Thursday, June 28, 2012

Fidley Watch – Messing About in Boats

By Chris Philips, Managing Editor

Saturday, May 12th was a beautiful day to be on the Seattle waterfront observing the 11th annual Pacific Maritime Magazine Quick and Dirty Boatbuilding Competition during the annual Seattle Maritime Festival. The day started with clear blue skies and a slight breeze, and by the afternoon the weather was warm and sunny.

The boatbuilding started at 9:00 am and continued throughout the day. Historically, Philips Publishing Group fields a team, whose stated goal is to finish in time to have a beer (or two) and a hamburger before the races. Philips didn’t field a team this year, and the work ethic of the 10 teams that were competing was of a much higher caliber, so that all ten teams finished fairly close to the 3:00 pm deadline.

There was a great diversity in designs this year. While there were no paddlewheels as in previous years, there was a twin-hulled screw-type propulsion system from Elliott Bay Design Group, which apparently worked very well on paper, although in practice the last-minute improvised paddles were the main means of propulsion for that vessel.

Another design of note came from Vigor/US Fab, whose three-man design was a modified tunnel barge with three inclined chest rests, putting the three paddlers close to the water and keeping the center of gravity low. Each team member was fitted with two “water claws” consisting of a painstakingly crafted cedar paddle attached to a white plastic tube that covered each forearm. While stable, the craft was also heavy, and the white plastic tubes raised walnut-sized blood blisters on the forearms of the competitors, who gamely raced in three heats before succumbing at the end of the day to a lack of freeboard. The water claws were very effective, and with each pass the bow would lift and the stern would lower. In the final race of the day, the Vigor/US Fab team was almost up on plane when the stern dipped under, letting a big, cold slug of water into the craft. Undeterred (or blinded by the pain in their forearms) the team pulled again, and the boat shipped another slug of seawater. The third stroke swamped the boat, although the team didn’t let that stop them from completing the last 50 feet to the dock. Bravo.

Seattle Maritime Academy won in the “dirtiest boat” category. The boat was a modified pram which looked pretty good in the first heat but leaked so badly at the seams during its second race that it had to make for shore halfway through to prevent disaster. Scratch.

Mercer Island High School, whose teams compete regularly and are always worthy competitors, built a craft no one thought would float and ended up proving the naysayers wrong, competing bravely and remaining afloat and dry. The US Coast Guard built a big heavy box with a point at one end, which proved to be large and stable enough to make them worthy competitors as well, although unprovoked aggression from Art Anderson Associates cracked the Coastie’s hull which subsequently let in quite a bit of water, adding to the weight of the craft, but not slowing the team’s progress by any appreciable amount.

The team of Accounting and Technical Services, made up of “civilians” who had run into the USCG team at a hardware store in Seattle’s Ballard district and thought the competition sounded fun, built a sturdy vessel in the allotted time, with appropriate materials including salvaged paneling from a 1970’s era basement, but the craft was too narrow and flipped at the dock with its team of three who, to their credit, fished themselves out of the drink and tried again with similar results. Lessons were learned.

The vessel entered by Salish Sea Expeditions was roughly boat-shaped and made of OSB and scrap lumber and sealed with roofing tar. The team had an iPod playing in their booth as they built, and the sound of early Led Zeppelin coupled with the smell of roofing tar reminded this editor of his days framing houses. The Salish boat performed about as well as a two-bedroom rambler, and dropped out of the race after the first heat, although all three participants finished the day dry.

The naval architects of The Glosten Associates, Jensen Maritime Consultants and Art Anderson Associates made similar canoe-shaped craft. The Glosten Associates’ team lost a team member between the first and subsequent heats to a previous commitment, and was penalized by having to carry a replacement team member who couldn’t contribute to the paddling. This may have cost them the fastest boat trophy, but gained them respect in the eyes of their colleagues as their “penalty” passenger was Peggy Noethlich, the firm’s vice president. When the boss is in the boat, it had better not sink. It didn’t.

Jensen Maritime Consultants won the Marty Johnson Memorial fastest boat trophy, and the day ended with Jensen sailing in for the win while the Coast Guard and Art Anderson Associates "swapped paint" NASCAR style to the delight of the crowd.

(Photo) Vigor/US Fab 'rounds the buoy in the background while Art Anderson Associates, left, rams the defenseless USCG team. Jensen Maritime Consultants, not pictured, won the fastest boat trophy. Photo by Don Wilson. Courtesy of the Port of Seattle.

More Ships Could Bypass Portland to Avoid Dispute

The ongoing labor dispute at the Port of Portland’s Terminal 6, which has already led to multiple container ships bypassing the port in order to avoid the situation, could lead to more vessels heading elsewhere in the upcoming days and weeks.

