The cruise ship idea is dead.
As the Port of Fernandina master planning process drew toward a close March 8, the big news was that all mention of cruise ship traffic has been removed from the plan, with the approval of all five members of the port’s oversight commission.
Other concerns raised by citizens at the meeting are still up in the air:
— Break bulk cargo consisting of big, two-ton bags of Portland cement powder. A shipload of it is currently stored in the port, in the open. Most of it is tarped, but lightly secured. The first wind storm with 40 mph gusts will create problems. In addition, there have been several bag ruptures – some recorded by neighbors. The sight of employees sweeping up concrete dust is a common one for nearby residents. Portland cement powder is a federally-listed toxic substance that can create respiratory illness after repeated exposure. Federal health advice is that indoor storage is ideal, but outdoor storage should be covered, and workers should be trained and equipped to handle it with great care.
— A more long-range plan of shipping urea-based fertilizer. This fertilizer is not listed as a toxic substance and is not volatile. But it stinks if not tightly sealed in its containers.
Some new, but vague, language has been added to the master plan about encouraging other, greener, more environmentally friendly break bulk cargo.
The commission delayed its original plan to vote on the plan at the March 8 meeting. Instead, the red-line edits made at that meeting are available on the port web site for public viewing until its April 12 meeting. The commission now intends to vote on the edited master plan at that meeting.