Muscat: Authorities at the Salalah Port disclosed that they were hoping to get the facility partly running soon, as dignitaries visited the port.
Minister of Transport and Communications Ahmed Al Futaisi, Asyad Group CEO Abdulrahman Salim Al Hatmi, among other officials visited the port to take stock of the situation after the cyclonic storm Mekunu lashed the coast of Dhofar.
General Manager of Corporate Affairs at Salalah Port Mohammed Al Mashani said that the port had suffered extensive damage, adding that ceaseless work was underway to make the port operational again.
“The damage is, of course, extensive, but we are still assessing the extent of it. Obviously, it was a very powerful cyclone. We’ll know more once we are done with our assessment exercise. Our priority is to get the power back up. Hopefully, it will be gradually running in another 24 hours. We’ll see where it goes in another 48 hours as we are still cleaning our equipment,” Mashani said.
“Ahmed Al Futaisi and Abdulrahman Al Hatmi visited the Salalah free zone to oversee the efforts of the operators to restart the port operations and to ensure the safety of the workers and port users,” the official Twitter handle of the Ministry of Transport and Communications said. Futaisi was briefed about the relief operations and how officials hoped they would make the port fully operational again.
Mashani added that there had been no container vessels near the dock when the cyclone struck, but rather only dhows remained.
“Dhows that had remained have sustained significant damage, but we don’t know for sure the number of vessels that were damaged or those sunk.
It’ll take some time for us to figure these things out as we’re still assessing the damage,” he said. The official disclosed that port authorities had rescued sailors before the storm hit the coast, saving many lives. “Salalah Port authorities worked along with the coast guard to rescue roughly 250 or so sailors, and were fairly systematic in their rescue efforts in such a trying situation. We also put up these rescued people in a shelter, along with some of our own employees. Hopefully, the port will be up and running soon,” Mashani said.