Sandy affecting the East Coast. Coast Guard sets port condition Zulu for the coastal waters of Virginia and Maryland…
At about 10:00 am yesterday we received the following announcement from the public affairs office of Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads in Portsmouth, Virginia.
The Coast Guard captain of the port has set Port Condition Zulu for the coastal waters of the eastern shore of Maryland and Virginia Saturday due to the approach of Hurricane Sandy.
Condition Zulu means gale force winds are possible within 12 hours.
In order to safeguard vessels, ports and waterfront facilities from damage due to Hurricane Sandy, the captain of the port is establishing a temporary safety zone that will close the coastal waters of the eastern shores of Virginia and Maryland from Cape Charles Light, Va. to the border of Maryland and Delaware and out 12 nautical miles. The safety zone is in effect from 8 a.m. Sunday until weather subsides and verification of all navigational aids is complete.
Port Condition X-RAY remains in effect for all other waters within the Hampton Roads Zone including the ports of Hampton Roads and the Virginia waters of the Chesapeake Bay.
Facility operators and agents should contact Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads at 757-638-6641 to request permission for vessels to enter the port.
It is primarily the facility operator’s decision to allow vessels to remain moored during the passing of the hurricane. Facilities that do not allow vessels to remain moored must provide them with sufficient notice to allow the vessels time to move to a safe mooring, hurricane anchorage or to depart to sea.
Facilities and vessels should communicate with each other regarding their plans. Facility operators should continue making preparations to ensure all loose cargo, cargo equipment and debris are safely secured. All vessel moorings should be reinforced.
Anchored vessels should prepare for severe winds. Additional anchors should be made ready to let go, and preparations should be made to have a continuous anchor watch. Also, boaters shall monitor VHF-FM channel 16.
The Coast Guard urges the public to listen to weather information available from other sources and not call the Coast Guard for weather-related information. For additional information on the storm, visit the National Hurricane Center site at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/. Boaters can monitor its progress on NOAA weather radio.
Information can also be obtained on small craft advisories and warnings on VHF-FM channel 22A.
Mariners can view the latest port updates for Hampton Roads on the Coast Guard’s Homeport site. Call 757-668-5555, option three, to reach the port condition hotline for a recorded message of current hurricane conditions.
The Port of Hampton Roads Maritime Heavy Weather Contingency Plan explains all port conditions and is available at http://homeport.uscg.mil/mycg/portal/ep/portDirectory.do?tabId=1&cotpId=26.
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.