Coast Guard lifts Port of San Juan restrictions
SAN JUAN –The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) has announced that restrictions on the entry and exit of vessels to the Port of San Juan were lifted Wednesday afternoon.
Puerto Rico Ports Authority Director Omar Marrero said the branch of the U.S. Armed Forces lifted the order that prevented barges trafficking the Bay of San Juan from dock only during daytime.
“Today, the Coast Guard has authorized us to say that the San Juan bay is open without restrictions,” Marrero said in an interview with Caribbean Business about the obstacles the administration of Gov. Ricardo Rosselló faces in distributing food, fuel and other needed items for the island’s recovery from Hurricane María.
Although the lifted restriction suggests the process has been streamlined so essential supplies reach establishments and in turn consumers, the fact is the terminals on the San Juan side still do not have power from the electric utility, thus only those operating with generators benefit. In the case of the terminals in Puerto Nuevo, these already have power service.
Beside San Juan’s the ports of Tallaboa, Salinas and Guayanilla are currently the only ones free to operate without restrictions. The Ponce, Yabucoa and Mayagüez ports remain closed. The latter awaits the result of an assessment by the Coast Guard, which will decide whether to reopen it.
Other ports that continue restricted are those of Vieques, Culebra, Arecibo and Fajardo, whose vessels are forced to sail only during daytime hours and cannot have a more than 15-foot draft. In the case of Guayama’s port, only shallow-draft tugboats and barges whose load does not exceed 500 tons are allowed.