Thursday, January 14, 2010

Haitian Port Facilities Heavily Damaged in Earthquake

The main port in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince, as well as secondary port facilities along the nearby coast, suffered major damage during Tuesday's 7.0 earthquake.

At least three large piers, two in Port-au-Prince and one in the neighboring seaside community of Carrefour, suffered major structural damage.

The main pier in Port-au-Prince appeared to have collapsed up to the front of dockside warehouses throwing at least one gantry crane into the water. A second long finger pier nearby appeared to have lost 40 percent to 50 percent of its total length. In Carrefour, an earth spit connecting a large dock to the shore disappeared after the earthquake, stranding the pier and apparently severing an oil or bunker fuel line that was now discharging into the small bay.

In addition, containers from the port had fallen into the water and numerous container stacks on the shoreside terminal had fallen over.

The damage was clearly visible in new satellite overlay images available for Google Earth and compared to the pre-earthquake pictures on Google Maps. The new satellite images, taken the day after the earthquake, were coordinated by Google and GeoEye and are available here:

Several vessels from the United States Coast Guard are patrolling the Port-au-Prince bay and conducting further assessments of damage to the port facilities. The Coast Guard is sending at least four additional cutters to the damaged area.