Puerto Rico’s governor has declared reopening the island’s ports a priority as it tries to recover from the huge devastation brought by Hurricane Maria.
Shipping is the principal source for the majority of supplies delivered there.
The island, an unincorporated US territory, faces an estimated six months before electric power can be fully restored to all 3.4 million people there, Governor Ricardo Rossello said.
San Juan, the major port, was closed down in advance of Maria’s arrival.
Along with the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico was declared a disaster zone, by President Donald Trump, making federal funding available for relief and emergency assistance.
Puerto Rico escaped relatively lightly from the force of Hurricane Irma two weeks previously but Maria made a direct hit.
Before these natural disasters the island had been in a prolonged recession and an economic sinkhole of debt which led to it being declared virtually bankrupt in May this year. A federal control board has been overseeing the island’s finances.
Maria’s core is forecast to pass just east of the Turks and Caicos and of the southeastern Bahamas on Friday. It is expected to then move out to sea in the Atlantic, avoiding the US east coast.