Last updated: 01:22 PM ET, Wed October 05 2016

Port Canaveral Closes to Cruise Ships, Other Vessels Ahead of Hurricane Matthew

Impacting Travel | Donald Wood | October 05, 2016

Port Canaveral Closes to Cruise Ships, Other Vessels Ahead of Hurricane Matthew

Photo: Disney cruise ship at Port Canaveral. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

On Tuesday, officials from Port Canaveral in Florida ordered a mandatory evacuation for landside operations for all Jetty Park campers, marinas and all Port businesses and tenants in response to the oncoming storm Hurricane Matthew.

The deadline to evacuate is noon Wednesday.

According to Port Canaveral’s official website, the United States Coast Guard has also issued an alert that the Canaveral harbor will be closed by Wednesday afternoon. The closure means no cruise ships, cargo ships, commercial fishing boats or recreational vessels will be permitted in the harbor until the storm passes and the order is lifted.

“This is a serious storm and the protection of people and property is our primary concern,” Port Canaveral CEO John Murray said in a statement. “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.”

In addition, the Space Coast's military and space installations—Patrick Air Force Base and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station—have been placed on alert and are preparing for the approaching hurricane, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

This is not the first time Port Canaveral has been shut down due to an incoming storm, as it was also closed in 2004 when a trio of massive storms—Hurricanes Charley, Frances and Jeanne—forced the closure of the harbor for 11 days to ship traffic.

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