Port Tampa Bay reopens, Carnival Paradise due back Saturday

Resident ship Carnival Paradise is due to return Saturday after its five-day cruise was extended due to the storm
Port Tampa Bay was cleared by the US Coast Guard to resume all vessel operations and is officially open following Hurricane Ian.

This just two days after Ian made landfall on Florida's central Gulf Coast Wednesday afternoon as a powerful Category 4 storm.

One cruise extended, the other canceled for Carnival Paradise

Resident ship Carnival Paradise is due to return Saturday after its five-day cruise was extended due to the storm, forcing the cancellation of its Sept. 29 four-day sailing.

'As Port Tampa Bay continues to coordinate with federal, state and local agencies, as well as the maritime community to respond to the impacts of Hurricane Ian, we want to express our sincere appreciation to those who helped our port prepare and recover from the impact of Hurricane Ian,' said Paul Anderson, Port Tampa Bay president and CEO.

'Our operations, security, facilities staff, port community the brave folks at the US Coast Guard and our local law enforcement and emergency response agencies were critical to our ability to minimize the effects of the storm and help our port to return to operations as soon as safely possible.'

Priorities include a full return to cruise operations

Anderson said priorities are 'safety of life, protection of the environment and a full return to cargo and cruise operations.'

In coordination with the Port Heavy Weather Advisory Group, and following detailed assessments of the port, waterways and channels, USCG reopened the port and set port condition normal. Anderson said the port's teams have 'fully assessed the docks, wharfs and terminals. commercial vessel traffic is again being queued for a return to full operations at the port, meaning we are open for business.'

'Proud to help our region and community get back on its feet'

He added that few people understand the impact a seaport has on their daily lives until a crisis hits and said: 'We are proud to help our community and region get back on its feet following Hurricane Ian and welcome back the fuel and cargo ships that are the lifeblood of our local economy.'

Anderson said Port Tampa Bay provides a more than $17b economic impact, and touches some 85,000 jobs in the community while also serving as a major energy gateway, providing nearly half of Florida with its fuel supply.

He expressed thanks to his team and the maritime community for 'their agility and coordination during the hurricane, as well as the US Coast Guard and our local first responders. On behalf of the entire maritime community, we want to express our heartfelt condolences to our fellow Floridians who have been impacted by Hurricane Ian.'