Florida Ports Working to Reopen as Irma Moves to Georgia

PortMiami’s Seaboard Marine container terminal will open on Tuesday, September 12 upon approval by the United States Coast Guard, the port authority said in an update.

The approval is anticipated in the morning hours, allowing for truck and gate operations to resume.

Truck and gate operations will be closed on Tuesday, September 12 for Port of Miami Terminal Operating Company (POMTOC) and APMT’s South Florida Container Terminal (SFCT) container terminals.

The port will remain closed to marine traffic at least through 4 pm today, as the port authority is pending the conclusion of side sonar underwater inspections by NOAA of its navigational channels.

Port reopening is conditional on the inspection findings.

Separately, the Port of Palm Beach said it would re-open for cargo business only, on Tuesday at 6 am.

The port remains closed to vessel traffic until the USCG decides otherwise.

Irma, now downgraded to a tropical storm, was 50 miles south-southeast of Albany, Georgia, moving north-northwest with maximum sustained winds of 60 MPH, as of September 11. Irma will continue to move over southwestern Georgia, and move into eastern Alabama Tuesday, the US Department of Energy informed.

Ports in eight port sectors in the Caribbean, Florida, North Carolina, and South Carolina are either closed or open with restrictions.

Specifically, Everglades, Miami, Palm Beach, Savannah, Panama City,  Jacksonville, Canaveral, Tampa, Port Manatee and all ports in Key West are closed.

Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) said that it was spared from any damage from the Irma, adding that further damage assessments are underway.

“Hurricane straps installed on our empty containers and ship-to-shore cranes prevented any cargo, crane or other infrastructure damage,” the port authority noted.

GPA’s critical workforce will be returning on Tuesday morning to prepare the terminal for cargo operations.

“As of now, we expect truck gates to resume operation Wednesday morning,” GPA noted.

Petroleum pipelines and terminals in the path of Irma are implementing hurricane preparedness procedures and many have shut down in advance of the storm.

World Maritime News Staff

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