Irma Aftermath: Florida’s Ports Weather the Storm

Port Canaveral has opened to commercial traffic following a clearance from the United States Coast Guard on Tuesday, September 12.

Nevertheless, a restricted commercial vessel traffic is in place, allowing for the arrival of fuel supplies destined for Florida consumers, and receiving of cruise ships that were diverted from Port Canaveral prior to the arrival of Hurricane Irma.

The port authority said it hopes to regain full operational capability over the next few days.

“Our ability to supply the critical fuel needs of Florida has been a priority. We have been working diligently with the Coast Guard, our port partners and tenants to ensure their businesses are in good shape to resume business operations,” Port CEO John Murray said.

“Seaport Canaveral is operating at 100 percent and is moving gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel throughout the state.  The steady stream of trucks that were in a queue for loading fuels beginning last night, have been loading and moving out to make their deliveries.”

 “Arriving in port this afternoon (September 12), we have a fuel tanker vessel delivering gasoline to add to Seaport Canaveral’s capacity, and two more tankers are on their way here,” said Capt. Murray.

“Tomorrow, we will have two homeported cruise ships arriving in port for debark and embark passenger operations, and beginning Friday will begin to board passengers for their regularly scheduled cruise itineraries.”

Port Canaveral further informed it was continuing to assess the damage to its facilities and grounds from Hurricane Irma. Based on the initial status reports, there is mostly cosmetic damage and a need for significant debris removal.

Port Everglades also reopened to ship traffic. However, ships may enter the port during daylight hours only.

Three petroleum tank ships arrived on Tuesday to offload 18 million gallons of gasoline, 3.5 million gallons of diesel and 14.7 gallons of jet fuel, the port said.

In addition, cruise ships from Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean have also returned to the port.

PortMiami has resumed operations as well, welcoming cruise ships, including Carnival Glory, Carnival Vista and Carnival Victory.

Tampa and Charleston ports have also weathered the storm and are open for traffic, while Port of Palm Beach is expected to resume vessel traffic on Wednesday.