Port Canaveral is composed of three primary turning basins and facilities located along the east-west oriented Inner Reach of the Entrance Channel (Figure XXX-3). The Port is a multiple-use facility composed of cruise ship berths, cargo berths and U.S. Navy and Military Sealift Command berths. The West Turning Basin is used by Cruise ships and the U.S. Coast Guard. The Central Turning Basin is jointly used by commercial, U.S. Navy and MSC vessels. The Trident Turning Basin is used by U.S. Navy Fleet Ballistic Missile submarine forces. The berths situated on the Inner Reach of the Entrance Channel are used primarily by Cruise Ships, cargo ships and tankers. The U.S. Navy and Military Sealift Command facilities in the Central and Trident Turning Basins are of primary importance to this evaluation. Available berth specifications at Port Canaveral are listed in Table XXX-2.
According to Canaveral Pilots, the following are the maximum size vessels which can be turned in each of the three turning basins (Gregov, undated):
|West Turning Basin||Length Overall (LOA) 1,000 ft, draft 35 ft|
|Middle Turning Basin||LOA 1,000 ft, draft 39 ft|
|Trident (East) Turning Basin||LOA 900 ft, draft 41 ft|
It should be noted that shoaling may limit the drafts at any time. A vessel's beam is not a factor in turning in any basin.
Adequate tug boat assistance is available at Port Canaveral. Two 1,900 hp commercial tugs with 19-ton bollard-pull ratings are under contract by the U.S. Navy for the support of U.S. Navy and MSC vessels. The tugs are available 24 hours per day, seven days per week (Gregov, undated). The Port also has two additional commercial tugs that may be contracted for services. The use of tugs is not mandatory for U.S. Navy ships, but they are normally used for docking and undocking evolutions. For vessels without thrusters and winds no greater than 15 kt, it is recommended that 400 ft or longer vessels use a minimum of two tugs. Vessels 300-400 ft long should use at least one tug. Upon arrival, tugs will normally make fast to the vessel in the vicinity of the jetties extending seaward adjacent to Middle Reach. At departure, tugs will stand down at the jetties or sooner depending on the weather. Naval Ordnance Test Unit (NOTU) Port Operations is the coordinating authority for tug assignments.
In addition to the two contract tugs, a third passenger transfer vessel capable of accommodating up to 49 persons is under Navy contract. It is fendered for rendezvous with submarines only. With a maximum speed of 10 kt, it can conduct operations up to 100 nmi from the entrance channel buoys. For personnel transfer from surface vessels, one of the two contract tugs must be used. They can legally carry six or fewer passengers each, however.
Local harbor authorities state that whenever a hurricane threatens Port Canaveral, harbor tugs move through the locks at the west end of the Canaveral Barge Canal to safe haven in the Banana River. They make the transit before the bascule drawbridge on SR401 that crosses Canaveral Barge Canal is locked down to permit passage of evacuation route vehicular traffic. After a hurricane passage, the return of the tugs may be delayed until drawbridges across the Barge Canal just east of the locks are re-certified, power is restored and the bridges opened to allow watercraft passage. When closed, the vertical clearance in the center of the spans is 25 ft (7.6 m).
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been executed between NOTU and the Canaveral Port Authority concerning ship movement priority in Port Canaveral. The MOU assures equitable access to Port Canaveral for both military and civilian vessels. In general, the priorities for ship movements are: (1) Emergency movements; (2) Navy test ships and cruise liners; (3) Ships with time-sensitive cargo/operations or tide restricted movements; and (4) All other vessels on a first-come first-served basis. Naval ships will remain at sea or alongside the wharf unless specifically authorized clearance to enter or leave the port by the NOTU Port Operations Office (Gregov, undated).
The primary U.S. Navy facilities at Port Canaveral consist of the Trident Wharf on the east side of the Trident (East) Turning Basin, the Poseidon Wharf on the southeast side of the Central Turning Basin, and the Military Traffic Management Command (MTMC) Wharf on the north side of the Central Turning Basin (Figure XXX-3). Gregov, (undated) states: "The berths are designed to safely moor a vessel in winds up to 61 kt (70 mph). This does not mean it would be considered unsafe for a vessel to remain in the port if greater than 61-knot winds are expected, as several factors need to be considered such as shelter, wind direction, ship's anchors, vessel's speed in avoiding an approaching storm, condition of vessel's engineering plant/propulsion system, ballasting capabilities, manning, sail area, and other physical characteristics." The following information was provided by representatives of NOTU, Cape Canaveral.
