Port of Durres
Durres seaport was essential for the movement of heavy military equipment and humanitarian aid into Albania. When AFOR arrived the port had a capacity of 8 ships per day. AFOR quickly established a Port Management Co-ordination Centre, in conjunction with civil harbour authorities, which planned and co-ordinated the flow of military and civilian vessels, as well as facilitating the management of the throughput of humanitarian aid. This improved ship turn around times, allowing 12 to be off-loaded daily. AFOR also improved the road network within the port area and established 120,000 square metres of secure storage and marshalling areas for equipment, containers and personnel. This effort involved the reclamation of large areas that had previously been used to dump industrial by-products and scrap metal.
The Port of Durrės is located at the north end of the Bay of Durrės (Gjiri I Durrėsit), an extensive body of water entered between Kala e Turrės (41°09'N 19°26'E) and Cape Durrės (Kepi I Durrėsit) (41°19'N 19°26'E). Cape Durrės is located approximately 1 nmi west of the Port of Durrės.
Anchorage for U.S. Navy and other deep draft ships can be made on a mud bottom in depths of 26-43 ft (8-13 m) approximately ½ nmi (0.9 km) south-southeast of Cape Durrės. Although the harbor can accommodate ships as large as 4,000 tons, large U.S. Navy ships normally anchor out rather than occupy valuable commercial pier space. Ships with drafts of 21.3 ft (6.5 m) or less can anchor east of the channel. Local harbor authorities state that holding is good on a sand bottom, but ships may drag anchor in winds greater than 39 kt (20 ms -¹).
The seaward end of the initial approach channel to Durrės lies south-southwest of the harbor. Small ships may not be required to use the channel for its entire length, but to avoid danger, all vessels should be in the channel by the time 19°24'E longitude is reached. Lighted buoys, using what is locally called the "Yellow System," mark the final 2.1 nmi long entrance channel to the Port of Durrės. The minimum width of the channel is 50 yd (46 m). Because of hidden dangers, vessels with drafts greater than 21.3 ft (6.5 m) must stay in the marked channel. Vessels with drafts of 21.3 ft (6.5 m) or less can enter safely by keeping all of the channel buoys on the port side of the ship until Buoy #1 is reached. The controlling depth in the entrance channel is not exactly known because, as of a May 1998 port visit, it had not been dredged in recent years. As a result, access to the Port of Durrės is limited to vessels with drafts of 26.25 ft (8 m) or less.
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