Port of Gulfport back in business

Port of Gulfport back in business

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Damage assessment continues all along the coast following Hurricane Nate. After having all operations put on hold, the Port of Gulfport is back in business with the first ship arriving at the port Tuesday.

The Dole Costa Rica pulled into the Port of Gulfport after staying anchored at sea following an order by the Coast Guard to suspend all ship traffic at the port with Nate storming toward the coast.

"We worked with our tenants and shipping lines and made sure they understood the conditions we were under since Friday, when we knew Nate was coming in as a Category 1. Once we got to condition Zulu, everything was shut down," said Port Director Jonathan Daniels.

A Chiquita vessel also came in after the Dole Costa Rica. A Crowley ship will dock on Wednesday.

Leading up to the storm, some assets were evacuated from the port with Nate closing in, which is consistent with the port's hurricane plan. If the storm were forecast to be more then a Category 1, port officials would have removed more material.

Early damage assessments reveal the facility held up.

"We affected our plan and worked with out tenants. We also found out that a lot of what was done with the planning, design, and construction of the terminal, it held up. It was built to withstand a Category 1, Category 2 storm," Daniels said.

With the exception of debris and limited damage to fencing and a warehouse on the east pier, the port was, for the most part, unscathed. Daniels was relieved to see the facility back in business.

"It's exciting to see the vessels coming in. They've been anxious to get in as well. They've been at anchor, and there was a point when they considered going to other ports.We were able to keep them here. It's great to see everybody get back to work," said Daniels.

The port commission will have a meeting to evaluate the response to the hurricane and make any necessary changes to the port's hurricane plan.

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