Safe Operating Practice 7-07

 

Maritime Heavy Weather & Hurricane Plan

 

Approved July 2007

 

Issue.   There is a need for a plan and guidance for the Hawaii maritime community on steps that should be taken and critical risk factors that should be considered before, during and after heavy weather.

 

Discussion.    The United States Coast Guard is one of several Federal agencies that respond to actual or threatened natural disasters or emergencies. The Captain of the Port (COTP) Honolulu is responsible for the safety and security of the ports within a zone that includes the islands and atolls of the Hawaiian island chain and American Samoa . The COTP will oversee actions that are intended to safeguard the port against damage that may be caused by heavy weather.

 

The primary responsibility for natural disaster preparation and response rests with affected individuals, private industry, federal, state and local government. The USCG plan provides the general recommended actions to be taken by each member of the maritime community with the ultimate goal of having everyone completely prepared for an approaching storm.

 

References.   The USCG Appendix 1, Maritime Heavy Weather & Hurricane Plan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maritime Heavy Weather & Hurricane Plan

Appendix 1 – Purpose

 

Purpose

 

This plan provides guidance to the Hawaiian Islands and maritime community within the CG Captain of the Port (COTP) Honolulu zone on steps that should be taken and critical risk factors to consider: before, during, and after heavy weather. It should be used by all marine interests to prepare plans for terminals, facilities, vessels and/or marine operations.

This plan is developed to ensure that ports within the COTP Honolulu zone have taken all practical precautions for severe weather, including the worst case scenario—a direct hit by a major hurricane. For hurricanes, most of the preventive provisions and requirements of this Appendix are intended to be enacted prior to the onset of sustained Gale Force Winds, when hurricane conditions (winds and surge) are predicted to follow. When Gale Forces Winds are expected, but hurricane conditions are not predicted to follow, the COTP may elect not to implement all of the requirements outlined in this plan. In any case, due to the unpredictable nature of tropical storms and hurricanes, marine interests should plan for the worst case.

 

Key Terms & Definitions

 

  1. Storm Terminology - The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Weather Service (NWS) provides advance warning of tropical storms and hurricanes on a national basis. The Central Pacific Hurricane Center (CPHC) identifies and tracks storms between Longitudes 140¼ West to 180¼ and gives warnings of those storms affecting the Hawaiian and American Samoan Islands. Information from these two agencies can be obtained on line at: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/ and http://www.prh.noaa.gov/hnl/cphc/ , respectively. Please note that a storm need not be considered a hurricane for the provisions of this plan to be enacted by COTP Honolulu.

 

  1. The following terminology is used throughout this plan:

 

Terminology

Sustained Wind Speed

Gale Force Winds

39-54 MPH (34-47 kts)

Tropical Storm Force Winds

Cyclonic winds 40-73 MPH (34-63 kts)

Hurricane Force Winds

74 MPH (64 kts) or greater

 

  1. Storm Alert Status: The NWS and CPHC will issue storm warnings as storms intensify and move closer to our area. The following is a summary of the alert conditions;

 

NWS Alert

When Issued

Tropical Storm Watch

Tropical Storm Force Winds predicted to impact the watch area within 36 hours.


 

Tropical Storm Warning

Tropical Storm Force Winds predicted to impact the area within 24 hours.

Hurricane Watch

Hurricane or hurricane conditions are predicted to impact the watch area within 36 hours.

Hurricane Warning

Hurricane Force Winds or a combination of dangerously high water and very rough seas, predicted to impact the warning area within 24 hours or less.

 

  1. Hurricane Categories - The strength of a hurricane is measured by its maximum sustained wind speeds. Hurricanes are categorized as follows:

 

Hurricane Category

Sustained Wind Speed

Category 1

74-95 MPH

Category 2

96-110 MPH

Category 3

111-130 MPH

Category 4

131-155 MPH

Category 5

> 155 MPH

   Note: Category Three, Four, and Five are MAJOR STORMS.

 

  1. Port Heavy Weather Conditions – Port Heavy Weather Conditions are set by the Coast Guard and are used to describe, generally, restrictions needed to protect life, vessels, facilities, ports, and the environment for severe weather. Port Conditions will be changed as the threat of severe weather increases, or as storms approach our area.

