Key West Prepares for Impact
Published on September 8th, 2017
With the track of Hurricane Irma approaching southern Florida, the US Coast Guard has issued the following bulletin for Key West:
As of 8 p.m. on September 7, Hurricane Condition YANKEE (sustained Gale Force winds from a hurricane force storm are predicted within 24 hours) is set in the Port of Key West, Fla.
All mariners are reminded that there are no safe havens in the Port of Key West area and that the port is safest when the inventory of vessels is at a minimum. For planning purposes, all oceangoing vessels and barges over 500 gross tons will be required to depart the Port of Key West and head out to sea when Hurricane Condition YANKEE is set. Inland vessels and barges over 500 gross tons are required to seek safe refuge in a port outside the Port of Key West area.
Owners of large boats are urged to move their vessels to inland marinas where they will be less vulnerable to breaking free of their moorings or to sustaining damage. Trailer-able boats should be pulled from the water and stored in a place that is not prone to flooding. Those who are leaving their boats in the water are reminded to update your Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) registration, and secure them safely to your vessel prior to a major storm. These devices often float free from vessels in marinas or at docks during hurricanes and signal a distress when there is none.
Vessel movement will be restricted and allowed only on a case-by-case basis by approval of the COTP. All vessels expecting to conduct cargo operations during Condition Yankee shall submit a Cargo Operations Plan to terminal owners for approval. All ship-to-shore operations must be completed six hours prior to the setting of Port Condition ZULU.
Hurricane Irma is a large and powerful storm. All marine interests must take early and substantial action to ensure safety of the port and vessels. Future port conditions cannot be predicted with any degree of certainty, but provided the storm remains on the projected course and track, port stakeholders can expect the following progression of port conditions:
Sustained Gale Force winds from a hurricane force storm are predicted within 24 hours.