Trident Wharf, constructed between 1975-1977, is an operational facility in support of the U.S. Navy Fleet Ballistic Missile Submarine Program. The wharf is 1,220 ft (372 m) long and 68 ft (21 m) wide. The wharf deck is 14 ft (4.25 m) above mean low water (MLW). Project depth at the wharf is 41 ft (12.5 m) at MLW. The wharf has three 60 ft (18.3 m) wide accesses and a rail-mounted 120-ton portal crane. The wharf is fitted with 18-inch double bitts at 15 locations and 42-inch cleats at 27 locations along the face of the wharf. An H-pile fender system is installed at 9 ft (2.75 m) spacing intervals along the face of the wharf. Four mooring dolphins are located behind the wharf next to the bulkhead wall. Each dolphin contains an 18-inch double bitt fixture. Trident Wharf and its mooring hardware were in good structural condition as of a comprehensive survey completed in 1996. Minor repairs to structural elements of the wharf were in progress as of early 1998. The pier is considered to be the strongest at Port Canaveral, but it is constructed specifically for submarine mooring. With adequate fendering, however, surface vessels can use the pier. Deep and shallow draft camels are used to prevent ship and wharf damage. It is thought that the camels will crush with an on-setting 25-30 kt wind, however. Local harbor authorities expressed concern that, since the current H-pile fender system extends only to the top of the wharf deck, the pile ends could rip open a surface vessel's hull with a strong on-setting wind. There is a need for very large Yokohama fenders, but the pier has none.
Poseidon Wharf was constructed between 1957 and 1959 to serve primarily as an operational facility for U.S. Navy Polaris submarines. The wharf is 1,220 ft (372 m) long and 58 ft (17.7 m) wide. The wharf deck is 10 ft (3 m) above MLW. Project depth at the wharf is 35 ft (10.7 m) at MLW. The wharf has three 60-61 ft (18.3-18.6 m) accesses, and one 20 ft (6.1 m) wide access. Poseidon Wharf has two rail-mounted portal cranes, one with 45-ton capacity and one with 25-ton capacity. The wharf is fitted with 24-inch bollards at 18 locations and 42-inch cleats at 17 locations along the face of the wharf. There are two mooring dolphins at the east end of the wharf. One dolphin is fitted with a single bollard, and the other is fitted with two bollards. A timber fender piling system is installed along the berthing face. Deep and shallow draft camels are used to prevent ship and wharf damage. It is thought that the camels will crush with an on-setting 25-30 kt wind. According to local harbor authorities, the pier needs very large Yokohama fenders, but has none. The same authorities state that Poseidon Wharf is considered to be in fair condition, with significant structural deterioration. Extensive structural repairs are scheduled for 1998 and 1999.
Fuel (Bunker "C" (#6 oil), MGO, and diesel) is available at Tanker Berth #1 (Figure XXX-3). Bunker "C" can also be delivered by barge to any berth in the harbor. Diesel fuel can be delivered by tank trucks to any berth. Several local vendors have trucks with capacities that range from 4,000 to 7,500 gallons. NOTU regulations state that no fueling will take place at the Navy wharves unless prior permission is obtained from NOTU, and only then in case of emergency or if adequate justification accompanies the request (Gregov, undated).
According to Gregov (undated), all ships docking at Port Canaveral will moor with their bow to the sea to expedite departure.
The anchorage for Port Canaveral is located in 56 ft (17 m) of water at 28°17'N, 80°30'W, or approximately 5.7 nmi from Buoys 3 and 4 on a bearing of 164°. The holding quality on the sand bottom is not specified. The anchorage is exposed and vulnerable to wind and waves, and would be unsuitable as a hurricane anchorage. An uncharted anchorage for vessels waiting for berth assignment is 1 nmi south of entrance Buoy #3. Anchoring is not permitted in the turning basins or channels (Gregov, undated).
There are no general repair facilities at Port Canaveral. Limited emergency repairs may be contracted with commercial firms.