The V.I. Port Authority and V.I. Emergency Operations Command confirmed a first-hand report Wednesday that the St. Thomas-St. John ferry has resumed limited service between the islands. Commercial flights are tentatively set to resume at Cyril E. King Airport on St. Thomas on Saturday, Sept. 16, and flights are already being booked in anticipation. Mail service to St. Thomas and St. John has not resumed, but the U.S. Postal Service is working on making some sort of arrangement, possibly within a week or so.
Paige Cope of St. John reported Wednesday morning that ferries were scheduled to depart from Cruz Bay, St. John to Red Hook, St. Thomas at noon and 3 p.m., and from St. Thomas to St. John at 1:30 and 5:30 p.m. V.I. Port Authority personnel confirmed that ships were running, but cautioned not to expect specific arrival and departure times. The normal office is closed, but there are signs directing passengers to an alternate temporary office by where the barges normally load, according to VIPA. V.I. Emergency Operations Command also confirmed limited ferry service is now running.
Cope also reported the Mrs. B Barge has been making trips to haul away garbage and debris.
Meanwhile, VIPA reported Monday that the Cyril E. King Airport on St. Thomas, which received extensive damage in the storm, is tentatively expected to resume daily commercial flights on Saturday, Sept. 16. Since then, the Source has confirmed that at least one airline- American Airlines – is in fact booking passengers on flights to St. Thomas, in anticipation.
Call individual airlines for more information.
— American Airlines: 1-800-433-7300;
— Cape Air: 1-800-352-0714;
— Delta Airlines: 1-800-221-1212;
— Jet Blue: 1-800-538-2583;
— Seaborne Airlines: 1-800-359-8687;
— Spirit Airlines: 1-800-772-7117;
— United Airlines: 1-800-864-8331;
— US Airways: 1-800-428-4322.
No post offices are open either on St. Thomas or St. John yet, but the U.S. Postal Service is working on setting up something to allow mail distribution in the near future, possibly in a few days or a week or so.
The main post office and other post offices in the St. Thomas-St. John district have been damaged and the buildings need to be assessed before employees or mail can come in.
“They have postal inspectors on the ground to assess the facilities and make sure we are not putting customers or employees at risk by entering the buildings,” U.S. Postal Service representative Maureen Marion told the Source Wednesday.
Most St. Thomas customers have post office boxes, and if a building is not sound, mail may not be safely put in the boxes. “If you have one, if the mail is wet, that is a concern,” Marion said.
Transportation has been restricted to humanitarian purposes, but the Postal Service is working both on getting transportation in. Officials have looked at a couple of potential locations where tents and tables might be set up for temporary distribution.
Meanwhile, the ongoing curfew affects postal employees too, limiting the time available to work, she said.
Mail that has already been sent to St. Thomas and St. John is “in the pipeline” and being staged prior to delivery, and if people stateside send mail now, it will be held and delivered at the first opportunity, she said.
There should be progress soon, but there is no definite date or location for St. Thomas or St. John mail yet.
“We are close but I can’t say how close,” Marion said.