Coast Guard Captain of the Port of Wilmington, Captain Jane M. Hartley, has brought in more than 100 Coast Guard active duty and reserve personnel to provide waterborne and shoreside safety and security of military equipment loading operations here and in Morehead, City, N.C.
The United States is repositioning some of its military forces where required to support the President’s global war on terrorism and to prepare for future contingencies. One of the Coast Guards responsibilities, as the lead agency for maritime homeland security and as a branch of the Armed Forces, is to ensure the safety and security of military outloads in U.S. ports.
The Coast Guard has established a security zone in Morehead City to run between Jan. 19-25 and will establish a similar security zone in Wilmington when the vessels begin to load here. In Morehead City, the security Zone is as follows: All waters south of US-70 to encompass Sugarloaf Island eastward across the North Carolina State Port at Morehead City, south along the western shoreline of Radio Island to light #24, southwest across the channel to Fishing Creek, northwest to buoy #2, and back to the northwest tip of Sugarloaf Island, from surface to bottom. Vessels needing to transit the security zone must contact the Patrol Commander on VHF-FM Ch. 16 to get permission.
The security zones enable the Coast Guard to monitor the safe handling and transport of military equipment destined for Operation Enduring Freedom and other future contingencies. “These military outloads are important to the continued readiness of our armed forces,” said Hartley. “We are closely coordinating our port security activities with the Navy, Military Sealift Command, Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point (MOTSU), Military Traffic Management Command (MTMC), the State Port, and other local, state and federal agencies to make sure this all runs smoothly with the outloads while enabling the port to continue its daily operation.”
Military outloads are not uncommon in either port nor are they new to the Coast Guard. During the Persian Gulf War, Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti, Operation Southern Watch in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia
, and Operation Guarding Liberty following the Sept. 11 attacks, the Coast Guard was called in to provide various aspects of port safety and security.