Riverbend Marine Service Auction

Friday, August 16, 2013

Southern Promise
Gulf Coast Yards See a Resurgence of Activity

By Jim Shaw

The past year has seen yards along the Gulf Coast gain a substantial number of new contracts relating to expanding activity in the offshore sector, particularly deepwater work. At the same time there has been a gain in export orders, as well as continuing movement towards LNG-fueled propulsion systems in newbuilds. Not all operators are ready to jump on the LNG bandwagon just yet but the shift towards gas is accelerating, and the foundations for regional bunkering operations are now being laid. Yard expansion is also taking place as optimism replaces recessionary thinking in both the newbuild and shiprepair sectors. Highlighting this trend has been VT Halter Marine, which has imported a 12,000 metric ton capacity floating dry dock from the Philippines for its Pascagoula, Mississippi yard. The new dock is just one part of a larger plan by Halter to step more solidly into the repair sector, with capacity also being added to serve alongside-berthed semi-submersible rigs and Panamax-size deepsea vessels. Another Gulf Coast yard looking at the deepwater sector is Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Avondale facility on the Mississippi River, which is expected to complete its final ship for the Navy later this year. Under the guidance of newly recruited vice president and general manager Rene Mathieu the historic Louisiana shipbuilder is looking at prospects in offshore fabrication work while searching for a potential business partner or buyer.

Avondale’s Assets
With 75 years of history behind it, the 268-acre Avondale yard has a lot to offer in the way of heavy construction facilities and experience but it remains to be seen if the offshore sector will be interested. In 2011 the state of Louisiana offered HII a $214-million package of performance-based incentives if it could find a partner or new owner to keep Avondale running. To date those incentives, which included payment for workforce training and facility upgrades based on maintaining 3,850 full-time workers, have failed to entice any interest. HII and the state are now hoping that Mathieu will be able to move Avondale successfully into heavy commercial construction, either through a partnership venture or by selling the yard to a new owner. Mathieu, who will work in Houston as well as in New Orleans, has been pitching the yard’s physical attributes, including a 900-foot by 220-foot (274m by 67m) floating dry dock, currently the nation’s largest, and its 1.2 million square feet (111,484 sq m) of under-roof production space. The yard’s central location is also considered an asset, although the Mississippi River is known to be temperamental at times. The challenge will be to find sufficient work before naval construction dries up completely, and at a price that can keep Avondale competitive with both its domestic and foreign competitors.

VT Halter Expansion
Matching Avondale’s optimism for work in the offshore sector is VT Halter Marine, which imported a 12,000 metric ton capacity floating dry dock from the Philippines earlier this year and plans a number of other improvements at its Pascagoula site to stimulate both new construction and ship repair work. In announcing the arrival of the dock the company said the Pascagoula yard “will now be able to service not only the repair needs of its existing newbuild customers, it will also cater to new customers and most likely will more than double its customer base for ship repair business.” The firm said it expects to create as many as 400 new jobs with the expansion at Pascagoula, which will result in a business model similar to that of its counterpart in Singapore, ST Marine, a yard that offers both newbuild and repair capabilities. In the newbuild sector, VT Halter launched the US Navy’s newest oceanographic survey ship, USNS Maury (T-AGS 66), earlier this year for delivery in 2014. The vessel measures 353 feet (108 m) by 58 feet (18 m) and will be operated by the US Military Sealift Command (MSC) for the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command. It is 24 feet (7.3 m) longer than its sister ships to accommodate a 300 square feet moon pool for the deployment and retrieval of unmanned underwater vehicles. VT Halter is also finishing up its contract to build four Fast Missile Craft (FMC) for the Egyptian Navy under the US Navy’s foreign military sales (FMS) program. The 40-knot Egyptian vessels are being completed to a Vosper International Ambassador Mk. III design, with the first craft, S. Ezzat, recently finishing sea trials off Florida.

Bigger OSVs
In the commercial sector VT Halter launched the 320 feet offshore supply vessel (OSV) HOS Commander in April as the first of 10 similar 6,200-dwt vessels being built for Covington, Louisiana-based Hornbeck Offshore Services. Known as the Super 320 Class, the large OSVs have 11,863 square feet of deck area and can carry approximately 20,900 barrels of liquid mud. Six are being built at VT Halter’s Escatawpa yard and four at its other Moss Point facility, with HOS Commander due to be delivered this autumn. The ten boat contract represents a $442 million order, the largest single commercial order ever won by VT Halter. It also underlines Hornbeck’s strategic move into the deepwater sector. All of the vessels are to be delivered by early 2015. VT Halter has also picked up an option to build a second Articulated Tug Barge (ATB) unit for New York’s Bouchard Transportation Company as a follow-up to an original order announced in February. Both double-hulled barges will measure 625 feet by 91 feet, with a depth of 47 feet and will accommodate 250,000 barrels of product. The 10,000-hp twin screw ATB tugs, to be classed by ABS as A1 Towing Vessel, Dual Mode, USCG Sub-chapter M and will be equipped with Intercon coupler systems. Construction of the first barge has started at VT Halter’s Pascagoula yard, with delivery scheduled for mid 2015, while construction of the second will begin in the final quarter of this year for delivery within the first quarter of 2016. The first ATB unit, to be composed of tug Bouchard Boys and barge No. 270, will be employed in Jones Act trading along the eastern seaboard. The additional Bouchard ATB order is highly welcomed as VT Halter completed its long-running Crowley ATB program in May with delivery of tug Liberty and barge 750-3 (See Pacific Maritime Magazine, June 2013).

