ATLANTIC HURRICANE SEASON (Update 1)
The Atlantic Hurricane Season began June 1, 2020 and will run through November 30, 2020. During this timeframe, the assigned port condition (PORTCON) will remain PORTCON IV and the port status will remain OPEN for all ports and waterways within the Sector Charleston Captain of the Port Zone. These waters are identified in 33 CFR 3.35-15 and lie between the intersection of the North Carolina – South Carolina boarder and the northern bank of the Savannah River.
In the event of forecasted tropical storm force winds (sustained winds of 34 kts/39 mph or greater) from a tropical cyclone, the Sector Charleston Captain of the Port (COTP) will coordinate with the Heavy Weather Advisory Group (HWAG) to evaluate port preparation and changes in port condition.
The HWAG consists of maritime transportation system professionals local to the Sector Charleston Captain of the Port Zones, providing input on local operations and coordination for overall port well-being in response to severe weather events.
The COTP will announce changes to port conditions via a Marine Safety Information Bulletin (MSIB) and a Broadcast Notice to Mariners when forecasted tropical storm force winds (sustained winds of 34 kts/39 mph or greater) from a tropical cyclone threaten South Carolina. These port conditions are as follows:
Forecasted Hours Prior to Tropical Storm Force Winds Port Condition Measures in Effect
1 DEC – 31 MAY
General. Port status is OPEN.
1 JUN – 30 NOV
Hurricane seasonal alert. Industry to review heavy weather plans. Port status is OPEN.
The COTP will assess lay-up and mooring plans, meet with stakeholders, and conduct port assessments. Port status is OPEN.
The COTP will finalize review of lay-up and mooring plans, hold further meetings with stakeholders, and continue port assessments. Port Status is OPEN.
The COTP may restrict vessel movements, including stopping inbound vessel traffic, and cargo operations. Port status is OPEN with RESTRICTIONS.
The COTP may restrict all vessel movements, including stopping inbound and outbound vessel traffic, and cargo operations. Port status is CLOSED.
OPEN or OPEN with RESTRICTIONS
Prior to authorizing vessel movements and cargo operations, the COTP will conduct a risk analysis based on actual weather observed and port assessments, which may include verifications of aids to navigation, channel hazards, waterfront facility damage, and vessel accountability.
All vessels, waterfront facilities, and marinas should review their heavy weather plans. Please take into account that drawbridges may not open for vessel traffic when sustained wind speeds reach 25 mph or during land evacuations. Vessels or oceangoing barges greater than 500 gross tons that are unable to go to sea are required to submit heavy weather plans to the COTP. The request form can be obtained from Sector Charleston’s HOMEPORT internal site at https://homeport.uscg.mil/port-directory/charleston. All requests should be submitted to D07-PF-SECTORCHASN-WWM@uscg.mil. The COTP will carefully evaluate vessels requesting to remain in port. Submission alone of a Remain in Port Request does not grant approval from the COTP.
From December 1, 2020 through May 31, 2021, the threat of severe weather decreases. PORTCON V with a port status of OPEN will be in effect. This, however, does not prevent the COTP from changing port conditions in the event of forecasted severe weather.
For HWAG or waterway specific questions, please contact (843) 323-7761. For facility and foreign vessel specific questions, please contact (843) 740-3186. For domestic vessel specific questions, please contact (843) 754-2076. For Coast Guard related emergencies, please contact Sector Charleston Command Center at (843) 740-7050.
This MSIB can be viewed at https://homeport.uscg.mil/port-directory/charleston.