Food and emergency aid arriving in Puerto Rico

Food and aid cargo arriving in San Juan, Puerto Rico Food and aid cargo arriving in San Juan, Puerto Rico Enrique Sanchez

SEPTEMBER 23, 2017—Food and aid cargo are already arriving at Crowley Maritime Corporation’s Isla Grande terminal in San Juan, Puerto Rico, following the devastation of Hurricane Maria.

Hurricane Maria, one of the most powerful hurricanes to hit the island in 80 years, pummeled parts of Puerto Rico with winds of 155 mph and as much as 40 inches of rain, unleashed catastrophic flooding, destroyed infrastructure, knocked out power to the island’s 3.5 million residents, and cut off most communications. The storm is blamed for at least 10 deaths.

Crowley Maritime, which operates eight U.S.-flag RO/RO vessels and a barge in liner service between Jacksonville, FL, to San Juan, reports it has sent four vessels loaded with a mix of emergency relief and commercial cargo to its Isla Grande terminal in San Juan, with two more scheduled to follow. The six vessels will bring in more than 2,200 full container loads of food and aid cargo, as well as commercial goods, to Puerto Rico.

In addition to these incoming barge loads, Crowley Maritime says there are another 2,200 full container loads of food, aid cargo, and commercial goods, stored and awaiting distribution at its terminal now.

“Our focus and priority continues to be on the safety and health of our employees and the recovery efforts for all the families of Puerto Rico,” said Crowley’s John Hourihan, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Puerto Rico services. Crowley employs about 300 employees in Puerto Rico.CG PR

Hourihan said that the company’s schedule of operations was contingent on the U.S. Coast Guard giving the “all clear” to safely operate in the harbor. He said Crowley was also working with the local authorities to resume operations, as well as with Hacienda (Departamento de Hacienda de Puerto Rico) to facilitate the efficient and timely release of food and aid cargo.

At right, the crew of the USCGC Donald Horsley unloading food and water for the island of Vieques

With much of the island’s infrastructure damaged, one of the challenges will be moving the cargo and supplies from the terminal. “A key component to reopening the supply chain will be the availability of truck power to move the loads to their inland destinations and the ability of our customers to receive cargo,” Hourihan said. “With so much damage to infrastructure and facilities, this will be a challenge, but we remain optimistic about the resiliency of the people of Puerto Rico and their desire to do whatever is necessary to recover as quickly as possible.”

While the Isla Grande terminal was expected to be open only four hours today and four hours on Sept. 24, Crowley says it expects to resume normal operational hours, 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., for the week. The company’s Guaynabo warehouse was also scheduled to be open starting on today, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Coast Guard reported that the crew of the USCGC Donald Horsley (WPC-1117) delivered food and water from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to the tiny island of Vieques, yesterday.  The crew offloaded 750 liters of bottled water and 1,440 meals.

Built by Bollinger Shipyards, Lockport, LA, the USCGC Donald Horsley is a 154 ft long Sentinel Class Fast Response Cutter that was commissioned in May 20, 2016 and is homeported in San Juan.

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