Cargo operations at Port of New Orleans terminals will continue as scheduled Friday, despite the impending closure of the Mississippi River at Southwest Pass due to potential affects from Tropical Storm Karen. The Associated Branch Pilots, the pilots that guide ships through the mouth of the Mississippi River, will cease operations at 6 a.m. Friday.
Carnival Cruise Lines has two cruise ships scheduled to berth at the Erato Street Cruise Terminal this weekend. The 2,052-passenger Carnival Elation is scheduled to arrive at the Port Saturday, while the 2,984-passenger Carnival Conquest is scheduled to arrive Sunday. As of 5 p.m. today, Carnival officials were closely monitoring the storm and working on contingency plans. Carnival officials plan to have more information for guests available Friday.
The Port is currently in Phase I of its Hurricane Preparedness Plan, which includes monitoring National Weather Service advisories and participating in frequent Port Coordination Team conference calls with all deep-draft ports, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Coast Guard, pilot associations, and industry stakeholders.
“Storm preparations are going smoothly and we are in frequent contact with all members of the maritime community,” said Gary LaGrange, Port President and CEO. “As always, we prepare for the worst and hope for the best and safety is, of course, paramount.”
Terminal operator Ports America is completing work today on Hapag-Lloyd’s 795-foot Livorno Express at the Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal and it is scheduled to sail tonight. However, two container ships and five breakbulk ships are scheduled to remain at the Port of New Orleans until Tropical Storm Karen has passed. Only one breakbulk ship was scheduled for arrival Friday at the Port and will be delayed. Four breakbulk ships and one container ship are scheduled to arrive at the Port Monday, Oct. 7.
Immediately following the storm, the U.S. Coast Guard will evaluate all waterways and determine when the River will be reopened for safe transit.