The Cape Manila, a 696-foot container ship, is scheduled to arrive at Terminal 6 on July 4, but the vessel’s operator, Hapag-Lloyd, has said that it will decide on a week-to-week basis whether to call at Portland. A spokesman for the company informed media outlets June 28 that it was closely monitoring the situation.

German-based Hapag-Lloyd and South Korean company Hanjin had both previously said they would divert their ships to other ports during the dispute.

The conflict involves International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 8 attempting to claim work at Terminal 6 that has historically been performed by another union – the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

The disputed jobs involve plugging/unplugging and monitoring refrigerated containers. Although the ILWU has filed a motion with the District Council of Trade Unions that says its contract with the Pacific Maritime Association requires the terminal operator to hire longshore workers, the work in question at Terminal 6 has been performed since the early 1970s by the IBEW under a collective bargaining agreement with the port launched at commencement of terminal operations.

When the port transitioned control of container terminal operations to ICTSI Oregon in 2001 under a 25-year lease, continuation of the IBEW work was included in the lease terms.

The dispute has coincided over the past few weeks with a noticeable backup of operations at the terminal, leading to accusations by the National Labor Relations Board of an orchestrated slowdown campaign by the longshore union, charges the ILWU denies.

A federal judge on June 22 ordered the port and terminal operator ICTSI Oregon to enter settlement negotiations with the union; talks are still ongoing.

Port of Hueneme Adopts Balanced Budget

For the first time since fiscal year 2009, the Port of Hueneme has adopted a nearly-balanced budget.

The port is projecting that it will have about $11.77 million in total operating revenue for the fiscal year, which would be the first time in three years the port hasn’t operated in the red. The port had a negative net income of $1.3 million during the 2009-2010 fiscal year, negative $690,000 the following year and minus $1.9 million so far during 2011-2012. Hueneme’s current fiscal year ends June 30.

For 2012-2013, the port still anticipates a net income loss, but only of $99,000.

The years of losses have been due to various factors at the port, including a decline in vehicle imports as well as a drop in income from interest on port investments.

But regarding the budget adopted June 26, Andrew Palomares, the port’s chief administration officer, said that a combination of reduced spending and improved cargo numbers have helped the Oxnard Harbor District, which runs the port, arrive at the determination that the port is back on solid footing.

“While the District is not completely out of the woods and still faces an uncertain future, staff is cautiously optimistic,” according to a budget summary presented to the port’s harbor commission June 26. “The controlling of its costs and increases in revenue since 2009 makes it confident in the marketplace as supported by the anticipated strong second half finish of FY 2012.”

Seattle Maritime Festival Award Winners Named

Capt. Chris Woodley of the US Coast Guard was among those honored during the annual Seattle Maritime Festival Awards Luncheon recently, where he received the Puget Sound Maritime Achievement Award for his years of service at Sector Puget Sound, where he was instrumental in creating new standards of vessel safety for fishing boats working the Alaska market.

Also during the event, Port Commission President Gael Tarleton was awarded the Maritime Industry Public Official of the Year award, and the Port of Seattle’s Marine Maintenance department was announced as the winner of the environmental initiatives award for finding alternative methods for cleaning docks without disturbing water or marine life on port property, in efforts to clean and capture water and sediment.

Container transport company APL was named the comprehensive environmental management programs awardee for accomplishments that include developing and implementing a corporate wide 30 percent carbon reduction strategy.

ILWU International Officer Nominated to Port Commission

San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee on June 25 nominated International Longshore and Warehouse Union International Secretary-Treasurer William E. Adams, to a spot on the city’s five-member port commission.

Adams, a native of Kansas City, Missouri, has lived in San Francisco since 2003 and has held his current position with the ILWU since the same year. Prior to moving to California, he spent 24 years as a longshoreman in Tacoma, Washington.

He went to work at the Port of Tacoma in 1978 as a casual longshore worker, then became a “B registrant” in Local 23 in 1980, and a full member in 1986. After working 20 years as a longshoreman, he became a marine clerk.

As International Secretary-Treasurer, Adams is responsible for the organization’s finances. He oversees the union’s political action work and has represented the union internationally, including during visits with ILWU members in South Africa, Australia, Spain, Cuba, Vietnam and China.

“The port will greatly benefit from Willie’s experience as a longshoreman, and an advocate for workers and fiscal responsibility,” said Lee said in a statement announcing the nomination. “I’m proud to nominate him to the Port Commission and I am truly grateful for his willingness to serve.”

