Port Canaveral has issued an evacuation order for landside operations and the port will officially close at noon on Wednesday due to Hurricane Matthew.
In addition to the land-side evacuation, the U.S. Coast Guard has given notice that the Canaveral harbor will close by tomorrow afternoon. Under the Captain of the Port order, no vessel traffic–including cruise and cargo ships, as well as recreational and commercial fishing boats –will be allowed in harbor until after the storm passes and the order is lifted.
This is the first time since 2004 that Port Canaveral has shut down operations due to severe weather. In 2004, the ship’s harbor was shut closed for 11 days to ship traffic.
John Murray, CEO of Port Canaveral, gave the following statement: “This is a serious storm and the protection of people and property is our primary concern. We expect high winds and storm surge throughout the port and have urged the Port community to prepare their facilities so business can resume as quickly as possible after the storm.”
Hurricane Matthew has already caused several cruise lines to alter cruise itineraries in the Caribbean and Bahamas. The hurricane currently has maximum sustained winds of 140 mph and is expected to move over the Bahamas and up the Florida coast over the next few days.