Port Condition Zulu set for North Carolina ports

5th Coast Guard District News

WILMINGTON, N.C. — The Captain of the Port for Sector North Carolina and the Captain of the Port for the Cape Fear River have set condition Zulu for all commercial waterways in North Carolina effective 8 a.m. Friday in preparation for Hurricane Irene.

Gale force winds are expected within 12 hours. A safety zone for all the inland waters, coastal inlets and territorial seas from Little River Inlet to the North Carolina-Virginia border has been established. The ports of Wilmington and Morehead City are closed to all inbound and outbound traffic. No vessel may enter, depart or transit within this safety zone without the permission of the Captain of the Port.

1. All cargo and bunker handling operations must cease at this time.

2. A safety zone has been established prohibiting vessel movement and activities unless specifically authorized by the Captain of the Port. Permission for vessels to move within the port may be granted up to 12 hours before the arrival of hurricane force winds of 64 knots or 74 mph at Frying Pan Shoals Lighted Buoy 16 for the port of Wilmington, or at Cape Lookout Shoals Lighted Buoy 2, light list number 680, for the port of Morehead City.

3. All commercial vessel and barge operators who have received permission from the Captain of the Port to remain in port must be at their mooring site in accordance with their plan.

4. Vessels bound for these ports are advised to seek an alternate destination.

Mariners are also advised that drawbridges will remain closed when wind speeds are 34 knots 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.

All Coast Guard small boat stations have secured operations in anticipation of the hurricane. The Coast Guard once again urges boaters to stay off the water.

For guidance on specific issues or to obtain vessel applications to remain in port, contact Sector North Carolina at 252-247-4570.

Visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s website at http://www.ready.gov/ to stay informed and for tips on how to prepare and plan for severe weather.

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