Officials are investigating a ‘potential threat’ aboard a U.S.-flagged Maersk Line containership at the Port of Charleston in South Carolina.
The Coast Guard said at approximately 8 p.m. Wednesday authorities were made aware of a potential threat in a container aboard the vessel Maersk Memphis in the Port of Charleston.
The Maersk Memphis is moored at Charleston’s Wando terminal, which has been evacuated while law enforcement units from federal, state and local law enforcement agencies investigate the threat.
A 1 nautical mile safety zone has been established around the vessel while law enforcement authorities investigate the threat.
“Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies are currently investigating the type of the potential threat,” the Coast Guard said on Twitter.
Coast Guard officials described the threat as a possible “dirty bomb”, according to Reuters and other media outlets. A #dirty_bomb is a combination of radioactive and conventional explosives.
An unified command has been established to oversee the coordinated response, which the Coast Guard described as ‘active and ongoing’ as of 2 a.m. ET.
According to Maersk Lines website Maersk Memphis last called the port of Newark on June 12 after sailing from Middle East via the Suez Canal and Algeciras.