THE Port of Wellington remained partially closed as of Friday, after sustaining heavy damage in the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that struck the South Island of New Zealand early on Monday.
CentrePort Wellington Chief Executive Derek Nind said shortly after the quake, “We have sustained damage to buildings and the port and also some liquefaction and differential settlement in places, we understand this is inconvenient for customers and tenants and we’ll provide updates when we know more; our primary focus is safety.”
The earthquake caused two deaths and a significant amount of damage across the country, hampered by stormy weather following Monday morning’s major tremor.
The New Zealand Herald quoted an unidentified port worker describing a massive crack forming across the main King’s Wharf. “It was just panic stations, water was coming up from the wharf, and we had about five seconds to evacuate.”
Photos of the port showed heavy damage to the wharfs and roadways as a result of the quake.
A statement posted to the Port’s website on Wednesday said that some parts of the port complex had been reopened, including the ferry terminal, the Seaview oil terminal, and one rail line to move freight away the port.
The statement added that another wharf would be opened “soon,” and that engineers were assessing other damaged areas. Late on Thursday, the Port Authority declared an exclusion zone around the port, prohibiting boat traffic in order to give inspectors access to the wharves.
CentrePort said that ship berthing was possible, however, “with clearance from the Harbor Master.”