Thursday, July 1, 2010

Williams Pulls Name from Consideration at Port of Bellingham

Port of Bellingham officials have been informed that Larry Williams, one of the five finalists being considered for the port's executive director position, is no longer interested.

In a letter to the port, Williams alerted port commissioners that he is removing his name from contention, "in order to pursue opportunities that are more in line with my personal and professional goals," according to the Bellingham Herald.

Williams, who currently serves as the assistant director for international trade and economic development at the Washington State Department of Commerce, was named as a finalist last week along with four others by the port governing board. More than 100 candidates applied for the $125,000 to $135,000-a-year position, which has been vacant since executive director Jim Darling left the port in June 2009 for a position in the private sector.

The remaining finalists are: Jeffrey Bishop, executive director for the Oregon International Port of Coos Bay; John Carter, City of Bellingham finance director; Dwight Rives, Port of Seattle director of port construction services; and, Mark Watson, former city administrator of Yuma, Ariz.

Port commissioners plan to interview the remaining finalists in early July, hold a public meeting the next week to introduce the finalists to the public, and make a final selection by the end of the month.

ILWU Maritime Clerical Workers Strike SoCal Ports

Maritime clerical workers in Southern California have set up picket lines at several Long Beach and Los Angeles marine terminals after contract negotiations with employers broke down.

Members of the Office Clerical Unit (OCU) of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 63 walked off the job just after midnight Wednesday when their 3-year contract with the Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor Employers Association expired.

Port officials said about 30 OCU members showed up at the ports Thursday morning to man pickets.

While ILWU dock workers pledged to honor the OCU pickets, a local arbitrator ruled early Thursday morning that the OCU did not bargain in good faith and prohibited dockers from honoring the clerical workers' picket lines.

The OCU union local, an entity unique to Southern California, is part of the area’s larger ILWU dockworker union. However, the unit negotiates its contract directly with Los Angeles and Long Beach-area maritime employers and not through the Pacific Maritime Association, which represents the interests of West Coast maritime firms in negotiations with the parent ILWU union. The OCU represents mainly “white-collar” office and clerical workers in the “off-port” offices of maritime companies. OCU Local 63 represents more than 900 workers for 17 shipping companies and terminal operators at the ports. The current contract talks, however, only covers members at the 14 area firms.

The OCU offered a final contract proposal to employers late Wednesday evening which represented a total wage and benefit cost increase of 32 percent for the employers over the three-year life of the proposed contract, according to officials with Harbor Employers Association.

The arbitrator determined that the OCU, in proposing a contract with such large increases only hours before the current contract deadline, was negotiating in bad faith with employers. A counter proposal from the employers offered $1-an-hour increase over six years and a 10 percent increase in pensions.

The previous contract, according to the HEA, made OCU members the highest paid clerical workers in the nation, with an average annual salary of nearly $97,000 and annual benefits worth nearly $66,000.

While no new talks were scheduled for Thursday, both sides have said they are confident an agreement can be reached.

During the last OCU contract negotiations in 2007, members of Local 63's OCU approved a strike and though the contract expiration deadline passed, never took to the picket lines. The OCU and employers eventually reached an agreement in late August 2007 on the three-year contract that expired at midnight Wednesday.

Longview Port Attracts Third Steel Manufacturer

The Washington state Port of Longview has signed a 12-year lease with a subsidiary of Luxemburg-based ArcelorMittal that will see the construction of a $9 million pipe fabrication facility at the port.

Under the terms of the deal, the port will lease 15 acres of its West Industrial Park to contractor IDM Longview. IDM will build the proposed 156,000 square foot manufacturing facility and sub-lease it to ArcelorMittel's New Jersey-based subsidiary Skyline Steel. The port will also lease 20 adjacent acres--to be used for storage and parking--directly to Skyline.

At the end of the lease in 2022, Skyline has the option to buy the facility from IDM. The lease also provides that if Skyline does not buy the facility at the end of the 12 years, the port can purchase the facility from IDM for a maximum of $9 million.

ArcelorMittel, the world's largest steel manufacturer, plans to use the Longview facility as Skyline's main production facility for western North American, with a distribution area ranging from Canada to Mexico. The facility will manufacture large spiral-welded and straight-seam steel pipes mainly for the construction industry.

Because the lease contains a buy-back clause that could lead to the port authority owning the pipe factory, IDM will be required to pay prevailing, or union, wages during the construction of the facility--whether or not they hire union workers.

