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Turks and Caicos to be affected by closed sea ports in Florida



Port of Palm Beach

#Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands – September 2, 2019 –

Ports along the Florida coast will shut down ahead of monster Hurricane Dorian, this includes Port Miami, Port Canaveral, Port Everglades, Jaxport, Port of Palm Beach and Port of Tampa Bay.

Winds of the hurricane are expected to decrease to 155 mph by Thursday when the hurricane is expected to collide with the Florida coast, but at category four strength there exists real potential for danger.

The closure of the ports in Florida will impact Turks and Caicos; but it is unclear how extensively.

“Ports closing will impact any arrival dates as we normally receive a Friday ship. While waiting for news of when they can sail, we will start flying in product. Hopefully the ports will remain intact and be able to get out soon as the storm passes. As everything at this point It is wait and see,” said Ken Burns, Managing Director of Graceway Supermarkets.

Currently 86 percent of imports to the TCI are from the United States and the main gateway into the Turks and Caicos is via Tropical Shipping and Seacor; both have posted at their websites that they will be closed on Tuesday due to Hurricane Dorian.

A comment from owner of Cairsea, a 20-plus year-old freight company operating in the Turks and Caicos pointed to a precarious position for ports.  We asked Rodney Thompson, owner, how any closure, including a prolonged one would affect Turks and Caicos. 

“Big impact but full extent unknown until storm track plays out …at the moment it’s wait and see.  By all indications, air ops will be back to normal via MIA on Wed (4 Sep).”

Carl Simmons, CEO of CargoExplress/Tropical Shipping in the TCI pointed us to the Tropical Shipping website which said: “The Port of Palm Beach will be closed on Tuesday, however our Customer Service department will be available to answer questions and to create bookings via the telephone 1-800-638-8761, 1- 561-881-3999 and The Miami office and warehouse facilities will be open and available on Tuesday.”

Tropical also explained: “Tuesdays sailings from the Port of Palm Beach have been canceled.  Nassau, Freeport and Marsh Harbour are still closed due to Hurricane Dorian. We will advise when the offices have returned to normal operations.”

Seacor, located in Miami simply informed:  Seacor Island Lines will be closed Tuesday September 3, 2019.

Over 20-year shipping company in the TCI, Cairsea said the effect of the hurricane will

It is reported by the New York Times that 580 flights and 42 cruises were today, cancelled due to the encroaching, menacing Hurricane Dorian.

South Dock, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands

‘Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) and Orlando Melbourne International Airport (MLB) closed at noon on Monday while Daytona Beach International Airport (DAB) and Orlando International Airport (MCO) will close at 6 p.m. More than 200 flights were canceled into and out of Orlando International Airport, and another 160 were canceled into and out of Fort Lauderdale.’ 

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Woman dies on Tuesday; 32nd Covid Death for Turks & Caicos



By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer


#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2022 – The Turks and Caicos has recorded its 32nd death related to COVID-19.

A Ministry of Health press release informed that the individual who was in quarantine in Grand Turk and requested emergency aid on Tuesday; response came from the public health team in Grand Turk.

The person, who we are told is a special needs young woman – was unvaccinated and had underlying medical conditions.

The death rate in the Turks and Caicos of both vaccinated and unvaccinated persons has climbed alarmingly this year.  In the 21-month period from March 2020 when the country recorded its first case to December 2021, there were 26 deaths recorded in the TCI.

In the 19 days since the start of 2022 that number has increased to 32; which means six deaths already in January.


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Bahamas News

Cruising should slow down says PAHO



By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer


‘Slow down on Cruising’, that’s the word from the Pan American Health Organization, PAHO in their latest recent press conference.

Dr. Ciro Ugarte Director of Health Emergencies at the PAHO was referring to the Bahamas but made sure to note that the advice was highly relevant to many countries in the times of omicron.

“In the context of intense transmission, due to the Omicron variant as we have highlighted several times. It is just logical to suspend or at least limit the cruise ship traffic as an outbreak on board might end up exceedingly high and probably will go beyond the capacity of local health services”

Both the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos are experiencing a massive uptick in cases and several warnings regarding cruise travel have been issued by the US Centers for Disease Control.

Cruising just resumed for many regional countries this past Summer, Turks and Caicos was among the latest to restart on December 13.

A stop to sailing would be devastating to economies, however, ports of call like Grand Turk which are reeling with rocketing case numbers of COVID are urged to consider the suggestion of slowing down on ships by PAHO.

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Caribbean News

Understanding Sargassum with help from the TCI’s Department of Environment & Coastal Resources  



By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer


#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2022 – Sargassum, also known as seaweed, is a natural brown macroalga that lives in temperate and tropical oceans of the world. The floating micro eco-system is important to many species, including baby turtles, little crabs, and tiny fish. All these animals use the floating rafts of the sargassum for protection, shelter, and food.

Over the years, sargassum has been increasing its quantity in the Caribbean due to climate change. As water temperatures increase, sargassum blooms, and as this continues, it occurs in large amounts. This can be dangerous for some marine life because when seaweed washes up on the shore, some species become trapped in the sargassum mat.

Environmental Outreach Coordinator at the Department of Environmental and Coastal Resources for TCI, Amy Avenant, says the Turks and Caicos Islands has not seen the worst of the overgrowth.

“In the Turks and Caicos Islands, we have not seen the full severity of sargassum blooms. Our neighbours in Bonaire, for example, experience up to six feet of sargassum, and they have found stranded dolphins, sea turtles, and sometimes even birds,” said Amy Avenant.

“When the sargassum washes up on shore, it starts to decompose, and when it decomposes, it emits methane, and that is the stinky sulfuric eggy smell that you can smell when you walk past it on the beach. It is a bad thing for climate change because of the methane, but it is not harmful to your health.”

Turks and Caicos saw this in extreme amounts in October; so severe, resorts were forced to bag and bury the stinky seaweed which for over a week covered the usually sandy white stretch of Grace Bay beach.

Avenant noted that in the TCI, we have a balance between managing the influx of sargassum and impacting the areas where it lands because its influx is correlated to the cycles of the moon.

She also said sargassum can be used as a fertilizer in farming. If you collect it, the advice is to spread it out and ensure you wash the excess salt off before adding to your gardens or farms.

There are also hidden dangers and habitat threats to the piles of sargassum on shorelines.

Avenant informed, when you see sargassum on the beach, ensure you watch out for wildlife that might be stuck and species which might have made a home of the ocean’s deposit which has washed up, this is heightened on rocky shores.

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