The following is the text of a press release issued by the U.S. Coast Guard:
(HOUSTON) — In preparation for potential severe weather associated with Hurricane IKE, Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston will set Port Condition Yankee effective 11 a.m. local time.
The Coast Guard anticipates gale force winds to make landfall within 24 hours, the port is now closed to all inbound traffic.
Self propelled oceangoing vessels over 500 gross tons, oceangoing barges and their supporting tugs desiring to remain in port must have an approved Application to Remain in Port. Vessels meeting the criteria above that do not have a Coast Guard approved Application to Remain in Port must contact Sector Houston-Galveston at (713) 671-5184 immediately.
A safety zone is in effect throughout the Houston-Galveston Captain of the Port (COTP) zone to include the ports of Houston, Galveston, Freeport and Texas City. Vessels operating in these ports should be aware that their voyages may be directed by Coast Guard representatives in order to keep the port safe and secure. The Houston-Galveston COTP Zone is defined in Title 33 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 3.40-28.
Vessels, facilities, agents, and pilots shall review the appropriate portion of the Sector Houston-Galveston Port Pullout of the Storm Preparedness and Response Plan, and take appropriate actions. The Port Pullout, along with helpful storm preparation checklists, is available on Homeport at: http://homeport.uscg.mil/houstongalveston as part of the Severe Weather Port Pull-out, which can be found under the Local Contingency Plans section.
Port Condition Zulu will be set at 11 p.m., September 11, 12 hours before gale force winds are expected to make landfall in the COTP zone. VTS Houston-Galveston operations will be suspended at 5 a.m , Friday, Sept. 12.
If you have a specific issue regarding vessel movements and operations and/or their priorities, please use your Port Coordination Team Representative (PCT) to relay that concern to us; we will be using the PCT to effectively coordinate vessel movements.