Adams, who has also executive produced several documentaries, has been a member of San Francisco’s film commission since 2009.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Type Approval Concerns Plague Ballast Treatment Market

By Wendy Laursen

A proposal from Norway and Singapore at the March IMO meeting to discuss the international ballast water management convention seemed a fairly minor consideration at the time. Some of the organisms used to test the efficacy of treatment systems for type approval were dying before the tests could be completed and these countries requested a protocol change. However, coupled with the news that equipment manufacturer Wilhelmsen Technical Systems had withdrawn their already type approved system from the market, the issue of type approval reached crisis point.

The Bahamas suggested there was a need to review the type approval guidelines and Tim Wilkins, environmental manager at Intertanko, was quick to support the move. Although keen to see an international solution rather than a regional response to the problem of invasive species carried in ballast water, Wilkins believes that there is a lack of industry confidence in the type approval process that should be addressed. Currently, the type approval guidelines are not perceived to reflect realistic water conditions worldwide. Only two salinity levels are expected to be tested and although certain levels of sediment and live organisms have been set, water temperatures are not specified.

DESMI highlighted the limited salinity testing done by the industry to date when they included fresh water testing in their type approval regime. Some very soft, freshwater species were unexpectedly passing through the filter and DESMI has since redesigned their system as a result.

There are more than 20 type approved ballast water treatment systems on the market and more are currently going through the approval process. Whether or not any changes at IMO will necessitate revisiting existing type approvals is not yet clear and the situation needs to be resolved, says Wilkins. “Let’s be logical about it. Let’s be practical about it.”

Another issue raised at the last IMO meeting relates to California’s no discharge zone for sewage. Although seemingly unrelated to ballast water, some vessels have chosen to store sewage in their aft peak ballast tank. “They are amending the piping and pumping arrangements and some are galvanizing the tanks,” says Wilkins. “The question was raised, if you are putting liquid into a ballast tank, is it defined as ballast water? On discharge, does it have to go through the ballast water treatment system?” It is unlikely that ballast water treatment equipment would be suitable for sewage processing so vessels considering this option would have to have dual piping arrangements.

Meanwhile, the California State Lands Commission is pushing ahead with their own evaluation of treatment systems. The Commission does not actually approve ballast water treatment systems for use in Californian waters; rather it has established performance standards for the discharge of ballast water. “Vessels have several options to comply with those standards including retaining all ballast water on board, the most protective management strategy, and using a ballast water treatment system,” says Nicole Dobroski, environmental program manager for California’s marine invasive species program.

So far only one system can claim to have met the more stringent Californian discharge requirements being enacted by California. The commission’s latest review, published in September 2011, states that Qingdao Headway’s system is the only one so far evaluated that demonstrated the potential to meet California’s standards 100 percent of the time during the shipboard trials conducted for the system’s type approval. Other manufacturers whose systems demonstrated the potential more than 50 percent of the time were Ecochlor, RWO, Severn Trent de Nora and Techcross.

Compliance checking is another issue that has failed to be resolved at IMO. David Tongue, director of regulatory affairs at the International Chamber of Shipping, successfully blocked the current proposal before IMO and he was supported by Panama, the Bahamas and Singapore. The protocol included indicative analysis where indirect measures rather than individual organism counts can be used as compliance tools. Tongue believes that this could involve different testing in different ports and therefore disadvantages shipowners.

California is preparing compliance testing protocols independently from IMO and has not included indicative analysis. The commission is, however, funding two research projects focused on such techniques and is closely tracking similar efforts at federal and international levels. “As indicative sampling methods become more robust and standardized across the scientific community, we will consider including them as part of the compliance assessment process,” says Dobroski.

The protocol developed by California involves collecting samples continuously over as much of the discharge process as possible in order to cover portions of the beginning, middle and end of deballasting. Some of the analysis will be able to be done within six hours but some could take several days. A vessel will be notified of non-compliance as soon as results are available.

Compliance checking systems are being developed around the world, not only for enforcement officers but also for operators wanting to be sure of their status. Hach has developed a portable Rapid Ballast Water Compliance Test Kit that measures living organisms 10 to 50 microns in size. In case of compliance problems or emergency situations, The Glosten Associates has developed an onboard emergency treatment dosing protocol in association with the US Geological Survey and National Parks. Cofely West Industrie has developed a barge-mounted treatment system suitable for ships arriving in port with ballast water of uncertain treatment status. Cofely has also developed a real-time bacteria detection system.

