This article originally appeared in Florida Politics on October 3, 2022. 

By Kelly Hayes.

More than 25 domestic maritime vessels are calling on Florida ports as they reopen following Hurricane Ian.

U.S.-flagged maritime vessels arrived Friday at Port Tampa Bay following its reopening, carrying fuel cargo to aid in Hurricane Ian recovery.

More than 25 domestic maritime vessels are calling on Florida ports as they reopen following Hurricane Ian. These vessels are carrying over 220 million gallons of fuel critical to Hurricane Ian recovery efforts.

Over 90% of Florida’s fuel arrives through four ports: Everglades, Canaveral, Jacksonville and Tampa. When a hurricane impacts the state, the domestic maritime industry works with partners at the state’s marine fuel terminals to ensure that shoreside facilities are at capacity before the storm. After the storm has passed, the industry stands ready to begin discharging additional fuel cargos as soon as ports and terminals reopen.

For decades, the American maritime industry has worked closely with local, state, and federal governments, shippers, suppliers and emergency response teams so that reliable and consistent delivery of goods is achieved in times of need.

When a hurricane strikes, the American maritime industry works closely with government officials in emergency management to prepare and respond, as well as prepositions critical supply vessels in safe positions offshore to respond strategically based on where the storm might make landfall and which communities might need immediate aid.

Hurricane Ian made landfall Wednesday afternoon near Fort Myers at near-Category 5 strength, bringing with it torrential rain, tornadoes and massive storm surges that flooded a large swath of the Gulf Shore.

The hurricane became the fifth-most powerful to ever hit the U.S. after leveling areas in Fort Myers and Sarasota, leaving nearly 2.7 million people without power.

The hurricane has so far claimed 54 lives: 47 in Florida, four in North Carolina and three in Cuba. Search and rescue efforts are underway. As of Saturday morning, the U. S. Coast Guard, federal, state and local search and rescue teams saved over 3,500 people and nearly 140 pets. The number of Federal teams supporting search and rescue operations has doubled.

Source: Florida Politics