Coast Guard warns South Florida mariners to prepare for storm

The following is the text of a press release issued by the U.S. Coast Guard:

(MIAMI) — Effective 9 a.m. Thursday, Coast Guard Captain of the Port, Capt. Chris Scraba, set Port Condition Modified YANKEE for the Port of Miami, Miami River, Port Everglades, Port of Palm Beach, and the Port of Ft. Pierce.

During Port Condition Modified YANKEE, there are no restrictions to vessel transits or facility cargo operations; however, the closing of the port will require a one tug escort for vessel movements from 6:00 p.m. October 25, 2012 through 12:01 p.m. October 26, 2012.

Facilities should continue removing and securing hazardous cargoes at open wharves.

With forecasted tropical storm gusts up to 50 mph, all commercial vessels remaining in port will take prudent measures to ensure their moorings are secure, set a navigation watch, guard Channel 16 VHS-FM, and remain ever vigilant.

Although not currently anticipated, should storm winds require, the Captain of the Port may order Port Condition ZULU, which includes the cessation of cargo handling operations on board waterfront cargo facilities and closure of the Ports to all incoming traffic, with the exception of emergency vessel movements.  A Broadcast Notice to Mariners will be used to announce impending port closures and special conditions, accordingly, should weather conditions deteriorate.

Drawbridges in the area anticipate entering a modified lockdown as early as 2:00 p.m. on October 25, 2012.  A modified lockdown means that bridges will still have a bridge tender; however, the bridge will remain in the closed position until wind gusts subside below 40 mph.

The public is reminded to notify the National Response Center at (800) 424-8802 of any sunken vessels, pollution in the water, suspicious activity, and unsafe conditions. 

The Captain of the Port may be reached at (305) 535-4472, or via Channel 16 VHF FM Marine Radio through Coast Guard Sector Miami.   

By Professional Mariner Staff