 

Port Heavy WX Condition

When Set

Condition V

Seasonally readiness, 1 June – 30 November

Condition IV

The ALERT condition in which winds above 50 knots are expected within 72 hours.

Condition III

The READINESS condition in which winds above 50 knots are expected within 48 hours.

Condition II

The WARNING condition in which winds above 50 knots are expected within 24 hours.

Condition I

The DANGER condition in which winds above 50 knots are expected within 12 hours and until the storm has passed and is no longer a threat.



Responsibilities

General

 

The primary responsibility for natural disaster preparation and response rests with affected individuals, private industry, state and local government. This plan provides the general recommended actions to be taken by each member of the maritime community with the ultimate goal of having everyone completely prepared for an approaching storm. This plan cannot foresee all situations or conditions and therefore does not reduce or replace the responsibility of any person or organization to exercise prudent judgment in the preparation for and response to heavy weather conditions.

 

The Captain of the Port Honolulu will close ports and waterways whenever conditions pose an unacceptably high risk to vessel and facility safety. Post-heavy weather recovery emphasis is put on immediate surveys of channel blockage and prioritization of steps necessary to resume essential, then normal vessel traffic.

 

Preparations for the arrival of a storm are critical to the safety and security of the port. Timely preventative actions and corrections of hazardous conditions may significantly eliminate or reduce the loss of life and property during heavy weather. It is the responsibility of every agency, organization, and individual in the maritime community to take every precaution to minimize potential damage.

 

Captain of the Port (COTP) Responsibilities

 

The Coast Guard is one of several Federal agencies that respond to actual or threatened natural disasters or emergencies. The COTP Honolulu is responsible for the safety and security of the ports within a zone that includes the islands and atolls of the Hawaiian island chain and American Samoa. The COTP will oversee actions that are intended to safeguard the port against damage that may be caused by heavy weather.

 

Upon initial notification of a storm that has the potential for affecting the COTP zone, the COTP will begin tracking the storm. The COTP will issue Broadcast Notice to Mariners (BNTMs) on VHF-FM Channels 16 and 22A, when a storm’s trajectory, speed, or strength poses a threat to the Hawaiian Islands. The basis for whether or not a BNTM will be issued is based on information obtained from the National Weather Service and other forecasting resources available to the COTP. The intent of issuing BNTMs is to ensure that reasonable and timely preparations can be made by the maritime community to minimize damage from heavy weather. In America Samoa, Industry will receive these same notifications via phone calls from the local Coast Guard representative to the COTP.

 

It is important to note that changes in storm speed, direction and conditions can change in an accelerated rate and may influence the settings of Port Heavy Weather Conditions. Separate conditions may be set at different times for different ports, so pay close attention to notifications set by the COTP to see the condition set for your area.

 

Preparations

 

Preparedness (Condition V - Start of Hurricane Season, 1 Jun to 30 Nov):

 

Making preparedness part of annual planning can alleviate the rush to do these things when a storm is actually approaching. These efforts include:

·        Updating internal contact lists & phone numbers.

·        Reviewing your company’s contingency plans to minimize disruptions and ensure your business or organization is back up-and-running as early as possible.

·        Attending port briefs by the Coast Guard can help in understanding the actions that the Coast Guard will be taking before, during and after the storm.

·        Determining what preparedness actions your staff & workforce will need to take.

·        Ensuring that your business has the proper tools and equipment that is needed for safe guarding your vessel and/or facility.