The pipe facility, the third steel-manufacturing facility at the port, is expected to open in February, 2011. Once open, according to the lease, Skyline will be eligible for a monthly lease break of $3,500 if it can generate ship calls to the port.

Feds Slam NOAA Fleet Move from Seattle

A federal auditor has castigated the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for its decision last year to move NOAA’s Pacific research fleet of four vessels from Seattle, Wash., to Newport, Ore., saying that NOAA limited its search to solutions that consolidated the research fleet in one location and failed to properly consider the cost savings of utilizing existing federal facilities in Seattle.

Called for by Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, the report was conducted by the United States Department of Commerce Inspector General Todd Zinser. Sen. Cantwell is chair, and Sen, Snowe the ranking member, of the Senate Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard. NOAA operates under the auspices of the Commerce Department.

"We are unable to provide assurance that NOAA's award of the lease to the Port of Newport provided the most cost-effective solution ... for the government," said Zinser in his report, which examined whether the NOAA decision to relocate adhered to federal, departmental, and NOAA requirements.

In his report, Zinser also criticized NOAA for not subjecting the new location search project to "a rigorous capital investment planning and oversight process." He noted that NOAA policies for facility capital planning and investment are unclear in their scope and requirements, which left the search process subject to few requirements, lacking in meaningful oversight and driven unnecessarily by schedule demands.

Though relatively severe in his analysis of the process, ultimately, Zinser concludes that the outcome of the NOAA decision would not likely have changed even if proper procedure and policy had been followed.

Zinser points out that two of the four locations had lease rates beyond what NOAA is authorized to pay. A third location was located in a floodplain and received a lower technical rating than Newport.

"Based on our analysis," Zinser wrote, "we also concur that the outcome is unlikely to have changed in the absence of these weaknesses and errors."

Last year, NOAA awarded the Port of Newport with a $2.5 million-a-year 20-year lease for a new facility. The state of Oregon gave Newport a $19.5 million subsidy to construct a new dock and office facility for NOAA.

Opponents of the move from Lake Union, where NOAA has operated out of for nearly 50 years, pointed out that Newport has no major maritime facilities and is more than 200 miles from Seattle where the researchers are based.

Proponents argued that, over the long run, the move would save taxpayers money.

Fidley Watch - Oil and Water

Chris Philips, Managing Editor

On April 20, an explosion on the British Petroleum drill rig Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico killed 11 workers and injured 17 more.

The rig burned and sank, and started a massive ongoing offshore oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which is now considered the largest in US history.

The tragedy, of course, is the loss of eleven lives. The Coast Guard searched continuously for three days with an effort consisting of 28 air and surface sorties, covering approximately 5,375 square miles. On April 23rd, the US Coast Guard suspended the search for survivors, and our condolences go out to their families. The news of their deaths, as well as the successful rescue of the other 126 souls aboard the rig, was quickly overshadowed by the massive spill.

On May 6th, with oil still gushing out of the broken well into the Gulf, President Obama announced a six-month deep water drilling ban, based on a report by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar claiming a panel of experts had recommended the ban. Secretary Salazar has come under scrutiny, and the report itself has come into question, because the experts consulted by Secretary Salazar specifically recommended against a blanket moratorium, and have been vocal in their support of continued drilling.

Immediately, oil companies started looking at other countries where their expensive rigs could continue to operate.

Back in August of 2009, the US government loaned billions of dollars to Brazil’s state-owned oil company, Petrobras, to finance exploration of the huge offshore discovery in Brazil’s Tupi oil field in the Santos Basin, near Rio de Janeiro.

Reuters reported late last month that, with an estimated 35 oil rigs idled in the Gulf of Mexico, companies are looking to move their operations to Brazil, where vast discoveries in recent years may soon turn the country into a major crude exporter.

“What is bad for some may be good for others,” said Fernando Martins, Latin America Vice President for GE Oil and Gas, which provides services to drillers in Brazil. “Since operators are shutting down at least temporarily in the US Gulf, some companies are planning to move their rigs to Brazil now,” he said.

The potential loss of the deepwater oil jobs is a catastrophe.

