well prepared and they recognized the hazards immediately,” said Cmdr. Antonio Matos, CFAY’s port operations officer. “I watched them work calmly together to prevent several serious mishaps from occurring under the extreme time constraints of ships parting multiple lines.”

Three of CFAY’s Port Operations Sailors described the storm from their positions as dock masters.

“Rounds were continually conducted; this consisted of checking every pier, ship, brow, line and other assets that we have,” said Boatswains Mate Petty Officer 2nd Class Christie Welter. “As damage was found, it was recorded and called in so that cleanup crews would know where to go when it was safe to do so.”

As the storm grew in intensity, the ships mooring lines began to snap and tugs were dispatched to the ships to replace the lines that had been broken.

“We had three ships and a berthing barge snap mooring lines,” said Boatswains Mate Petty Officer 2nd Class Jessica Guzman. “We were dispatched to assist in getting the ships another mooring line, to stay alongside, and to tighten down lines.”

The Sailors who were dispatched to assist the ships said the typhoon presented many challenges.

“The biggest challenge is the wind,” said Boatswains Mate Petty Officer 2nd Class Eric Wade. “Without the help of the tugs, the wind would make correcting line tension impossible.”

Guzman also said that the wind made helping the ships difficult.

“I had to be out in [very high] winds and deal with the wind hitting my face,” said Guzman. “The rain felt like shards of glass hitting the skin.”

CFAY Port Operations Sailors said great concentration was needed to accomplish the mission.

“Ships lines would part at seemingly any moment; that night I personally saw four lines part,” said Welter. “I overcame my fear by focusing on the task at hand but also keeping my head on a swivel and staying as safe as possible.”

The Sailors who assisted the ships during the typhoon said it was their teamwork that allowed them to overcome the challenges faced that night.

“One person could not have done anything on their own,” said Welter. “The two-man integrity during the typhoon helped with safety and completing the challenges as they came up.”

Matos said he was proud of the accomplishments of his team and their ability to overcome obstacles.

“They put in maximum effort before, during and after the typhoon to keep the waterfront safe,” added Matos. “I could not be more proud of such a great team!”

CFAY provides, maintains, and operates base facilities and services in support of the U.S. 7th Fleet's forward-deployed naval forces, 71 tenant commands, and more than 27,000 military and civilian personnel and their families.

Typhoon Faxai made landfall east of Tokyp bringing heavy rain and winds of 99 miles per hour to Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka (CFAY) Sept. 9.

The typhoon’s path passed directly over the base damaging cars, buildings, portions of a seawall, and uprooting multiple trees. Despite the damage, CFAY sustained no injuries to personnel.

As the typhoon made landfall, a team of Sailors from CFAY’s Port Operations were tasked with making routine rounds of the piers, ensuring piers were clear of debris and that all ships in port were moored correctly to withstand the strong winds.

“The conditions were life threatening for hours but these highly-skilled Sailors were well prepared and they recognized the hazards immediately,” said Cmdr. Antonio Matos, CFAY’s port operations officer. “I watched them work calmly together to prevent several serious mishaps from occurring under the extreme time constraints of ships parting multiple lines.”

Three of CFAY’s Port Operations Sailors described the storm from their positions as dock masters.

“Rounds were continually conducted; this consisted of checking every pier, ship, brow, line and other assets that we have,” said Boatswains Mate Petty Officer 2nd Class Christie Welter. “As damage was found, it was recorded and called in so that cleanup crews would know where to go when it was safe to do so.”

As the storm grew in intensity, the ships mooring lines began to snap and tugs were dispatched to the ships to replace the lines that had been broken.

“We had three ships and a berthing barge snap mooring lines,” said Boatswains Mate Petty Officer 2nd Class Jessica Guzman. “We were dispatched to assist in getting the ships another mooring line, to stay alongside, and to tighten down lines.”

The Sailors who were dispatched to assist the ships said the typhoon presented many challenges.

“The biggest challenge is the wind,” said Boatswains Mate Petty Officer 2nd Class Eric Wade. “Without the help of the tugs, the wind would make correcting line tension impossible.”

Guzman also said that the wind made helping the ships difficult.

“I had to be out in [very high] winds and deal with the wind hitting my face,” said Guzman. “The rain felt like shards of glass hitting the skin.”

CFAY Port Operations Sailors said great concentration was needed to accomplish the mission.

“Ships lines would part at seemingly any moment; that night I personally saw four lines part,” said Welter. “I overcame my fear by focusing on the task at hand but also keeping my head on a swivel and staying as safe as possible.”

The Sailors who assisted the ships during the typhoon said it was their teamwork that allowed them to overcome the challenges faced that night.

“One person could not have done anything on their own,” said Welter. “The two-man integrity during the typhoon helped with safety and completing the challenges as they came up.”

Matos said he was proud of the accomplishments of his team and their ability to overcome obstacles.

“They put in maximum effort before, during and after the typhoon to keep the waterfront safe,” added Matos. “I could not be more proud of such a great team!”

CFAY provides, maintains, and operates base facilities and services in support of the U.S. 7th Fleet's forward-deployed naval forces, 71 tenant commands, and more than 27,000 military and civilian personnel and their families.

 

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For more news from Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka, visit www.navy.mil/local/cfay/.

 
RELATED PHOTOS
CFAY Port Ops Team Braves Typhoon to Keep Waterfront Safe
190924-N-HH215-1011 YOKOSUKA, Japan (Sept. 24, 2019) " Cmdr. Antonio Matos (far left), Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka (CFAY) port operations officer and dock masters from CFAY port operations department pose for a group photo in front of the Valiant-class harbor tug Puyallup (YT'806). CFAY port operations dock masters were responsible for keeping the CFAY waterfront safe during Typhoon Faxai. CFAY provides, maintains, and operates base facilities and services in support of U.S. 7th Fleet's forward-deployed naval forces, 71 tenant commands, 27,000 military and civilian personnel and families. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tyler R. Fraser/Released)
September 24, 2019
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