END OF 2020 ATLANTIC HURRICANE SEASON
The Atlantic Hurricane Season began June 1, 2020 and ran through November 30, 2020. During this timeframe, the threat of severe weather was increased and Port Condition (PORTCON) was set to PORTCON IV.
From December 1, 2020 through May 31, 2021, the threat of severe weather decreases. PORTCON V with a port status of OPEN for all ports and waterways within the Sector Charleston Captain of the Port (COTP) Zone is now in effect. These waters are identified in 33 CFR 3.35-15 and lie between the intersection of the North Carolina - South Carolina border and the northern bank of the Savannah River.
While the measures in effect are now general, this does not preclude the COTP from changing port conditions in the event of forecasted severe weather. These port conditions are as follows:
Forecasted Hours Prior to Tropical Storm Force Winds Port Condition Measures in Effect
1 DEC - 31 MAY Port Condition V General. Port status is OPEN.
1 JUN - 30 NOV Port Condition IV Hurricane seasonal alert. Industry to review heavy weather plans. Port status is OPEN.
72 hrs Port Condition WHISKEY The COTP will assess lay-up and mooring plans, meet with stakeholders, and conduct port assessments. Port status is OPEN.
48 hrs Port Condition X-RAY The COTP will finalize review of lay-up and mooring plans, hold further meetings with stakeholders, and continue port assessments. Port Status is OPEN.
24 hrs Port Condition YANKEE The COTP may restrict vessel movements, including stopping inbound vessel traffic, and cargo operations. Port status is OPEN with RESTRICTIONS.
12 hrs Port Condition ZULU The COTP may restrict all vessel movements, including stopping inbound and outbound vessel traffic, and cargo operations. Port status is CLOSED.
AFTER STORM PASSAGE Port is 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.
In the event of forecasted severe weather, the 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 COTP 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 severe weather threaten South Carolina.
Vessels, waterfront facilities, and marinas are recommended to take this opportunity of decreased threat of severe weather and evaluate heavy weather plans, anticipated vessel remain-in-port requests, avenues of evacuation, and local contact lists.
This MSIB can be viewed at https://homeport.uscg.mil/port-directory/charleston.