Port Canaveral has suffered an estimated $500,000 in damages as a result of a tugboat accident. The tow vessel rammed into a mooring structure (a bollard structure south of North Cargo Pier 2) and North Cargo Pier 3. The accident occurred last Sunday morning about 11 a.m. No casualties were reported. It have been estimated that the repair works could take up to three months.
Petty Officer Anthony Soto, spokesman with the Coast Guard, said:
"The Coast Guard is investigating how it happened and just what caused the incident. As a matter of Coast Guard policy, I can't reveal the details."
Christine Hartnett, port engineer, explained the damage saying that the mooring dolphin had collapsed. It knocked over a 540,000-pound reinforced-concrete "pile cap" (28 x 28-foot). Also, a 50-foot aluminum gangway and 25 smaller concrete piles (96-foot) fell into the harbour.
William Golding, captain of a tug boat, commented:
"To hit that, they had to really bulldoze it. To knock it down. They didn't break it; they just knocked it completely over. I think it's gonna hurt the port, because to bring in any decent-size tankers over there, you need the dolphin to tie the bow of the ship."
According to Christine Hartnett, the impacted port operations would be those with large fuel vessels. Having been unable to use the mooring, a tug boat will hold the vessel in place.
"The larger biodiesel tankers that use this pier and mooring structure will require tug assistance during high winds or cruise ship transit to ensure safe mooring. We will have no negative impact to cargo operations, but may need to shift berths for ships," Hartnett added.
Port Canaveral North cargo area aerial (Image portcanaveral.com)