While the US Coast Guard and California continue with regulatory developments, ratification of the IMO ballast water convention is no longer expected this year. Ship repair and ballast water treatment specialist Goltens Green Technologies believes that shipowners that wait for ratification will face far greater costs. Acting early they will get cheaper system prices and cheaper engineering and installation costs, says Goltens.

Engineering company Instrumental Marine Services believes that on-voyage installation is a good option as lead times will be extended when 40,000 to 60,000 orders are placed in the lead up to regulatory mandates. Delayed component deliveries will have an insignificant impact on voyage but, in a shipyard, they can be significant and may lead to work having to be conducted at sea at a later stage and at premium prices.

Dr. Dale Neef, managing director of independent data management consulting company DNA Maritime, believes that electronic data management systems will soon figure more prominently in the ballast water treatment market. Equipment operation, either for ballast water exchange or treatment, needs to be reported to authorities, but there is also the potential for ship managers to make efficiency improvements to ballasting operations using data already available on board from ballast pumps, tank level indicators, valve flow sensors and treatment systems. Fleet management and condition based monitoring software suppliers will soon be able to offer improved functionality in this area, predicts Neef.

Recent type approvals include Westfalia’s BallastMaster ultraV and Siemens’ SeaCURE system. Some manufacturers, such as Mahle and RWO, are expanding their service offering by providing 3-D scanning to facilitate installation design for retrofits. Early entrants to the market, such as Ecochlor and Hyde Marine, continue to build their reference lists: Ecochlor, recently with the Buenos Aires, a bulk carrier owned by Sojitz Corporation, and Hyde Marine with two Aframax tankers being built by SPP Shipyard in South Korea for owner OSG. PG Marine has become Hyde Marine’s supplier for offshore support vessels and has so far secured orders for approximately 60 shipsets.

Severn Trent de Nora has installed three systems to date and has nine systems on order for a range of vessel types including LNG carriers, offshore barges and pipelay vessels. The company has also progressed through the US Coast Guard (USCG) and Californian evaluation process with SeaRiver Maritime’s tanker American Progress.

The USCG established the STEP program in 2004 to promote the development of alternatives to ballast water exchange and participation is available to all international and US domestic vessels subject to the USCG’s ballast water management regulations. Acceptance of the American Progress into the program is evidence of SeaRiver Maritime’s proactive approach to the problem, says Severn Trent de Nora.

In August 2010, American Progress was also authorized to discharge treated ballast water into California waters and it may continue to do so as long as it remains in the STEP program. California also considers the vessel to be in compliance with the state’s performance standards for a period not to exceed five years from the date that the interim performance standards are implemented for this vessel class on 1 January 2016.

With limited industry experience to call on, Wilkins has published a commentary on treatment system selection based on the experiences of Intertanko members that aims to assist others in their decision-making. Guidance on the Selection and Installation of Ballast Water Management Systems for Tankers was published this year and it includes information such as reminders that an often-overlooked aspect of the size of the installation is the additional footprint or space required for personnel to adequately maintain the system. At present, very few systems are estimated to be less than 20 cubic meters (700 cubic feet) and many weigh between 2,000 and 5,000 kg (2 to 5.5 tons). Additional strength reinforcement may be required.

Wilkins recommends that manufacturers and shipyards perform a HAZID assessment prior to both installation and installation and acceptance testing. He also recommends that a ballast water sample and test should be part of the pre-delivery procedures of a new installation. “You don’t just put a ballast water treatment system on board and merrily sail away,” he says.

Wendy Laursen is a freelance journalist based in Australia who has been writing for maritime and engineering magazines since 2004.

POLB Launches Deputy Executive Director Search

The Port of Long Beach has launched a nationwide search to find someone to fill its second-highest management position, Deputy Executive Director. The job has been vacant since its former occupant, Chris Lytle, was named Executive Director in November 2011; he replaced the retiring Dick Steinke.

“The Port of Long Beach is ready to move forward to fill this key position,” Harbor Commission Vice President Thomas Fields, a member of the Commission’s recruitment committee, said.

The port says it’s seeking an experienced senior-level executive to support the Executive Director in the planning, organizing, directing and managing of the POLB’s day-to-day operations.

The position, which essentially functions as a Chief Operating Officer, oversees the daily business activities of the port’s four main bureaus: Engineering, Environmental Affairs and Planning, Finance and Support Services, and Trade Development and Port Operations.

“We are casting a wide net to draw the best candidates to our world-class port,” said Commissioner Doug Drummond, the other member of the recruitment committee. Candidates must have a proven track record of successful management of port operations, financial and strategic planning, government and community relations, and trade and business development.

