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Potomac remains closed to ship and boat traffic

BALTIMORE, Maryland (CNN) -- The U.S. Coast Guard was maintaining a strict security zone Saturday on all vessel traffic in the Washington D.C. area in the wake of Tuesday's terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Commercial ships and pleasure craft are banned from movement in a zone between the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, which connects Maryland and Virginia south of the city; and the Key Bridge, which connects Georgetown and Alexandria, Virginia up-river from downtown Washington.

Exceptions will be made only for boat departures with prior approval, said Lt. Russ Bowman, spokesman for the Coast Guard's District Headquarters in Baltimore. Bowman had no information on when the restrictions would be lifted.

The ban includes the Anacostia River, a Potomac tributary east of downtown Washington.

While Washington has no facilities for large-scale commercial shipping, the Potomac normally sees fairly heavy traffic from pleasure craft. Some smaller commercial and military vessels call at Washington and at Alexandria, Virginia, across the river.

Similar restrictions on boat traffic in Baltimore's Inner Harbor were lifted late Friday, Bowman said.

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