Prince William Sound was devastated by the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989. The safeguards put in place since then, both mandated and voluntary, have virtually ensured that no such spill will happen again, and the area has largely recovered (although the legal issues remain, and could for decades). If the President at the time had imposed a six-month moratorium on oil shipping, the resulting chaos would have affected the entire coast. Thousands would have been unemployed, and ship owners, who have to keep their ships full or they lose money, would have sought greener pastures.

Oil tankers are obviously much more mobile than deepwater drill rigs. After a six-month hiatus, the West Coast oil transportation industry would have come back to serve the pipeline terminus in Valdez.

At press time, a federal judge in New Orleans had halted the deepwater drilling moratorium, saying the government never justified the ban and appeared to mislead the public in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

The Washington Times reports Judge Martin L.C. Feldman issued an injunction, saying that the moratorium will hurt drilling-rig operators and suppliers and that the government has not proved an outright ban is needed.

Feldman also said the Interior Department misstated the opinion of the experts it consulted. Those experts from the National Academy of Engineering have consistently opposed the blanket ban.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs says the administration will appeal the decision, and intends to ask Feldman to stay his ruling pending an appeal.

Oil company executives last moth told Congress they lose up to $1 million a day per idle rig, and said there are opportunities elsewhere. The uncertainty injected by the White House is almost as damaging as the ban itself. The Obama Administration’s initial ban could have been seen as a knee-jerk reaction by an inexperienced manager trying to manage the situation. The subsequent “amended” report by Interior Secretary Salazar falsely claiming scientific support for the ban could be seen as political meddling at best and borders on malfeasance.

The continued attempt by the White House to prolong the ban can only be seen as an attempt to destroy the deepwater oil industry in the Gulf.

The US needs oil, and we’ll take it from wherever we can get it. If we can’t get it from our own backyard, we’ll pay more for it.

If the deepwater rigs leave the US Gulf Coast for Brazil, they might not be back. The newer, safer rigs are in higher demand, and they will be the first to leave. Many, if not most, are owned by foreign companies, which will just as easily hire Brazilian labor, thereby leaving thousands of US family-wage jobs on the beach. This is the real cost of the of the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

While the oil will eventually dissipate, if the rigs leave for good the Gulf economy could take decades to recover.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Bellingham Port Down To Short List For Exec. Dir. Position

Port commissioners have announced the short list in their search for a new executive director at the Port of Bellingham, moving the port one step closer to filling a position that has sat vacant for nearly a year.

The finalists include the top executive at the Port of Coos Bay, the finance director for the City of Bellingham, a Port of Seattle executive, a former city administrator from Arizona and an international trade executive with the Washington State Department of Commerce.

The $125,000 to $135,000-a-year position is being filled after Jim Darling, who had served as port executive director for 15 years, left in July 2009 for a position in the private sector. Port commissioners plan to interview the finalists in early July, hold a public meeting the next week to introduce the finalists, and make a final selection by the end of the month.

The finalists are:

Jeffrey Bishop has served as the executive director for the Oregon International Port of Coos Bay since 2005. Prior to joining the port, Bishop served as manager of industrial development at the Port of Tacoma and director of properties and development at the Port of Pasco.

John Carter has served as the City of Bellingham finance director since being named to the position in late 2007. Prior to joining the city he served as CFO for DIS Corp. in Bellingham, and in several financial management positions with Sears, Roebuck & Co.

Dwight Rives, an 11-year veteran of the Port of Seattle, currently serves as the port's director of port construction services. Prior to his tenure at the Port of Seattle, Rives served as the capital projects manager for the Seattle Public Library.
Mark Watson recently stepped down after serving five years as city administrator of Yuma, Arizona. Prior to his Yuma stint Watson served nearly 25 years in city management positions in Montana and Texas.

Larry Williams currently assistant director, international trade and economic development, for the Washington State Department of Commerce has served more than 17 years in various international trade-related positions with the state of Washington and previously the state of North Carolina.

Tacoma Port Commission Approves Salary for New Executive Director

The governing board for the Port of Tacoma has approved a $220,000 annual salary for the port's newly selected executive director, John Wolfe.

Wolfe, who beat out a pool of 59 applicants for the job, will also receive a $700 monthly car allowance, four weeks of annual vacation and a typical port employee benefits package.

The port contract also includes a provision entitling Wolfe to six months of severance pay if he is asked to leave without cause.

Wolfe salary, which is the same as previous director Tim Farrell's, was in the middle of the p$200,000 to $240,000 advertised range for the position.

