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Florida seaports start reopening

Florida seaports start reopening

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Some Florida ports were beginning to return to action on Tuesday in the wake of Hurricane Irma, which forced many of them to shut down.

The ports are a crucial link in Florida’s fuel supply chain as almost all of its gasoline arrives through the ports and fuel availability is a big issue in the Sunshine State, post-Irma.

Port Everglades said it has reopened to commercial vessels with no draft restrictions but during daylight only. As of late on Tuesday it had three tankers and two cargo ships waiting to enter.

Port Tampa Bay Port Authority said that three tankers had entered there and were preparing to unload while another seven were expected within 48 hours.

Between them, and when in full flow, Port Everglades and Port Tampa Bay handle around 700,000 barrels per day.

Even though both those ports are moving quickly to restart their operations, it will take days more before the fuel reaches retail gas stations because priority is being given to first responders, crews clearing roads and utility trucks.

Port Canaveral said it had suffered minimal damage from Irma and was operating at 100 percent, already moving gasoline, diesel and jet fuel throughout the state.

Things were more tentative at Jaxport in Jacksonville where the US Coast Guard (USCG) was still inspecting the condition of the harbour and port facilities. But even there, shallow-draft ships weighing below 500 gross tonnes were allowed access to the port.

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Donal Scully

With 28 years experience writing and editing for newspapers in the UK and Hong Kong, Donal is now based in California from where he covers the Americas for Splash as well as ensuring the site is loaded through the Western Hemisphere timezone.

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