Coast Guard Orders Ports Closed to Large Ships

Gale-force winds are possible within 24 hours at the Port of Hampton Roads, prompting the Captain of the Port to set Port Condition Yankee.

The Captains of the Port for Hampton Roads and Baltimore are limiting commercial ship traffic ahead of Hurricane Florence, and Hampton Roads is poised to shut down the entrance to the Chesapeake Bay.

The Captain of the Port of Hampton Roads is expected to set Port Condition Yankee early Wednesday, which means sustained gale-force winds are possible within 24 hours. Under Port Condition Yankee, the port is closed to arriving vessels over 500 gross tons. All ships bigger than 500 gross tons that were already at the port must leave, unless they’re granted special permission to stay.

The next and final step, Port Condition Zulu, meaning gale-force winds are 12 hours away, would close the Port of Hampton Roads completely, and all port operations would be suspended.

The Port of Baltimore is in a modified version of Port Condition Whiskey, which requires large commercial vessels and barges to secure safe mooring and submit an application to stay at port.

The Coast Guard strongly cautions the maritime community to remain vigilant and take the necessary precautions as Florence approaches. USCG is advising recreational boaters to seek safe harbor.