Wolfe has been serving as interim executive director since Farrell resigned at the end of 2009. Prior to his current position, Wolfe served as deputy executive director at the port since 2005. Prior to joining the Port of Tacoma, Wolfe served in several top executive positions at the Port of Olympia, including two years as executive director, and he spent a decade with Maersk Sealand/APM Terminals in Tacoma.

López Mendoza To Leave LA Port Board

Port of Los Angeles Harbor Commission Vice President Jerilyn López Mendoza has announced she will leave the port commission at the end of July. 

López Mendoza was named to the five-member commission in 2005 by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Her official six-year term runs through 2011, but Lopex Mendoza is leaving after taking a position as the California Regional Manager for ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability. She is also currently the interim director at the California League of Conservation Voters Education Fund.

During her tenure on the port commission, she has been a key voice in the development of port environmental policies such as the Clean Air Action Plan and the Clean Trucks Program.
Prior to joining the port commission, López Mendoza was the policy director of the Environmental Justice Project Office of Environmental Defense Fund in Los Angeles for nine years. Previously, López Mendoza was the chair of the Steering Committee of the Los Angeles International Airport Coalition for Economic, Environmental and Educational Justice.

Long Beach Port Approves $716 Million FY2011 Budget

On Monday the City of Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners approved a $716 million budget for the Port of Long Beach 2011 fiscal year that includes $474 million in development projects and $71 million in environmental programs.

“Despite the global recession, the Port of Long Beach is in a strong financial position,” said Port Executive Director Richard Steinke. “But to remain competitive, we must look into the future. We must continue to invest in projects to modernize and ‘green’ our operations.”

The 2011 fiscal year budget represents a 19 percent reduction from the current budget. The budget projects that while container terminal revenues are expected to increase 4 percent in the 2011 fiscal year, other income streams such as interest and revenue from oil operations are expected to decline. A projected net decline in overall revenues will require the port to draw down $343 million from reserve funds. The budget also cuts 12 percent in operating expenses from the previous fiscal year by maintaining current staff levels and reducing non-personnel expenses.

In approving the budget, which begins Oct. 1, the port board also gave tentative approval to a scheduling change in the way 10 percent of the port's annual profits are transferred each year to Long Beach City Hall. The city had requested the change, which will require the port to make two transfers in one year--one for $12.4 million and another for $11.5 million--to come in line with the new schedule. The port, while expressing concern about the one-time hit, said it would likely pull the additional transfer funds from the port's capital projects budget.

The board will make a final decision on the city transfer-related items in the next several months.

Healthy Air: CARB and the Emission Control Area

By Charlie Walther and Mary Frances Culnane
June 2010

The state of California tends to be ahead of the rest of the country when it comes to environmental issues. Most recently, the manner in which California has addressed marine exhaust emissions has evolved into an emission control model adopted throughout the world.

Powerful Environmental Advocacy
Although the California Air Pollution Control Act was passed in 1947, it was the passage of the Mulford-Carrell Air Resources Act in 1967 which gave us the California Air Resources Board (CARB). CARB was created prior to the passage of the federal Clean Air Act, and California was the only state to enable this type of regulatory body; consequently, California is the only state permitted to possess such a regulatory agency. Other states may not set their own standards; however, they may follow CARB standards or utilize the federal standards.

Highlights of the original Mulford-Carrell Act included the creation of a State Air Resources Board to coordinate administration, research, and air conservation activities within the State, and the transfer to the Board of all personnel, equipment and assets of the Motor Vehicle Pollution Control Board and Vehicle Pollution Laboratory.

The act also specified duties to be performed by the new board, including the division of California into air basins and the adoption of ambient air quality standards for each basin.

The board assumed total responsibility for emissions from motor vehicles, and was tasked with the adoption of emission standards for all sources of air pollution and the enforcement of these standards, if, after public hearing and investigation, the Board finds that local authority has not taken reasonable action.

CARB was also tasked with conducting studies and inventories of sources of air pollution, monitoring air pollutants, and evaluating the effects of air pollution, as well as coordinating and collecting research data on air pollution and encouraging a cooperative State effort. Finally, the Board is responsible for reviewing all rules and regulations of local and regional authority, to assure that reasonable provision is made to control emissions and to achieve the air quality standards established by the State. The Act granted various methods to enforce the standards

CARB’s stated mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare and ecological resources through the effective and efficient reduction of air pollutants, while recognizing and considering the effects on the state’s economy.