The search is being conducted by Alliance Resource Consulting, a Long Beach-based executive recruiting firm. The deadline to apply is July 20, 2012. Candidates may submit their information via or find out more about the position at

POLA Receives Clean Air Award

The Port of Los Angeles’ Clean Truck Program has received the 2012 California Air Quality Award from the nonprofit healthy environment advocate Coalition for Clean Air.

L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Los Angeles Harbor Commission President Cindy Miscikowski, former Harbor Commission President David Freeman, former Commission Vice President Jerilyn López Mendoza and Port Executive Director Geraldine Knatz were all recognized during a June 21 ceremony in Los Angeles for their role in establishing and stewardship of the Clean Truck Program.

The program, which was implemented in 2008, established a progressive ban at the port of older, more polluting drayage trucks.

“Prior to the start of the Clean Truck Program in 2008, there was no accountability for the thousands of trucks that called at the Port of Los Angeles,” Miscikowski said. “Today, we’ve slashed harmful emissions by approximately 90 percent and each of the trucks hauling cargo meets the strictest clean air and safety standards of any port in the world.”

The program has also led to the introduction of about 900 alternative-fuel trucks to the fleet and the testing of electric trucks, according to the port.

Other honorees during the ceremonies included comedian and talk show host Jay Leno for his longstanding dedication to the promotion of zero-emission vehicles; and Martin Daum, President and CEO of Daimler Trucks North America for achievements in alternative fuel technologies in the Freightliner truck line.

Long Beach Receives $17 Million Federal Transportation Grant

The Port of Long Beach has received $17 million in grants from a federal transportation program to help fund the “Green Port Gateway,” a $60 million project to improve rail flow and the environment in and around the Port of Long Beach.

The Green Port Gateway project, which includes an Ocean Boulevard track realignment and construction of a Pier F rail support yard, will go out for bid this summer, with construction expected to begin in early 2013.

The project is expected to add a third rail line, which would help remove bottlenecks on the existing mainline track to allow port terminals to shift cargo from trucks to trains, which decreases local traffic congestion and air pollution. The improvements would also minimize derailments and optimize rail traffic flow to the waterfront terminals, according to the port.

The project would take an estimated 19 months to construct, during which about 340 new jobs would be created, according to the port.

The federal funds come from the US Department of Transportation’s Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER, program.

The Green Port Gateway project is the first of four rail projects expected to begin in the next year to promote more on-dock rail shipments, and is also part of the larger San Pedro Bay Ports Rail Enhancement Program, which involves several projects by the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, in conjunction with the Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority.

Overall, the Port of Long Beach has more than $4.4 billion in capital improvement projects planned for the next 10 years. About $27 million has been secured for the Green Port Gateway project from the state’s Proposition 1B Trade Corridor Improvement Fund. The $17 million in TIGER funds brings the state and federal contributions to $44 million.

Coast Guard Establishes Puget Sound Safety Zone

The US Coast Guard has established a temporary 500-yard safety zone around 19 Arctic drilling and towing vessels in an effort to curtail illegal demonstrations and ensure the safety of the vessels, public and environment in the Puget Sound region.

The zone, which is effective from June 22, 2012 to Aug. 1, 2012, was created in response to a situation brewing between Shell Oil and environmental organizations. Shell has been preparing two drill ships – the Kulluk and Noble Discoverer – in Seattle to explore for oil and natural gas this year off Alaska’s north coast.

Environmental groups however, primarily Greenpeace, oppose the drilling due to the potential of an oil spill and the harm it could cause to sea life. The Coast Guard cited a number of illegal demonstrations, including the boarding of vessels off Greenland and in New Zealand, among the reasons for establishing the safety zone.

“Certain unlawful protest activity poses a danger to the life and safety of protesters, target vessels, and other legitimate waterway users. The Coast Guard must take swift action to prevent such harm,” the USCG explained in its federal register notice establishing the zone.

The Arctic drilling, support and towing vessels and assist tugs are expected to operate with limited ability to maneuver during their transit through the Puget Sound and Straits of Juan De Fuca and interference with vessels that are limited in their ability to maneuver “could result in collision, grounding, serious injury, death or pollution in the highly sensitive ecosystem of the Puget Sound,” according to the Coast Guard.

The USCG contends that the safety zone provides ample space for any vessel to operate near the Arctic drilling and support vessels during their transit without disrupting their safe navigation. Vessels wishing to operate near the Arctic drilling and support vessels while the zone is in effect are allowed to enter the outer 400 yards of the safety zone, aft of the pilot house of the vessel or the lead towing vessels, as applicable, as long as they operate at the minimum speed necessary to maintain course.

A full description of the safety zone is available at the Federal Register website .