The Customs and Border Protection facility on St. John will be closed for several more days while the Virgin Islands Port Authority replaces the trailer that has served as a temporary office for CBP since June 2018.
Private vessels and local charter companies are being diverted to the facilities in Red Hook or the waterfront at Charlotte Amalie for several more days, according to Jeffrey Quinones, public affairs officer for Customs and Border Protection in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
“We’re switching to a new trailer. They’re now hooking up the electricity and plumbing. We should be done by this weekend,” Quinones said.
The Cruz Bay Customs facility closed on Sunday, Oct.13, with little notice other than an announcement on the Virgin Islands Port Authority’s Facebook page on Monday, Oct. 14.
The Cruz Bay Customs and Border Protection building at the entrance to the Creek was destroyed by Hurricane Irma in September 2017. A new building in the same location is under construction, but Quinones could not provide a date for completion.
The installation of the temporary trailer at a nearby location nine months after the hurricane was a relief to St. John charter boat companies; they no longer were required to make an additional round trip from Cruz Bay to Red Hook to clear in following trips to the British Virgin Islands.
Ferry boats departing from the British Virgin Islands must continue to clear in at Red Hook or downtown Charlotte Amalie.
Pleasure boat operators entering U.S. Virgin Islands waters from the British Virgin Islands or other Caribbean islands can use a phone app known as ROAM – Reporting Offsite Arrival-Mobile – to begin the process of clearing in. The app can be downloaded on all types of mobile phones and tablets. Those who do not use the app are required to call into the port directly.
“We’re ironing out a [similar] process for British Virgin Islands charters,” Quinones said, adding that the public would be notified when it is operable.