N.C. Coast Guard sets Port Condition X-RAY for Wilmington and Morehead City

ATLANTIC BEACH, N.C. – In preparation for the arrival of Tropical Storm Hanna, the Coast Guard in North Carolina has set port condition X-Ray for the Captain of the Port zone North Carolina. This zone encompasses the ports of Wilmington and Morehead City, the Atlantic Intra Coastal Waterway and all navigable inlets and waterways.

This readiness condition is set when gale force winds, 39 to 62 mph, are expected to arrive at the port within 48 hours.

Under condition X-Ray:

Ports should remove potential flying debris, hazardous materials and oil pollution hazards from dockside areas.

Coast Guard port survey teams patrol throughout critical and sensitive waterways looking for potentially high risk vessels or operations that could become a navigation hazard or environmental disaster with the passage of severe weather.

Oceangoing commercial vessels greater than 500 gross tons and all tank barges greater than 200 gross tons must prepare to depart the port.

Vessels that desire to remain in port must contact the Captain of the Port to request and receive permission.

As Tropical Storm Hanna approaches, the Coast Guard urges people to be mindful of the following safety tips:

– Stay Informed: The public should monitor the progress and strength of Hanna through local television, radio and Internet. Boaters can monitor its progress on VHF channel 16. Information can also be obtained on small craft advisories and warnings on VHF channel 16.

– Evacuate as Necessary: If mandatory evacuations are set for an area, the public is urged to heed evacuation orders. Coast Guard personnel and other emergency responders may not be able to evacuate those in danger during the storm.

– Secure your Belongings: Owners of larger boats are urged to move their boats to inland marinas where they will be less vulnerable to breaking free of their moorings or damage. Trailerable boats should be pulled from the water and stored in a place that is not prone to flooding. Those who are leaving their boats in the water are reminded to secure life rings, life jackets and small boats.

– Be Cautious of Hazardous Materials: If you have hazardous materials on or near the water you are responsible for any spills that may occur. Take the necessary precautions to secure them prior to any foul weather.

– Stay Clear of Beaches: Even the best swimmers can fall victim to the strong waves and rip currents caused by Hanna. Swimmers are urged to stay clear of beaches until local officials say the water is safe.

Mariners are reminded that drawbridges along the coast may deviate from normal operating procedures prior to a storm. They are generally authorized to remain closed up to eight hours prior to the approach of gale force winds of 34 knots or greater, and whenever an evacuation is ordered. Because of the uncertainty of weather movements and related bridge closures, mariners should seek early passage through drawbridges well in advance of the arrival of gale force winds.

When in doubt or in case of an emergency the public is encouraged to contact Coast Guard Sector North Carolina’s 24 hour emergency response center at: (252) 247-4570

For more information on the storm, visit the National Hurricane Center Web site http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/.

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