Coast Guard reopens ports on Big Island of Hawaii after Tropical Storm Lane

A Coast Guard small boat crew from the Coast Guard Cutter Oliver Berry (WPC 1124) beings a port assessment of the port of Hilo, Hawaii, Aug. 24, 2018. The Coast Guard is working proactively with the State of Hawaii and the maritime industry to reopen ports as soon as is safe to do so. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Sydney Niemi/Released)

A Coast Guard small boat crew from the Coast Guard Cutter Oliver Berry doing a port assessment of the port of Hilo, Hawaii, Aug. 24, 2018. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Sydney Niemi)

HONOLULU — The Coast Guard Captain of the Port reopened the Hilo Harbor and Kawaihae Harbor ports on the Big Island as of 3 p.m. Friday following the passing of Tropical Storm Lane and thorough port assessments.

Maui, Honolulu and Kauai County ports remain closed in port condition Zulu.

“One of the Coast Guard’s top priorities is the safety of life,” said Capt. Michael Long, Coast Guard Captain of the Port. “Opening the ports to receive critical supplies is not only vital to commerce, it saves lives. After completing our port assessment process, we opened the ports of Hilo and Kawaihae. This means the barges offshore can bring in their cargo, in addition to the cargo already at the port, to be processed and distributed to the residents of the Big Island.”

Crews from the Department of Land and Natural Resources conducted a first light assessment of the two ports. U.S. Coast Guard Cutters Oliver Berry (WPC 1124) and Joseph Gerczak (WPC 1126) conducted post-storm assessments on the port of Hilo along with a maritime industry tug. Another industry tug assessed Kawaihae. The teams surveyed aids to navigation and evaluated damage to water channels and shore facilities. The Coast Guard coordinates with the State of Hawaii and port partners to ensure vessels can transit safely, tie up and receive services, offload their cargo and return to the sea.

The Coast Guard plans to assess the other ports of Hawaii as weather and sea conditions allow crews to do so safely.

As the ports open, the Coast Guard and port partners will prioritize the incoming ships ensuring the most critical supplies reach the residents of Hawaii first.

“I want to emphasize that this is a positive first step in reopening all of the ports,” Long said. “These assessments will happen as quickly and safely as possible. We still have a long way to go and must consider future impacts from the storm as it continues to pass through the state.”

The Coast Guard will continue to Broadcast Notice to Mariners and send out a Marine Safety Information Bulletin to notify the maritime community of port condition changes. All maritime users are requested to monitor the progress of this storm and heed all warnings.

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