WILMINGTON, N.C. — The Coast Guard urges mariners and members of the maritime community across North Carolina to prepare for Hurricane Matthew as Condition Yankee is set for North Carolina Waterways.
The Captain of the Port (COTP) has set condition Yankee for all waterways in the North Carolina COTP Zone in preparation for the anticipated weather impact of Hurricane Matthew.
The Port of Wilmington is closed to all inbound traffic. No vessel may enter the Port of Wilmington without the permission of the COTP. As a reminder, all cargo and bunker handling operations shall cease upon the setting of Port Condition Zulu 12 hours prior to the arrival of gale force winds (39 mph) and above.
1. All self-propelled oceangoing vessels over 500GT, all oceangoing barges and their supporting tugs, and all tank barges over 200GT departing the Port of Wilmington must schedule their departure to clear the Cape Fear River Entrance Lighted Whistle Buoy “CF” (LLNR 860) upon the setting of Port Condition Zulu.
2. All commercial vessels and barges that have received permission from the COTP to remain in the Port of Wilmington must be at their site in accordance with their application as approved by the Captain of the Port upon the setting of Port Condition Zulu. Movement within the port is allowed, including towing vessels and assist vessels.
3. Vessels bound for the Port of Wilmington shall seek an alternative destination.
Mariners are also advised that drawbridges will remain closed when wind speeds are 39 mph or greater or once evacuations begin. Because of the uncertainty of weather movements and related bridge closures, mariners are urged to seek passage through drawbridges well in advance of the arrival of gale force winds.
Pleasure craft owners are advised to seek safe harbor. Owners of larger boats are urged to move their boats to inland marinas where they are less vulnerable to breaking free of their moorings or sustaining damage. Trailerable boats should be pulled from the water and stored in a place not prone to flooding.
Those who are leaving their boats in the water are reminded to secure the life rings, emergency beacons, life jackets and small boats. If not secured properly, these items can break free and divert valuable search and rescue resources, which could preclude them from assisting people who may be in actual distress.
The Captain of the Port in each area in the projected path of Hurricane Matthew is working closely with maritime industry to ensure that the port is ready for the hurricane’s arrival. For guidance on specific issues or to obtain a vessel application to remain in port, contact the Sector North Carolina Command Center at the following number: (910)-772-3880.
A vessel remaining in port checklist may be obtained via the internet at https://homeport.uscg.mil. Once on homeport, select North Carolina in the Port Directory. The checklist is located under the “Local Contingency Plans,” header.
Visit www.nhc.noaa.gov for more information on Hurricane Matthew and its projected path.