The management of the Virgin Islands Port Authority reported Wednesday that the aviation and marine facilities escaped relatively unscathed from the wrath of last week’s Hurricane Lenny.
Executive Director Gordon A. Finch said at a Wednesday meeting of the governing board, that the repair estimate for damage sustained is just shy of $2 million.
This is a blessing given the levels of damage inflicted on port facilities in prior hurricanes, Finch told members of the governing board.
"When we talk about $1.7 million – $1.8 million from a hurricane just shy of the intensity of (hurricane) Marilyn, we should consider ourselves lucky."
Noting that port facilities are insured and that VIPA will perhaps seek reimbursement from the federal government for repairs Finch said, "There is very little in the way of expenses that I see the Port Authority underwriting."
The port director also heaped praise on the Hovensa refinery.
Within a week of the storm’s damage to the Ann E. Abramson marine terminal in Frederiksted, the south-shore refinery had manufactured a section to replace the one knocked out.
Finch said the damage to the pier was the greatest suffered at Virgin Islands port facilities.
"Thanks to the Hovensa contribution, it has been, perhaps, the least costly," he said.
As for the temporary repairs to the pier, Finch noted that the repairs are being closely monitored.
"We’ve had engineers in the water inspecting the pier’s structure, sub-structure and all reports are positive about the integrity of the facility. The damage was limited to the first span of the pier."
The only thing Hovensa required of the Port Authority was to enter into a hold harmless agreement with the refinery, to protect the company from any legal action which may arise from use of the temporarily repaired pier.
The executive director said he signed the agreement willingly, confident in the integrity of Hovensa’s construction.
The pier is now considered ready to receive cruise ships, two are expected in port Thursday. A port call by the Carnival Destiny cruise ship scheduled for Wednesday was canceled.
Finch said the Port Authority will publically thank the refinery in newspaper advertisements and with letters to Hovensa’s management including John Hess, president of Amerada Hess, the parent company of Hovensa.
The pier damage accounted for 75 percent of the damage to port facilities territory-wide.
VIPA Director of Engineering Dale Gregory outlined other minor damage
the port facilities suffered, much of which he termed "cosmetic."
"There was erosion at Lindbergh Bay and along the western perimeter of the Cyril E. King Airport near the ESSO terminal," he noted.
Gregory estimated that the damage in the St. Thomas St. John district totals about $86,000.
Aside from the damage to the Frederiksted pier, there were three other port facilities which were hardest hit. They include: the marine offices at the container port which totaled almost $100,000.
Gregory said much of the damage was suffered after exterior panels blew off the building and water penetrated several bays of the building.
At the Henry E. Rohlsen airport, some areas under construction suffered damage including sheet rock and uncompleted walls which were exposed to the storm. The St. Croix general cargo building was the third area to have suffered storm-related damage.
"The eastern walls were blown out," Gregory reported to the VIPA board of governors.


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