As part of the Coast Guard’s ongoing port security mission, extra Coast Guard boats and people will be providing armed escort and enforcing the Naval Vessel Protection Zone (NVPZ) surrounding the USS Roosevelt Battle Group during its return to Hampton Roads Wednesday morning.
“We’re very proud of what our Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen and Marines
are doing overseas to protect our homeland,” Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Brendan McPherson said. “These protection zones are a way of showing our support for our troops who routinely put themselves in harm’s way for our Nation.”
More than 150 Coast Guard men and women from Coast Guard Group Hampton Roads, the Marine Safety Office and a number of local boats and cutters, including the 210-foot cutter Diligence from Wilmington, N.C., will be conducting a channel clearing operation from 6:15 to 8:35 Wednesday morning. A 500-yard protection zone around each ship will also be enforced. Non-commercial vessels must remain at least 100 yards away from any naval vessel and operate at minimum speed when within 500 yards.
All outbound commercial vessels on the southern and eastern branches of the Elizabeth River must sail two hours before the scheduled naval vessel movement or must remain astern of and maintain a safe distance from the naval vessels.
All inbound commercial vessels must be in the Capes one and one half hours ahead of the scheduled naval vessel to transit ahead of the battle group. Otherwise they must remain at anchor at Lynhaven Anchorage or stay outside of the buoy marking the “C” anchorage.
Recreational vessels will be required to comply with the NVPZ restrictions and comply with all orders directed by the Coast Guard and Navy patrols.
Coast Guard Atlantic Area Commander Vice. Adm. Thad Allen established the Naval Vessel Protection Zone regulation effective from Sept. 14, 2001 to June 15, 2002, providing another safety measure for Naval ships in the wake of the attacks on America.
“These Naval Vessel Protection Zones are needed in ports like Hampton Roads, where there is large naval presence, to ensure the continued safety of both our Naval ships and the boating public,” McPherson said.
A U.S. Naval vessel is considered to be any vessel owned, operated, chartered or leased by the U.S. Navy; and any vessel under the operational control of the U.S. Navy or a unified commander. As a result, the establishment and enforcement of NVPZs is a function directly involved in and necessary to military operations and the safety and security of naval commanders and personnel.