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October 19, 2006

Contact: Teresa Christopher
NOAA Office of Coast Survey
(240) 205-0471


Department of Commerce deputy secretary David Sampson joined officials from NOAA's Office of Coast Survey today in officially presenting the newest navigation chart of the Port of Lake Charles and Calcasieu Ship Channel to the Port of Lake Charles. The new NOAA chart of the port and ship channel supports the region's growing energy industry by providing critical navigational information and will increase the safety in moving large ships and critical cargoes through the port.

As the 12th largest port in the United States, the Port of Lake Charles and Calcasieu Ship Channel is experiencing rapid growth with increased use of the waterway and port facilities each year with over half of the nation's liquefied natural gas entering through the port as well as nearly five percent of all motor fuels used in the United States. In 2005 the port handled more than 58 million tons of cargo.

"NOAA navigational charts are produced as part of our efforts to increase the safety in the marine transportation industry," said Sampson. "Ports like Lake Charles are extremely important to the United States economy because of the role they play in facilitating waterborne commerce which contributes more than $742 billion to the United States gross domestic product and creates employment for more than 13 million citizens."

Accepting the new NOAA chart on behalf of the port were Mark Abraham, president of the Port of Lake Charles Commission, and David Wagoner, director of navigational services for the Port of Lake Charles. Also on hand were port officials, representatives of the Lake Charles pilots association, and other members of the port community. 

The three-year effort to develop this new navigation resource included the users and industries at the port and along the Calcasieu Ship Channel allowing NOAA to ensure that critical user needs were addressed.  The chart will be especially useful to deep draft vessels that utilize the channel, commercial fishing and shrimping vessels integral to the region's economy, as well as recreational boaters.

"Up-to-date navigation information is vital to marine commerce," said Captain Steven Barnum, director of NOAA's Office of Coast Survey.  "The development and publication of this new chart is a reflection of our commitment to serve the increasing demands of the nation for additional products and services necessary to support the marine transportation system."

The new chart is available as a paper product, in a print-on-demand format, and is also available through NOAA's E-Chart service where it can be used with GPS technology.  NOAA's Office of Coast Survey supports the nation's commerce and transportation activities with a diverse array of products and services in surveying, charting, responding to navigation and port emergencies and in the creation and publication of new and updated charts to serve the nation.

In 2007 the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, celebrates 200 years of science and service to the nation.  From the establishment of the Survey of the Coast in 1807 by Thomas Jefferson to the formation of the Weather Bureau and the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries in the 1870s, much of America's scientific heritage is rooted in NOAA. 

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 60 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.

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