Coast Guard sets port condition for Florida panhandle

MOBILE, Ala. – The Coast Guard has closed the following ports today and provided guidelines as a precaution to the possible effects of Tropical Storm Fay on the Gulf Coast along the Florida panhandle and Alabama coast.

1) All ocean going commercial vessels and Coast Guard regulated barges over 300 gross tons (GT) within the port should review their mooring arrangements to ensure adequacy for the anticipated wind and tidal conditions. The COTP will continue to monitor port activity, which may include: cessation of facility operations, closure of portions of rivers, and the ICW. Bridge closures are possible but not anticipated throughout the area of responsibility.

(2) Cargo transfer operations may continue. Vessel and facility operators should be take adequate precautions in planning cargo operation within the next 72 hours. Oil and hazardous material containment areas could become reduced by collected rainfall.

(3) By this marine safety information bulletin (MSIB), the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW) from mile marker 300 to mile marker 275 (East, St. Andrews, and West Bays) are closed to all vessel traffic, and the Port of Panama City is closed to vessel arrivals and departures, beginning 4:00 a.m., Saturday, August 23, 2008.

(4) By this MSIB, all waters from mile marker 250 to mile marker 225 (Choctawhatchee Bay, Destin Pass, and Rocky, Boggy, LaGrange Bayous) are closed to all vessel traffic, beginning at 8:00 a. m. Saturday, August 23, 2008.

(5) By this MSIB, the GIWW from mile marker 190 to mile marker 175 (Pensacola, Escambia Bays) will be closed to all vessel traffic, and the Port of Pensacola is closed to vessel arrivals and departures, beginning at 12:01 p.m., Saturday, August 23, 2008.

(6) By this MSIB, the GIWW from mile marker 150 to mile marker 100 (Bon Secour, Mobile Bay, and Mississippi Sound) are closed to all vessel traffic, and the Ports of Mobile and Pascagoula are closed to vessel arrivals and departures, beginning 12:01 a. m. Sunday, August 24, 2008.

(7) By this MSIB, the GIWW from mile marker 100 to mile marker 40 (Mississippi Sound to Pearl River) are closed to all vessel traffic, and the Port of Gulfport is closed to vessel arrivals and departures, beginning 6:00 a. m. Sunday, August 24, 2008.

(8) Any deviations from these closures require approval of the COTP Mobile. Specific exceptions may be made for vessel movement on a case by case basis. Contact Sector Mobile by phone to begin the request process.

(9) All other vessel movements will be minimal and coordinated with the COTP, local Port Authority, pilots, and facility owners.

Port facilities and mariners are cautioned that the COTP Mobile may quickly set heightened port statuses and further conditions as the situation develops.

Current information may be obtained from the Captain of the Port voice mail announcement system at phone number (251) 441-5080.

For further information contact Sector Mobile at (251) 441-5976.

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