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Port Canaveral dredged

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Port Canaveral Dredged To Remove Storm Debris

PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. -- The Army Corps of Engineers dredged Port Canaveral Monday to clean up the damage left over from two hurricanes.

For the past several days, some ships have been allowed to dock at the port, but those over a certain size could not return until the area was cleared of sand and muck, WESH NewsChannel 2 reported.

The area was pounded by Hurricane Frances' winds for nearly 48 hours last weekend. The narrow entrance to the harbor became too shallow for larger ships to pass through because so much sand was driven into it by the strong, pounding winds.

Engineers require the channel to be 41 feet deep. Indications after the storm suggested it was less than 30 feet deep in some places. That kept cruise ships away until this past weekend.

The dredge pumped sand and seawater out of the center of the entrance, making it deep enough for large ships, such as cruise ships, to pass through again.

The port's two largest ships, Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas and Sovereign of the Seas, have been unable to use the port. Also, much needed supplies of lumber and cement could not be delivered last week aboard cargo ships.

The closing of the port has cost an estimated $1 million per day in lost revenues.

Fisherman said Monday was the first day the waters were calm enough for them to return to sea.

The dredging should be completed by the end of the week, according to a representative of the Canaveral Port Authority, and then the port will be fully open again.

Environmental rules require that threatened sea turtles be netted and removed from the port before dredging begins. While the dredge began an initial survey Monday, a fishing boat tried to net the turtles, but had an equipment breakdown that caused a significant delay.

-Dan Billow, OrlandoWeather.com

POSTED: 2:54 pm EDT September 13, 2004

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Royal Caribbean is now reporting that the Mariner of the Seas will return there on Sept 19, and transport any passengers who need it back to Miami.

* Mariner of the Seas, originally scheduled to depart Port Canaveral on September 12, on a seven-night sailing, made that sailing from the Port of Miami. The ship will not make its port call in Georgetown, Cayman Islands, today. Instead, the ship will spend today at sea. The ship will now return to Port Canaveral on Sunday morning, September 19. At the conclusion of this sailing, Royal Caribbean will transport guests from Port Canaveral to the Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami airports, as well as the Port of Miami.

Mariner of the Seas, will resume its normal Sunday departures from Port Canaveral starting on Sunday, September 19.

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