WGMA Houston-Galveston

PCT Call Update


June 19, 2024


Tropical Weather Update



The US Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston’s Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) held a Port Coordination Team (PCT) conference call this morning at 0900 hours to look at the situation on the Houston Ship Channel and surrounding region, Your WGMA Maritime Affairs team participated on the call and has the following report for our membership:


National Weather Service reports that stormy weather conditions will remain consistent overnight through tomorrow morning, with easterly winds 20-30 knots, gusting to 40 knots across Galveston Bay. Winds of 25-35 knots and gusts of 45 knots offshore and across Matagorda Bay. Seas around 10 feet near the coast and 10-17 feet offshore. Bay waters are very rough. Water levels 2-4 feet above normal. A Coastal Flood Warning remains in effect. A Small Craft Warning remains in effect for Galveston Bay.


Overnight the system became better organized as it fully moved into the Bay of Campeche. Recent hurricane hunter aircraft have confirmed that the storm has attained tropical storm strength. Tropical Storm Alberto becomes the first named storm of the 2024 season.


Thursday afternoon winds and seas begin a slow downward trend. Sustained winds nearshore probably won’t fall below 20 knots until sunrise on Friday. Nearshore seas probably won’t fall below 7 feet until then. We’ll see continued improvement through the day Friday and Friday night.


We may see another tropical wave emerge off the Yucatan Peninsula into the Bay of Campeche on Saturday. It appears that high pressure across the northern Gulf coast could keep this suppressed to the south. Even so, it could increase swells offshore beginning Sunday evening, so it is still worth keeping an eye on it.


VTS Perspective:

·     Port traffic has been impacted

·     Last 24 hours about 300 tows transited in the last 24 hours, a 20% decrease

·     Yesterday there were 54 ship transits, also down about 15%

·     Inbound arrivals to the Bolivar Anchorage have been suspended

·     A traffic management scheme is planned; will run outbound ships and inbound tows once ship traffic resumes


Various constituents reported in during the call but there nothing of consequence discussed.


Houston Pilots:

·     Moved traffic yesterday but shut down at 2245 hours last night due offshore conditions

·     Sent a boat out this morning and seas extremely rough and confused

·     Not optimistic about moving anything today

·     Currently they have 19 arrivals and 28 departures pending


Galveston-Texas City Pilots:

·     Closed for over 36 hours due offshore conditions but took a few jobs here and there

·     One reefer ship due today

·     One cruise ship due tomorrow morning

·     They are hopeful that they can handle both jobs without much delay

·     Currently they have 2 arrivals and 4 departures pending


Brazos Pilots:

·     Moved some traffic yesterday

·     Currently have 3 departures and 1 arrival

·     Continuously monitoring conditions and will move traffic as soon as conditions permit


Agents are reminded to maintain close dialogue with area pilot dispatch offices.


Agents are reminded to keep the eNOA/D’s updated for their vessels, and to keep the pilots closely advised about when their ships are ready to transit, whether sailing, shifting or docking.


WGMA members are reminded that our partners DTN WeatherOps can provide customized weather reports for your specific area, and their seasonal tropical forecasts and storm alerts keep you advised during hurricane season. Contact WGMA Maritime Affairs to sign up to receive these reports.


Another PCT conference call has been scheduled for 0900 hours tomorrow morning Thursday June, 20th. Your WGMA Maritime Affairs team will participate on tomorrow’s call and report to our membership.



Robert Hawn 

Vice President, Maritime Affairs

O: (713) 715-6443

M: (832) 473-1905



James Nash 

Director, Maritime Affairs

O: (713) 715-6520

M: (979) 373-8556



Willi Gerami 

Maritime Affairs Representative

O: (713) 715-6437

M: (281) 798-0345


West Gulf Maritime Association | 1717 Turning Basin Drive Suite 200 | Houston, TX 77029 US


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