US Ports Brace for Hurricane Irma
US Ports of Miami and Everglades are battening the hatches amid warnings about the approach of ‘extremely dangerous’ category 5 Hurricane Irma.
Ports in the Carribean islands, such as the Port de Gustavia on the island of Saint Barthelemy, have been shut down after experiencing the full force of Irma’s winds.
Hurricane Irma reportedly killed eight people on the Caribbean island of Saint Martin and left Barbuda in ruins.
Reaching the island of Hispaniola, shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic, it will later affect five regions in Haiti.
Reports from US government agencies indicate Irma continues to strengthen and maximum sustained winds have increased to near 175 Miles Per Hour (MPH) with higher gusts, making it a category 5 hurricane.
Major US container ports in Savannah and Brunswick have reportedly made preparations.
The US Coast Guard Captain Of The Port (COTP) set port conditions to "Whiskey", reducing operations for Port Miami, Miami River, Port Everglades, Port of Palm Beach, Port of Fort Pierce and all other South Florida terminals and facilities.
Gale force winds of 25 MPH and gusts up to 40 MPH generated by Hurricane Irma are expected to make landfall on US shores within 72 hours of the announcement at 8:00am on August 6, 2017.
Ship operators that want their ships to remain in these Flordia ports must immediately contact the COTP to receive permission.
Everglades port said oceangoing vessels moored or at anchor should be prepared to get underway.
It was making a range of preparations, including implementing its container stacking plan. The port plans to reduce container stack height to no more than four high and no more than two high for hazardous materials. Port users were asked to remove hazardous materials from areas prone to flooding.
Port has also warned its facilities to set about removing debris and securing potential flying hazards, as it also carries out due diligence for storm impacts.
Facilities that are unable to meet these requirements due to space constraints were asked to submit a container stacking protocol to the Captain of the Port (COTP) Miami for approval.
Read more: Houston, Texas City, Galveston, and Freeport ports have partially reopened with specific restrictions on vessel sizes and traffic, after the flooding occasioned by Hurricane Harvey which continued on September 27, 2017.