MOREHEAD CITY, N.C. (WNCT) — On Tuesday, the U.S. Coast Guard set Port Condition X-Ray for the Ports of Morehead City and Wilmington, and explained how boaters should prepare if they plan to remain in the port during Hurricane Dorian.
In Marine Safety Information Bulletin 014-19, issued Wednesday, the Coast Guard said it expects Gale Force winds (34 knots or 39 mph) to reach Frying Pan Shoals Lighted Buoy 16 (LLNR 835) within 48 hours of the time of this post (Tuesday).
Coast Guard officials said all pleasure craft in or near the port should seek safe harbor.
To enter, transit, or remain within the Port Zone in Morehead City or Wilmington, vessels must comply with the following requirements:
1. All self-propelled oceangoing vessels over 500GT, all oceangoing barges and their supporting tugs, and all tank barges over 200GT desiring to remain in the Ports of Morehead City and Wilmington must immediately submit in writing to the COTP an application to remain in port for approval.
2. All self-propelled oceangoing vessels over 500GT, all oceangoing barges and their supporting tugs, and all tank barges over 200GT departing the Ports of Morehead City and Wilmington must depart not later than 24 hours prior to the arrival of gale force winds at Frying Pan Shoals Lighted Buoy 16 (LLNR 835).
3. Vessels bound for the Ports of Morehead City and Wilmington that are unable to depart 24 hours prior to the arrival of gale force winds at Frying Pan Shoals Lighted Buoy 16 (LLNR 835) are advised to seek an alternative destination.
4. Facility Operators should begin making preparations to ensure all loose cargo, cargo equipment, and debris is secured safely. Notification should be made to the COTP of any heavy weather preparation problems that cannot be mitigated within 24 hours.
Mariners are also advised that drawbridges will remain closed when wind speeds exceed 34 knots or once evacuations begin. As a result, mariners are urged to seek passage through drawbridges well in advance of the arrival of gale force winds because of the uncertainty of weather movements and related bridge closures.
For guidance on specific issues or to obtain a vessel application to remain in port, contact the Sector North Carolina Command Center at the number listed above. A vessel remaining in port checklist may be obtained online at https://homeport.uscg.mil/port-directory/north-carolina. The checklist is located under the “Local Contingency Plans” header within the “port Stakeholder Severe Weather Plan.”
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