A strengthening Hurricane Paula is expected to create heavy swells along the western and southern coasts of the Cayman Islands, the National Weather Service has warned.
The swells pose a threat to boating and beach activities in those areas.
As large swells suddenly appeared in George Town harbour early Tuesday afternoon, Cayman Islands Port Authority officials scrambled to get visiting cruise ship passengers back on board.
“It was flat calm this (Tuesday) morning,” said Port Operations Manager Joey Woods. “But as this storm gets more powerful, the waves just keep moving out from the centre.”
The weather service has issued a marine warning for watersports activities and other small
craft. All necessary action to ensure safety in these areas of activity should
According to Mr. Woods, part of the Royal Watler Cruise Terminal had to be closed down for cruise passenger safety. Some cruise shippers were being tendered from the George Town cargo dock because of the heavy swells.
“(The swells) were washing over part of the Royal Watler, that’s slowed us a bit,” he said.
All cruise ship passengers from the five ships in George Town port did get back to their vessels by late Tuesday afternoon.
There were no injuries reported from the evacuations by mid-afternoon Tuesday, however one woman apparently passed out from heat exhaustion in the terminal. She was treated at the scene, placed on a wheelchair and escorted safely back aboard her ship.
The Hazard Management Cayman Islands Unit advises the following:
*Avoid swimming on the
south and west coasts. Currents may be strong particularly around channels.
*Boaters should exercise
caution near the coast in these areas due to the possibility of a significant
*Exercise caution and stay
well back when observing large waves. Successive waves can vary substantially
in size and magnitude.