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News & Press: Maritime News

USCG - Setting of Maritime Port Condition ZULU

Saturday, October 8, 2016  


The U.S.Coast Guard has issued the following. 

BULLETIN NO:  16-077 TEL: (757) 668-5555, FAX (757) 483-8641
DATE:  October 8, 2016


SUMMARY: This advisory is to inform you that due to the weather conditions resulting from the impact of Hurricane MATTHEW, the Captain of the Port (COTP) Hampton Roads has set Port Condition ZULU in the COTP Hampton Roads Zone beginning at 1:00 p.m. on October 8, 2016.  This condition means that gale force winds are expected to reach the Virginia Capes within 12 hrs.  

Based on the forecasted winds and waves at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, and the potential risks present, it has been determined that commercial vessels will be prohibited from entering and departing the Chesapeake Bay, closing the port approaches to commercial traffic, unless permission is granted by the COTP.  This restriction will begin at 12:01 a.m. Sunday, October 9, 2016.  Note the following:

Duration of closure: The length of the closure will depend on the actual wind and weather conditions. Currently, the closure is anticipated to last through the day Sunday, October 9, 2016, and possibly into the morning of Monday, October 10, 2016. The COTP Hampton Roads will release further updates regarding the length of the closure and will reopen the approaches once they are safe for navigation. 

Movement within the Port: Vessels will be permitted to move within the Port, but should do so with extreme caution. Additionally, commercial vessels anchored in the vicinity of Cape Charles are required to ask permission from the COTP if the vessel intends to transit within the port during the restriction.

Vessels Transiting from Baltimore: Commercial vessels intending to transit from Baltimore, exiting the Chesapeake Bay will not be permitted to transit south of 37°19’14” N latitude during the restriction.  

Special Consideration: If a vessel or vessel representative believes there are circumstances that require a vessel to arrive or depart during the time of this restriction, they may request an exception from the COTP. Facility operators and agents should contact the Sector Hampton Roads office at (757) 638-6635 to request permission for vessels anticipating to enter the Chesapeake Bay.  

PRECAUTIONS: It is primarily the facility operator’s decision to allow vessels to remain moored during the passing of the tropical storm.  Facilities that do not allow vessels to remain moored must provide them with sufficient notice to allow vessels time to move to a safe mooring, heavy weather anchorage, or depart to sea and disembark pilot prior to this restriction taking effect on Sunday, October 9, 2016.  

All facility and vessel operators should continue to make heavy weather preparations to include ensuring all loose cargo, cargo equipment, and debris are secured safely. All vessel mooring should be reinforced.

Vessels anchored shall prepare for severe winds. Additional anchors should be made ready to let go and preparations shall be made to have a continuous anchor watch. Also, vessels should maintain a continuous listening watch on VHF Channel 16.

For a complete listing of all recommended storm preparations, facilities and vessel operators are strongly encouraged to review the Port of Hampton Roads Maritime Hurricane Contingency Plan.  This plan may be found on line under “Local Contingency Plans” at: ;

COMMUNICATIONS:  Call (757) 668-5555, ext. 3 for a recorded message of current port conditions.


Maritime interests and port stakeholders are encouraged to plan accordingly and be guided by the Heavy Weather Contingency Plan for the Port of Hampton Roads which can also be found on the VMA web site at   


Thank you to our Anchor Members



Virginia Maritime Association
236 E. Plume Street Norfolk, VA 23510
Phone: 757-622-2639
Fax: 757-622-6302