Operations At The Port Of Charleston Ahead Of International Trade Balance Figures
Trucks wait in line next to the Maersk Hartford cargo ship at the Port of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina, on Dec. 17, 2015.  Luke Sharrett—Bloomberg/Getty Images

Conspiracy Theorist's Dirty Bomb Tip Shut Down South Carolina Port Overnight

Jun 15, 2017

Authorities shut down a section of the Port of Charleston in South Carolina for about seven hours Wednesday night after a conspiracy theorist called in a false bomb threat.

The Coast Guard responded to the port’s Wando terminal after they received two calls around 8 p.m. on Wednesday notifying them of a possible dirty bomb — an explosive containing radioactive material — on the container ship Maesrk Memphis, according to the New York Times.

Authorities scanned four containers on the ship and cleared them, reopening the terminal around 3:30 a.m. on Thursday. The Coast Guard said the terminal was evacuated during the search.

The tip calls were prompted by a YouTube video, Coast Guard spokesman, Lt. James B. Zorn told the Times. An account of one call appeared in a YouTube video on Wednesday, according to the newspaper. In the video, George Webb, a frequent peddler of far-right conspiracy theories, described having a conversation with the Coast Guard.

“Well I just got off the phone with the Coast Guard in South Carolina, and they were very obviously, you know, hesitant to call out all the dogs and call out all the radiation meters and all that without knowing who our source is,” Webb said in the video.

The U.S. Coast Guard said on Twitter early Thursday that the person who reported the threat has been detained and was being questioned by authorities, but did not name the suspect.

Webb has thousands of followers on Twitter under the name “Truth Leaks” and YouTube, where his channel describes himself as “Reporting on Political Corruption.”

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