Coast Guard Sector New Orleans sets Port Condition Zulu as Hurricane Isaac approaches

America's Heartland Coast Guard NewsNEW ORLEANS – Coast Guard Sector New Orleans Captain of the Port has set Port Condition Zulu, closing the Mississippi River to vessel traffic from Baton Rouge to the mouth of the river Tuesday.

During Port Condition Zulu, sustained gale force winds are predicted within 12 hours. The port will remain closed to all incoming and outgoing vessel traffic until otherwise directed by the captain of the port.

“The few vessels that are still underway need to reach safe moorings as soon as possible,” said Capt. Peter Gautier, commanding officer of Sector New Orleans, “This storm should not be taken lightly.”

The Coast Guard established an incident management team Thursday and an incident command post Monday. During the weekend, the Coast Guard required ships, tugboats, and barges to move upriver to more secure mooring locations and began the evacuation of canals adjacent to the city. A safety zone was established below mile marker 71 on the Mississippi River to move barges and tows upriver or enact Coast Guard approved mooring plans.

Coast Guard helicopters and small boats have been moved to safe locations and will be positioned for post-storm operations. The Coast Guard is ready to conduct search and rescue missions, respond to and mitigate threats to public health and the environment, and work to re-open the port as safely and quickly as possible. Rescue assistance may be severely degraded or unavailable immediately before and during a storm. The public is reminded to monitor local and national weather sources, take early action to ensure their own safety, call for help as soon as it is needed, and heed the warnings and notifications of local, state, and federal authorities.

Owners and operators of recreational vessels should follow the small craft advisories from the National Weather Service and take necessary measures to safeguard the safety of their vessels. To call for help, boaters should activate their ERIRB or use their vessel’s marine radio. The public is strongly urged to stay off of the water during hurricane and tropical storm conditions.

The captain of the port will provide updates via VHF-FM channel 16 marine radio through Coast Guard New Orleans Broadcast Notice to Mariners. For any marine emergencies, contact the Sector New Orleans Command Center at 504-365-2200 or the Sector New Orleans Incident Management Team at 504-365-2581.


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