FORT BUCHANAN, Puerto Rico – The Puerto Rico National Guard (PRNG) is providing essential cargo ferry service to the islands of Vieques and Culebra, replacing two vessels with mechanical problems.
Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vazquez Garced activated the Guard after Maritime Transport Authority (MTA) vessels Cayo Largo and Isleño suffered mechanical failure during the weekend. That interrupted the supply of heavy cargo, products and provisions to both islands.
"As has been our purpose and mission for the last 100 years, the PRNG is ready to respond to the call and support the people of Puerto Rico when in need," said Maj. Gen. Jose J. Reyes, adjutant general.
Reyes said 15 Soldiers would transport all essential goods to the islands "until the regular cargo ferry service is fully operational again."
The PRNG Landing Craft Detachment operates four vessels from its base in Roosevelt Roads, Ceiba. Each ship can transport up to 60 tons in its 620 square foot cargo space – enough for all required material and personnel.
The trip to Culebra takes one and a half hours, while transportation to Vieques takes one hour, depending on sea conditions.
"We are honored to serve the people of Puerto Rico in this capacity and to meet the needs of Vieques and Culebra," said Reyes. "We will gladly continue until the maritime transportation to the municipalities returns to normal."
The PRNG is authorized to transport heavy cargo, provisions, vehicles and people to both island municipalities.