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All clear: US Coast Guard reopens Guam,CNMI commercial ports

Lt. j.g. Deb King leads an incident management team meeting at U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam on Oct. 11, 2023, as the assembled team discusses steps to address the impacts of Typhoon Bolaven. Photo courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard/ hief Warrant Officer Sara Muir

By Chief Warrant Officer Sara Muir U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia / Sector Guam In a swift response to the passage of Typhoon Bolaven, the U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port (COTP) has officially reopened the crucial commercial ports of Guam, Rota, and Saipan. This decision, effective at noon on Oct. 11, follows meticulous assessments conducted by our dedicated crews and trusted partners. The COTP has downgraded the Port Heavy Weather Condition to WHISKEY, signifying the ports' readiness to resume operations from a regulatory and navigation safety standpoint. We urge all commercial operators to collaborate closely with local harbor managers to facilitate safe arrival and departure operations. Teams are working to obtain updates from partners on Tinian while simultaneously continuing comprehensive evaluations of local marinas and maritime facilities on Guam, Rota and Saipan. Initial reports indicate no maritime pollution incidents, a testament to the coordinated preparation efforts of all involved. "We extend our deepest gratitude to our resilient communities and partners for their preparedness and resilience during this challenging time," said Capt. Nick Simmons, commander of U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam.

"Our commitment to the people of the Marianas and Micronesia is unwavering. Together, we shall remain vigilant, knowing that extremely damaging November and December storms are not unheard of in our region. History reminds us of the importance of readiness." Typhoon Bolaven delivered tropical storm conditions to Guam but hit as a Category 2 typhoon as it passed through the channel south of Tinian in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Responding swiftly, Forces Micronesia Sector Guam, Base Guam, DOL-X, USCGC Hickory (WLB 212), Station Apra Harbor, and Marine Safety Detachment Saipan crews initiated assessments at the break of dawn. Under the direction of the regional Captain of the Port, the U.S. Coast Guard established an incident management team responsible for overseeing response efforts in Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. All communication systems, including the vital Rescue 21 radio towers, are fully operational. Crews and partners have verified the integrity of the aids to navigation constellation, confirming their readiness. The electronic aids to navigation (eATON) in Guam were activated as a precautionary measure before the storm, demonstrating a proactive approach to safety.


The crews of the three 154-foot Sentinel-class Fast Response Cutters, homeported in Guam, expertly navigated storm avoidance by mooring in Yap and are now returning to their homeport. Station Apra Harbor small boats are also back in the water. The National Weather Service canceled the tropical storm warning and typhoon watch, but residents should still anticipate southwest winds of 20 to 25 knots with gusts up to 35 knots and seas ranging from 11 to 16 feet. Additionally, there are warnings of dangerously large breaking waves of up to 12 feet in the surf zone through Thursday. These conditions have prompted a Small Craft Advisory and a High Surf Advisory. Given these circumstances, the U.S. Coast Guard strongly advises everyone to avoid entering the water. Furthermore, due to significant rainfall in the past 24 hours and an ongoing flood watch for the Northern Mariana Islands, beaches and outfalls may likely experience inundation with runoff and potential debris.


Meanwhile, the Port Authority of Guam announced that the last Port STS gantry crane is now back online following troubleshooting by the Port Authority of Guam Equipment Maintenance Division.

The port’s crane mechanics, welders and preventative maintenance mechanics were able to get the first two cranes assessed and operational earlier today following the passage of Typhoon Bolaven.

The final crane needed additional troubleshooting and was placed back online shortly before 5 p.m. today.

“The Port Strong team has worked diligently today to get our commercial seaport fully operational,” said Port General Manager Rory J. Respicio. “The Port’s recovery from this typhoon is a result of the dedicated Port Strong employees and the tremendous amount of support received from Governor Lou Leon Guerrero, Lt. Governor Josh Tenorio, our Board, our federal and local partners, and industry partners.”

The Port Authority of Guam was reopened at 12 p.m. today along with the Hågat and Hagåtña marinas after the U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port issued the all-clear to open from the waterway perspective and Port General Manager Respicio immediately issued the all-clear from the dockside.

The Matson Lurline was the first ship to arrive following Typhoon Bolaven. The vessel began making its way dockside at 5 p.m. today.

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