The Coast Guard said Thursday morning there is no existing danger to the Port of Charleston after one of its terminals was evacuated over concerns of a possible bomb Wednesday night.
The 7th District Southeast office of the Coast Guard said it responded around 8 p.m. Wednesday to a possible hazard in four containers aboard the Maersk Memphis vessel docked in the port. The response led to the evacuation of the port’s Wando Welch Terminal in Mount Pleasant.
Incident commander Capt. Gregory Stump said the lockdown happened after an anonymous caller and a YouTube video mentioned a possible “dirty bomb” aboard the vessel. He said the caller was vague on some details, but was “pretty precise” about four containers aboard the Norfolk, Virginia-based vessel. The caller left a name and contact information, Stump said.
He said a response team scanned the containers and cleared them without finding any threat. Authorities also created a on nautical mile “safety zone” around the Maersk while examining the threat.
A “dirty bomb” is a term used to describe explosives which have been combined with radioactive material.
Stump said the individual who made the call and posted the video was arrested in Zanesville, Ohio. “The reporting source with whom I spoke was coincidentally arrested on a totally unrelated charge,” he told South Carolina Radio Network. “Because this person is in custody now, the FBI would also like to speak with him.”