 

Alert (Condition IV – 50 knot winds are expected within 72 hours):

 

Preparations for the arrival of a storm are critical to the safety and security of the port. Specific actions and expectations should include the following:

 

Readiness (Condition III – 50 knot winds are expected within 48 hours):

 

Warning (Condition II – 50 knot winds are expected within 24 hours):

 

 

Max Prep (Condition I – 50 knot winds are expected within 12 hours):

 

 

Response (During & Immediately After the Storm):

 

 

Recovery (After the Storm):

 

During recovery, the Coast Guard and State will jointly conduct surveys of channel blockage, and prioritize steps to resume essential—then normal—vessel traffic. Minimize risk of damage to vessels and assess the conditions of channels, aids to navigation, waterfront facilities, piers and other infrastructure. The COTP, in conjunction with the State DOT-Harbors in Hawaii and Territorial Management Coordination Office/Department of Port Administration in America Samoa, will begin sending Assessment, Response and Recovery (AR&R) Teams to accessible areas of the zone. AR&R teams will document all activities using logs, photographs and any other appropriate means. The Coast Guard will issue a Broadcast Notice to Mariners (BNTM) and fax out Marine Safety Information Bulletin (MSIB) to notify the reopening of the port and any special conditions.


Evacuation vs. Lay-up

 

General

 

The determination to leave a vessel in port or send it out to sea during a hurricane should be made long before the start of hurricane season. This requires foresight and planning on the part of vessel owners/operators to determine what is the safest action for the vessel and its crew and what resources are necessary to execute those plans. If a vessel owner/operator plans on leaving the vessel in port, then they need to consider whether or not the facilities the vessel will be laid up at will be sufficient and have the proper resources needed to hold the vessel in hurricane winds. Then they need to make the proper arrangements with the facility owner/operator to ensure that those resources will be available when a hurricane approaches the area. Finally, facility and vessel owners/operators need to receive authorization from the Coast Guard Captain of the Port (COTP) to allow them to implement those plans. Otherwise, vessel owners/operators need to have plans for safe evacuation from the port prior to the hurricane. This means properly planning cargo/transfer operations so as to have them completed to allow for the safe evacuation. It is important to note that the COTP generally will not order a terminal operator to lay berth a vessel during severe weather. COTP approval of a request to remain in port will be based, in part, on providing a suitable lay berth.

The following sections provide guidance to the vessel owner or agent on what they need to consider when making their decision on what actions they will take. Read through them carefully and know that they are not all encompassing and that there may still be other factors to consider depending on the individual needs of each vessel.

 

Vessel Evacuations

 

There are few safe havens within the COTP Zone in Honolulu and America Samoa. As a result, the risk of damage to our ports is minimized when the inventory of commercial vessels in port during heavy weather events is at a minimum. Accordingly, commercial ocean-going vessels and ocean-going tug/barge combinations over 200 GT will generally be required to depart the port when hurricanes approach.

 

The following factors should be considered when planning vessel evacuations:

 

1.      Harbor Tugs – Masters and agents of deep draft vessels and tug/barges that require assistance during docking and transit should keep in mind that there is very limited availability of harbor tugs. For this reason, vessel owners/operators should make arrangements in advance with the harbor tug owners/operators for departing the port prior to Hurricane Condition II. Failure to do so may result in difficulty in scheduling harbor tugs and/or delays that may make it difficult to evade the storm at sea. Plan to depart the port early, and anticipate some scheduling conflicts caused by the simultaneous departure of many deep draft vessels.

 

2.      Pilots – Pilots generally stop working when conditions at the sea buoy prevent safe transfer from ship to pilot boat, or at the on-set of sustained Gale Force Winds. For this reason, vessel owners/operators should make arrangements in advance with the Pilots for departing the port prior to Hurricane Condition II. Failure to do so may result in difficulty in scheduling harbor tugs and/or delays that may make it difficult to evade the storm at sea.

 

Lay-Up Vessels

 

No vessel will be permitted to enter or remain in lay-up status during the hurricane season, except as provided below. Laid-up vessels unable to depart, before June 1 in the Hawaiian Islands and December 1 in America Samoa, each year must obtain written permission from the COTP to remain in port. This is done by completing the “Request to Remain in Port” form, attached to this appendix. Requests that are not fully or properly completed will not be considered, and the vessel will not receive the written permission. Requests, at a minimum, shall include a lay-up plan containing specific provisions for all categories of hurricanes.

 

If a vessel of over 200 gross tons experiences an unplanned situation where it is unable to evacuate, the vessel owner/operator is required to complete the “Request to Remain in Port” form, attached to this appendix. This request must be made no later than when Condition IV (72 hours prior to storm making landfall). Requests submitted after that will not be considered. This is vital due to the time it will take for the Coast Guard to evaluate each vessel’s request.