It appears reasonable for CARB to develop sufficient marine exhaust emissions standards based upon evaluating technical studies, fielding expert advice from the industry and providing satisfactory responses to questions and concerns expressed during established public comment periods. Some have argued that CARB may have pushed beyond their stated mission with the recent passage of the Commercial Harborcraft Rule. Within the parameters of this unfunded mandate, CARB not only establishes air quality standards, but dictates methods to reach said standards while remaining exempt from the responsibility for any of the consequences of implementing such methods.

The concept of the Best Available Control Technology (BACT) is of particular concern, due to numerous conflicts with Federal regulations governing procurement of vessels or engines when using federal aid for purchasing same. One issue is that the federally funded procurement process guidelines require confidentiality during a procurement evaluation process, yet CARB involves itself in this process. Moreover, competitive information provided relative to both the technical and cost proposals may include trade secrets protected by statute. A case can be made for CARB removing themselves from the procurement process and establishing an emission standard, thus allowing industry to meet same, as opposed to CARB approving technology and without responsibility or liability placing the burden on the applicant for any failures as a result of implementing CARB approved technology.

CARB has evolved into an 11 member appointed board with an $860 million annual budget and a 1,200 member staff of administrators, regulators, technicians and compliance officers.

Legislation on the Horizon:
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) agreed to the USA EPA & Canada joint application for a 200-mile range emission control area (ECA) with enforcement commencing in August of 2012. Starting at a sulfur cap of 1%, this ECA will reduce to a 0.10% cap by 2015.

The current CARB sulfur restrictions that began on July 1, 2009 will decrease to 0.10% commencing in January 2012.

On the domestic side, a final rule was executed in December, 2009. New engine standards include Tier 2 and Tier 3 NOx limits for US vessels harmonized with MARPOL Annex VI, Hydrocarbon, Carbon and CO cap standards for US vessels. New fuel sales standards include a 0.1 percent sulfur fuel limit for use in ECAs (unless equivalent technology is utilized), and allows for 0.1 percent sulfur distillate sales in US for marine use. The new rule adopts Annex VI implementation regulations for all vessels operating in US waters.

Annex VI
New Annex VI Amendments were approved in October, 2008. These included global NOx controls in the form of the adoption of Tier 2 standards for a 20 percent reduction for new vessels built after 2011. Existing engine standards apply.

Annex VI Amendments also call for global PM and SOx controls, with limits in 2010 of 3.5 percent fuel sulfur, lowering to 0.5 percent fuel sulfur in 2020, although this new level could be delayed to 2025, subject to a fuel availability review in 2018.

Finally, Annex VI states a country or countries may propose to designate an ECA where more stringent standards apply.

In March, 2010 IMO adopted the North American Emission Control Area, which calls for 1 percent fuel sulfur between 2010 and 2014, lowering to 0.1 percent fuel sulfur from 2015 onward. An 80 percent Tier 3 NOx reduction for new vessels will be required from 2016.

In August, 2011 the North American ECA goes into effect. The following August will see the start of enforcement. From August 2012 to January 2015, the 1 percent sulfur limit will apply except in California, where lower limits will be applicable. Low sulfur heavy fuel oil (LSHFO) will still be an option, except in California. After January, 2015, 0.1 percent will be the sulfur limit for ALL marine fuels.

Meeting Regulations
Since implementation of the CARB 24-mile diesel rule for oceangoing vessels went into effect the USCG has received an increase in the number of incidents regarding propulsion issues. There is a technical explanation for this, coupled with a solution, although the solution will increase operating costs.

Basically the vessel is operating on heavy fuel, which requires a considerable amount of heat to allow for proper injection properties. Although the changeover process from heavy fuel to CARB diesel may be described as simply pushing a button, the physics of such a process requires more attention to detail. Marine diesel engines are massive hunks of metal. While operating on heavy fuel the overall temperature of the engine, and especially the fuel injection system, is quite high considering the fuel injection temperatures hover around 248 degrees Fahrenheit. If, at 24 miles offshore the engineers simply injected room temperature CARB diesel into this hot, heavy diesel engine the potential explosion could be ferocious, or the injectors could seize, or any other number of catastrophic incidents could arise. Consequently, there is a procedure for changing over fuels. Generally, it takes between 45 minutes and 4 hours to completely change from heavy fuel to CARB diesel for a typical slow speed marine diesel engine. This process requires light fuel to gradually be mixed with heavy fuel in an appropriately termed mixing tank, or a mixing valve system, as the diesel engine temperature simultaneously drops.

