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USCG Closes Port of Morehead City Ahead of Tropical Storm Arthur

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Probability of tropical storm force winds (above 39 miles per hour) from Tropical Storm Arthur, 10 percent increments by color band (NHC)

By The Maritime Executive 05-17-2020 09:04:58

On Sunday afternoon, the Captain of the Port for North Carolina closed the Port of Morehead City to inbound traffic effective at 1400 hours as a precautionary measure ahead of Tropical Storm Arthur. The COTP expects to set Port Condition Zulu - indicating tropical storm force winds arriving within 12 hours - at about 2200.

Port of Morehead City is a bulk and breakbulk port with a 45-foot channel. It is adjacent to Cape Lookout, and it sits about four miles inland from the Atlantic Ocean. As of Sunday night, one merchant ship was broadcasting an AIS signal alongside her piers, along with half a dozen tugs (and SpaceX's two special-purpose recovery vessels, Go Ms. Tree and Go Ms. Chief).

"We are keenly watching Tropical Storm Arthur and are ready to respond to distress calls and keep vital commerce flowing through our nation's marine transportation system," said Cmdr. Matthew Baer, Captain of the Port. "Sector North Carolina is mission ready 24 hours a day, seven days a week due to our incredible workforce and outstanding interagency, port, and industry partnerships across the state."

All affected vessels are encouraged to seek an alternative destination and pleasure craft are advised to seek safe harbor. The port's drawbridges may not be operating if sustained winds reach 34 mph or when an evacuation is in progress, the COTP warned. 

Boaters are asked to stay off the water and heed small craft advisories, and trailerable boats should be removed from the water and towed away from flood zones. Larger yachts are asked to reposition to inland marinas. Those who leave their boats in the water are asked to remove EPIRBs and to secure life rings and life jackets in order to avoid creating false indications of a vessel in distress (and unneeded SAR efforts) if they should wash over the 

Tropical Storm Arthur is the first storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, and it is expected to graze North Carolina's Outer Banks as it travels northeast along the Eastern Seaboard.