US base in Guantanamo cleans up after Sandy
GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba (AP) – Crews restored downed power lines and cleared debris at the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay on Thursday, following a brush with Hurricane Sandy.
The storm knocked out power to much of the base, damaged roofs and windows on some of the older buildings and damaged a marina and tore several small, private recreational boats loose from their moorings. There were no injuries, said Kelly Wirfel, a spokeswoman for the base, which has a population of about 5,500.
The storm also forced the cancellation of the final day of what was supposed to be a three-day hearing on pretrial motions involving the Guantanamo prisoner who is charged with orchestrating the 2000 attack on the Navy destroyer USS Cole. The hearing is tentatively scheduled to resume in December.
The base didn’t get the full brunt of the storm. Sustained winds were below hurricane strength at 54 mph, with a maximum gust of 66 mph, Wirfel said. That was enough to damage the corrugated steel roofs on some older buildings.
There was no damage to the prison buildings that hold 166 prisoners, said Navy Capt. Robert Durand, a spokesman for the detention center.
Troops were confined to quarters during the storm and for several hours afterward as roads were closed to all but emergency personnel. But the restrictions were lifted and the base was returning to normal operations.