Entering the port of Veracruz, Mexico

Entering Veracruz

Veracruz (19°12’N   96°07’W), the capital of the state of Veracruz, is situated in the Bay of Campeche, an arm of the Gulf of Mexico and it is the principal port of Mexico. It is a mainly artificial harbor, about one mile in length, which is sheltered by coral reefs and handles port container and cargo vessels.

The port of Veracruz is encircled by a number of reefs, out at a distance of 4 ½ miles from the harbor entrance. The reefs are covered by breaking seas, but some of them are very difficult to distinguish, especially in calm seas. Two pilots are normally boarding the vessel 1 mile SE of Isla Verde – one doing the maneuver from the bridge, the other supervising from the forward station. The vessel is approaching the port, taking the route which passes between Isla Verde (on starboard side) and Arrecife Pajaros  (on portside).

Veracruz Mexico - Chart entering

Isla Verde, approaching Veracruz MexicoIsla Verde

Veracruz Mexico - Isla sacrificios Arrecife Pajaros– Arrecife Pajaros –

The city of Boca del Rio can be admired on the left side and further on the city of Veracruz. Inside the port, right on starboard side, there is an old fortress – San Juan de Ulua – very popular among the tourists who are coming here in organized boat trips from the city. The port container terminal is close to the fortress where a few big blue gantries are located. There is a possibility for port container vessels to dock in another terminal – situated on the left side of the port, in some small basins, where there are only mobile cranes available. If the vessel is docking in one of these basins from the left, the maneuver is a little more complicated, but, nevertheless interesting.

Extract from HS Bach logbook:

” Saturday, 2 nd June 2013


Entering the Port of Veracruz was very interesting and difficult (from my point of view). Only in Port Deseado, Argentina, I’ve seen a more complicated berthing maneuver. Our berth is located inside the port, in a small basin on the left side (Muelle 6) and we had to pass close to few other berthing places before getting inside. The vessel had to take a very fast and sudden turn to the left and enter the basin where it finally came portside alongside. A similar maneuver would have been difficult on the street with a long truck as main character, but, with a 245 meter long ship it was quite challenging. As usual, we had two tugs helping us make the turn – both of them staying on the starboard side, one forward pushing and the other pulling in the aft. After making the complete turn and the vessel was more or less parallel with the berth, both tugs started to push the vessel toward the berth until it finally came into position and it stopped only 20 meters before the end of the basin.

Entering the Port of Veracruz Mexico


Getting alongside in the port of Veracruz Mexico

Getting alongside in Veracruz Mexico

Getting in position alongside in Veracruz Mexico

Veracruz Mexico getting alongside

Opposite our vessel there is a small place available for a smaller vessel, but I don’t think it will be used today, because I’ve seen many other berthing places available in the port. In this area there are no big gantries available, but only some small and mobile cranes which can move alongside our vessel to unload and load the containers.’

If the berthing place is situated on the right side of the port (Terminal ICAVE), close to the fortress, the maneuver is much easier and faster, as it only needs a slow approaching and getting starboard side alongside with the help of a pushing tug from the portside bow. The second tug is only assisting from the aft.

Veracruz Mexico approaching the pier

Getting alongside in Veracruz Mexico

Veracruz Mexico - getting alongside

More interesting is, anyhow, the departure from the pier as it includes going astern a certain distance and a complete swing to the right before leaving the port and continuing the passage between the same islands – Isla Verde (on the left) and Arrecife Pajaros (on the right).




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5 Responses to Entering the port of Veracruz, Mexico

  1. I loved the blog, Veracruz is my hometown, thanks for posting.

  2. Everytime I visit my hometown [last time 2012] I go there and have a “torta de pierna” and a dozen of XX Amber!

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