Published 12:00 am Friday, July 8, 2005

MOBILE, Ala. – The U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port (COTP) Mobile Zone is issuing a safety advisory today for all commercial and privately owned vessels.

The following guidance is issued for all vessels operating in the COTP Mobile Zone:

a. The COTP Mobile has set Hurricane Condition Three (New Port Condition X-Ray).

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All ports in Mississippi, Alabama, and the Florida Panhandle will remain open for departures of vessels; however no vessels will be allowed into port at this time.

Anticipate no variances or waivers to be granted.

It is anticipated that all ports will be closed to all traffic no later than 6:00 p.m. Saturday.

b. All oceangoing commercial vessels and oceangoing barges greater than 200 gross tons not approved to remain in port must depart beyond the sea buoy no later than 8:00 a.m. Saturday.

None of these vessels are permitted to anchor within territorial waters.

c. Wharf operators must notify the COTP of any dangerous cargo to remain in open areas.

d. Recreational boaters should make preparations in advance to safeguard their vessels from the impending hurricane.

All waterways within the COTP Mobile Zone will be closed to all traffic no later than sunset on Saturday.

Any persons transiting the waterways after that time are advised that there will be little, if any, search and rescue capabilities until well after the hurricane passes.

Any commercial vessel operating within the COTP Mobile Zone after the waterways are closed will be subject to serious penalties and/or fines.

e. Barge fleets shall reduce their fleets as much as possible and begin to shift unloaded barges to appropriate safe shelter.

f. Existing security zones established by COTP Mobile will remain in force during severe weather. Unauthorized vessels transiting or moored within a security zone may be subject to penalty, post storm operational controls, and/or security boarding as necessary to ensure security of the port.

The Coast Guard will continue to send updates in the form of Marine Safety Information Bulletins and Broadcast Notice to Mariners.

Additional information can be obtained by visiting

For further questions please contact Sector Mobile at (251) 441-5313.