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Published: 7 September 2017
Irma hits Port St Maarten
Category 5 hurricane causes extensive damage as it makes landfall
|Damage at St Martin (Photo Dutch Navy)|
Hurricane Irma, a Category 5 hurricane with winds of 185 mph, made landfall on the Northern Caribbean Islands in the evening on Wednesday 6 September.
St Martin has suffered extensive damage, with eight people reported killed, a number that is expected to rise.
The Captain David Cargo Quay operated by the Dutch Port St Maarten group of companies has sustained extensive damage. The terminal handles around 75,000 TEU annually and serves as a hub port for several outlying islands, including Anguilla, Montserrat, St. Baths, St. Kitts & Nevis, and Antigua and Barbuda.
The port is protected by a breakwater, but a photo taken from a Dutch Navy helicopter shows the terminal has suffered extensive flooding, and containers have been scattered. The terminal operates two Gottwald mobile harbour cranes, which appear to be still standing.
Irma is currently tracking along the Caribbean and predicted to make landfall in Florida early next week. An evacuation order affecting around 150,000 people on barrier islands in Miami Dade County came into effect at 7am today.
The Port of Miami issued a notice on 6 September saying it was still open for business. The US Coast Guard hurricane advisory status is currently “Whiskey”, which does not require a closure. Under a Whiskey alert container terminals are required to reduce stack heights to no more than two for hazardous containers, and four for other containers, or propose alternative securing arrangements.
Service disruptions are expected, and today POMTOC closed its gates for receiving exports until further notice.
Port Everglades has evacuated its offices, but the the port itself remains open pending orders from the US Coast Guard.