The changeover process is when critical issues may occur; therefore, the process, in order to avoid incidents along the piloted transits of California waters, should be entirely completed prior to reaching the 24-mile point. Conversely, the changeover process should not be initiated until the vessel departs the 24-mile boundary as well. Herein lies the expense as the price of CARB diesel is well documented as being much higher than of heavy fuel with an estimated price differential of $200 - $250/metric ton premium for distillate fuels. Moreover, a vessel may utilize up to 5% more distillate fuel to gain the same power as when operating on heavy fuel. Some price comparisons suggest operating costs will increase $18 per container carried or $7 per passenger carried on a weekly Alaskan cruise.

Other areas to consider when operating on the lighter fuel include the effects on injection timing and attention required to cylinder oil Total Base Number (TBN), since utilizing the incorrect TBN cylinder oil for the fuel in operation could actually attack and wear the cylinder liners. Because the lighter fuel possesses fewer BTUs, one may also anticipate slightly less maneuvering power.

With the advent of the recent adoption of amendments to the MARPOL convention to formally establish a North American Emission Control Area, the marine diesel manufacturers are striving to insure that their products meet such standards.

Wärtsilä and ABB Turbo Systems developed a joint program, which includes two-stage turbocharging on large diesel engines coupled with advanced engine technology resulting in reduced fuel consumption and resultant engine emissions reduction. MAN B&W are working on a scrubber system to remove the sulfur from the exhaust. Other examples of innovations in emissions technology include EMD’s catalyst that fits in the manifold, thereby reducing the footprint of emission equipment. The GE Jenbacher biofuels engine uses biogas from anaerobic fermentation or organic waste from agriculture, foodstuff or feed industries, which can be a substitute for fossil fuels.

Current generation workboat engines are EPA Tier 2 compliant, with the EPA mandates being the driving force behind engine sales. The next generation engines will meet Tier 3 standards, largely with changes in engine architecture (injection and timing changes) while meeting Tier 4 standards will require some form of after treatment.

Clearly, changes are coming to marine fuels, and industry should be ready for them. Vessel Routing will need to be optimized to minimize distance traveled in the ECA, considering the area’s impacts on vessel schedule and the operating cost of any deviations. While there will be some impact on operating costs almost immediately, when 0.1% sulfur fuel is required, starting in 2015, per-voyage fuel cost impacts (into and out of the ECA) could be between $10,000 and $80,000 depending on the port, the route and the ship’s daily consumption.

The effect on annual fuel cost could reach $900,000 for ships on regular voyages into and out of the ECA, starting in 2015. For ships with multiple port calls in the ECA or in coastwise trade fuel cost impact will be higher.

To meet coastal fuel requirements, the “unifuel” ships of the recent past will have to become the dual fuel ships of the future.

Substantial increases in ECA-compliant fuel storage capacity will be needed on most ships, both existing and new, and changes will be needed to most ships’ fuel transfer, purifying and service systems to operate on the newly required low sulfur, low viscosity fuels.

At the end of the day, the rest of the US and Canadian ports will adopt the California model, and the air around the country’s ports will be that much cleaner.

Charlie Walther is a graduate of California Maritime Academy, who served as a Lieutenant, US Naval Reserve and in the US Coast Guard as Chief Engineer, followed by 20 years at Crowley Maritime in engineering and operations, the last five as Corporate Director of Engineering. He started Walther Engineering Services in 1989, and provides engineering and project management for ferries, tankers, tugs with emphasis on diesel propulsion. Some of Charlie’s past projects have included the US Navy X-Craft, where he was the senior tech rep for construction, test engineer and crew training, as well as the construction management of two new WETA ferries.

Mary Frances Culnane is a Chief Engineer who worked for Exxon Shipping Company, Chevron Shipping Company, Military Sealift Command (MSC) and the Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA.) She currently is self-employed via Culnane Maritime Consulting. A 1980 graduate of the US Merchant Marine Academy, she has dedicated her life to maritime pursuits including shipping out, repairing/overhauling vessels, constructing new vessels, revitalizing classic wooden boats and collecting nautical antiquities.