 

For purposes of this policy, a vessel is considered in lay-up status if it is not operational or undergoing repairs or contracted to commence repairs within seven (7) days. A vessel is considered operational only if it is manned, has valid certificates from the flag administration, and is prepared to conduct cargo operations or sail within 14 days of entering port.

Vessels that are under the 200 gross ton and plan on mooring up during a heavy weather event are also required to submit a mooring plan for approval from the COTP. Even though these vessels will most likely be allowed to stay in port, they still need to have a plan how they will moor their vessel and have it reviewed and approved by the COTP. These plans should be made to the COTP prior to the onset of Condition V, or start of the hurricane season (June 1 in Hawaii; December 1 in America Samoa). The “Request to Remain in Port” form may be used in submitting these plans, but more information maybe required by the COTP.

 

This will make it possible for the COTP to ensure that all appropriate actions are being taken through out the port and that all safety concerns are being addresses ahead of time and not at the last minute. This will also make it possible to ensure that the port or harbor that a vessel operator or owner plans to use is sufficient for safe mooring during heavy weather. It is important to note that some harbors may not be safe due to their location, exposure to open waters and/or the direction that a storm might approach. If you have questions on this please contact Sector Honolulu Prevention Department at 522-8264 ex. 260.


Request to Remain in Port--Commercial Vessel Survey

 

This vessel information is required by the Captain of the Port for commercial oceangoing vessels and oceangoing barges, greater than 200 gross tons, remaining or requesting to remain in port during the storm. This form should be completely filled out and faxed to 808-842-2624.

 

Vessel Name: ______________________________________ Call Sign: ____________

 

Official Number: ___________________________________ Flag: _________

Vessel Master: _____________________________________ Phone: ______________

Location/Facility: ___________________________________

Facility POC Name: _________________________________ Phone: ______________

Agent Name: ______________________________________ Phone: ______________

Address: __________________________________________

Charter/Operator Name: ______________________________ Phone: ______________

Address: __________________________________________

Owner Name: ______________________________________ Phone: ______________

Address: __________________________________________

 

Vessel Particulars

Length: __________ Gross Tonnage: ______________ Hull Type: ________________

 

On board Vessel

Bunkers: _________ Lube Oil: ____________ Diesel Oil: ________________

 

Ballast Capacity: ______________

 

Estimated draft when ballasted: _________________________________________________

 

Availability of vessel main propulsion: ___________________________________________

 

Current condition/why requesting to remain: _________________________________________

 

Number of crew to remain aboard and qualifications: ___________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

 

Operational status of machinery aboard: ____________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

 

Firefighting capability of vessel: __________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

 

Any unusual conditions affecting vessel seaworthiness: ______________________________________________________________________________


(cont.) Request to Remain in Port--Commercial Vessel Survey

 

Facility Particulars

 

Storm berth name and location: _____________________________________________

Facility POC name: ___________________________ Phone: ______________

Description of moorings: __________________________________________________

 

NOTE: A diagram showing mooring arrangements with size and number of mooring lines or wires is required as part of the checklist.

 

Fendering configuration and condition (attach plan if needed):

 

Shore side firefighting capability: ________________________________________________

 

Tugboat assistance available: ___________________________________________________

 

Distance to nearest obstruction (crane, dry-dock, building, tank, etc.) that may cause damage to

vessel: _______________________________________________________________________

 

Distance to nearest oil storage facility, oil pipelines, hazmat facility, oil or hazmat storage tanks at facility where vessel is to be moored: _____________

 

Open areas of docks, wharves and piers cleared of missile hazards: ____________

 

Has the facility had an engineering study done to determine the maximum size of vessel with maximum winds which could safely moor at facility: _____________?

 

Study done by: ________________________________________________________________

Condition of bollards, dolphins and deadmen: __________________________________

Is facility capable of holding vessel: ________________________________________

 

 

_________________________

Vessel person in charge

_________________________

Facility person in charge

 

POST-STORM SURVEY

Survey team comments: _______________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

Survey team: ___________________ Team leader: ____________________________

Survey date: _________ Survey time: ____________________________