Port of Corpus Christi
Corpus Christi was designated as a new strategic port in December 1997 to replace Galveston as a Gulf strategic seaport. Corpus Christi held a loadout exercise on 20 June 1997 in conjunction with the arrival of the German military vessel M/V GERMANIA. The exercise provided an opportunity to update explosive loading supervision procedures and to examine waterways management issues. On 30 January 1998, the Coast Guard, FBI, Navy EOD, Port of Corpus Christi, Corpus Christi Police Department, and the Refinery Terminal Fire Company teamed up for TTX THREAT 98. The exercise was designed to test a multi-agency response to a maritime terrorist incident, which in this case was a simulated bomb threat on a commercial tankship in the port.
The Port of Corpus Christi is a strategic deployment seaport for U.S. military forces. As an enhancement of that role, the Port of Corpus Christi Authority (PCCA) proposes a partnership between the Port and the Department of Defense to develop and construct a Surge Sealift Homeport on Corpus Christi Bay at a port owned site immediately adjacent to the U.S. Naval Station Ingleside. This location would enhance force protection of these valuable strategic assets as well as provide easy access to designated loading docks at the Port of Corpus Christi and to the open sea. The facility would serve as a combination layberth site for surge sealift ships and deployment training center for the deploying units as well as strategic port operators on the Texas Gulf Coast. Such a facility would enhance military readiness without any additional cost to the Department of Defense.
Corpus Christi Channel is entered from the Gulf of Mexico through Aransas Pass, which passes between San Jose and Mustang Islands. With its entrance protected by jetties, the channel has project depths of 45 to 47 ft in the outer bar channel, and 45 ft in the jetty channel and westward to Corpus Christi. The channel leading from Aransas Pass to NAVSTA Ingleside is afforded limited protection by adjacent, low-lying islands for most of its extent. Outside the channel, the water near NAVSTA Ingleside is relatively shallow with depths less than 5 ft not uncommon.
Tugs of up to 4,000 hp are available at Corpus Christi and serve all of the Corpus Christi Bay area. The Port of Corpus Christi has mobile cranes to 600 tons, a 45-ton floating crane, and one 100-ton stiff-legged derrick. Corpus Christi has limited repair facilities for medium-draft vessels, but none for making major repairs or for dry-docking deep-draft vessels. The nearest such facilities are at Galveston, TX. The largest floating drydock has a lifting capacity of 2,200 tons, with a length of 200 ft, width of 70 ft, and 16 ft over the keel blocks. The largest vertical boat lift has a capacity of 170 tons and can handle 125 ft vessels. A marine railway with a cradle length of 140 ft and a clear width of 52 ft at the top of the keel blocks can handle keeled vessels up to 650 tons and flat bottom craft to 1,000 tons. Several well equipped firms are available for making above-the-waterline repairs to vessels.
The city of Corpus Christi lies on the Texas coast along the sediment-laden bay of the same name. Corpus Christi, with a population of more than 235 000, is a major petroleum and natural gas production center. Heavy industry abounds in the area, with oil refineries, smelting plants, chemical works, and food processing establishments scattered throughout the city and its outlying regions. The city also supports a major fishing industry. Tourist and recreational resorts have become a major business on North Padre Island, east of the city on the Gulf of Mexico. Padre Island, which begins north of Corpus Christi near Port Aransas and parallels the Texas coast southward to near the United States-Mexico border, is the longest barrier island in the United States.
Agricultural field patterns are visible west and northwest of Corpus Christi. West of the city, the Nueces River enters Nueces Bay, which, in turn, empties into Corpus Christi Bay. A dredged shipping channel is visible (dark turquoise water) traversing Corpus Christi Bay to its mouth near Port Aransas. Interstate Highway 37 can be seen running through Corpus Christi, crossing Laguna Madre, and terminating on North Padre Island.
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