MARINE SAFETY INFORMATION BULLETIN 12-17
2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season
The Atlantic Hurricane Season begins June 1, 2017 and officially runs through November 30th, 2017. Accordingly, the Captain of the Port (COTP) Charleston has implemented the following measures throughout all of South Carolina's ports:
1. When tropical storm force winds (sustained winds of 39 mph/34 kts or greater) threaten the Ports of South Carolina, the COTP will set heavy weather port conditions and modify (or stop) vessel traffic movements. The COTP will announce changes to port conditions via a Marine Safety Information Bulletin (MSIB) and a Broadcast Notice to Mariners (BNM). Heavy weather port conditions are as follows:
WHISKEY- (72 hours prior to tropical force winds) This condition is set when tropical storm force winds
(39 mph/34 kts) or greater are expected within 72 hours. Major actions include reassessing lay-up plans, meeting with stakeholders and conducting port assessments.
X-RAY-(48 hours prior to tropical force winds) This condition is set when tropical storm force winds
(39 mph/34 kts) or greater are expected within 48 hours. The COTP will finalize review of lay-up plans, assess the port and hold further meetings with stakeholders.
YANKEE- (24 hours prior to tropical force winds) This condition is set when tropical storm force winds
(39 mph/34 kts) or greater are expected within 24 hours. The COTP will implement vessel movement restrictions including stopping inbound vessel traffic.
ZULU- (12 hours prior to tropical force winds) This condition is set when tropical storm force winds
(39 mph/34 kts) or greater are expected within 12 hours. The COTP will stop vessel and cargo movements.
AFTER STORM PASSAGE- (all clear) The port will be re-opened after a satisfactory assessment has been completed of the ports and waterways, including critical aids to navigation.
2. All vessels, waterfront facilities, and marinas should review their heavy weather plans. When planning for vessel evacuations, please take into account that drawbridges may not be operating when sustained wind speeds reach 25 mph. Also, if the Governor of South Carolina orders a land evacuation, you should anticipate that drawbridges will not open for vessel traffic. Furthermore, services from pilot associations and commercial tug companies may not be immediately available to assist during port evacuations. Your heavy weather plan should account for these factors to facilitate timely and decisive actions prior to the onset of threatening winds.
3. Due to their geographical features, the Ports of Charleston and Georgetown are not considered safe havens from tropical storms. All vessels greater than 500 gross tons that are unable to put to sea are required to have a heavy weather plan on file with the COTP Charleston. Please contact the Sector Charleston 24-hour Command Center line at: (843) 740-7050 for more information on obtaining approval to remain in port.
4. Port Recovery: The COTP will coordinate with local and federal stakeholders to resume port operations in a safe and timely manner. This effort will include the surveying of aids to navigation, shipping channels, and port facility infrastructure to ensure both safe navigation and the safety and security of waterfront facilities. The Maritime Association of South Carolina will stand-up a Port Emergency Information Center (PEIC) to assist with disseminating information. More information about the PEIC can be obtained from the Maritime Association of South Carolina at: http://www.maritimesc.org/.
5. The COTP Charleston Hurricane Port Plan is available at: http://homeport.uscg.mil/charleston and is filed under "Local Contingency Plans". For additional information on contingency preparedness issues, please contact the Sector Charleston 24-hour Command Center line at: (843) 740-7050.
Click here for the complete MSIB.