Eastern Shipbuilding
Also building a number of boats for Hornbeck, as well as several other owners, is Florida’s Eastern Shipbuilding Group. Eastern launched the 292-foot by 64-foot Red Dawn as part of Hornbeck’s Project Spartan in March. Red Dawn is the first of four “HOSMax 300” vessels. These boats, designed by Houston’s STX Marine, are equipped with four Cat 3516C generator sets of 1,825-kW output each powering Schottel Z-drives and tunnel thrusters. The remaining six Hornbeck vessels at Eastern are 302 feet by 65 feet HOSMax 310 designs that also use diesel electric propulsion. Just delivered by Eastern is the 302 feet by 64 feet DP-2 light construction vessel Harvey Deep Sea for Harvey Gulf, which has already been chartered by DOF Subsea USA. The high-tech vessel is equipped with an active heave-compensated 165-ton knuckle-boom offshore crane capable of lifting and setting 100 tons at depths up to 10,000 feet. Propulsion is provided by four Caterpillar 3516, 2,250-kW gensets powering twin 2,500-kW Schottel Z-drives and three Schottel bow thrusters. In one of the Gulf Coast’s growing number of export orders, Eastern has delivered the diesel-electric powered PSV Bravante V to Boldini SA of Brazil as the first of five vessels it is building for the Latin American group, all backed by a $240.8 million loan guarantee provided by the Maritime Administration (MARAD).To support a rapidly expanding order book, one that now extends into mid-2016, Eastern is modernizing its Allanton yard and has leased 20 acres of land at Port St. Joe, Florida while renting additional dock space at the Port of Panama City, Florida.

BAE Systems
In Mobile, Alabama, BAE Systems has entered the offshore sector by obtaining a contract to build two 288-foot by 62-foot DP-2 platform supply vessels (PSVs) for GulfMark Offshore with options for two more. The twin 8,160-HP boats are being completed to an MMC Ship Design & Marine Consulting design for delivery in 2014 and 2015. Having a somewhat earlier delivery schedule are four 252-foot by 60-foot PSVs being built at the company’s yard in Jacksonville, Florida for Jackson Offshore Operators. These Guido Perla-designed boats will have a total deadweight capacity of about 3,500 metric tons and will feature an integrated Rolls-Royce diesel-electric propulsion package employing Rolls-Royce’s Azipull thrusters. The first two vessels are scheduled for delivery in May 2014 and September 2014 while the second two will follow in 2015. All four will service offshore drilling operations in the Gulf of Mexico. In addition to its offshore work BAE is also finishing two 295-foot by 62-foot dump scows for Illinois-based Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company and a 8,500 cubic yard capacity trailing suction hopper dredge for Weeks Marine. The latter vessel, measuring 340 feet by 79 feet, is being completed to a design furnished by Holland’s IHC Merwede and is to be finished by next year. Earlier this year BAE Mobile received some unexpected repair business when Carnival Cruise Lines’s fire-damaged Carnival Triumph was towed into the yard. However, a strong wind in early April snapped the vessel’s mooring lines and it blew across the harbor to come against the Army Corps of Engineer’s dredge Wheeler, causing damaged to both ships. In June, Carnival filed a $12.5 million lawsuit against BAE seeking damages, which BAE claims is “without merit.”

LEEVAC Shipyards
Tugboats have not been in as much demand along the Gulf Coast as platform supply vessels but LEEVAC Shipyards Jennings, at Jennings, Louisiana, is close to finishing two 80-foot by 38-foot Z-Tech 2400 class terminal/escort tugs for Bay Houston Towing and Suderman Young Towing, both to be employed in Houston and Galveston. At the same time, the yard is starting construction of two STX Marine-designed SV 310 multipurpose supply vessels for Hornbeck Offshore. To be the 23rd and 24th vessels to be built by LEEVAC for Hornbeck, each of the HOSMAX 310s will be equipped with a 250-ton crane provided by Cargotech. This will allow the boats to undertake subsea inspection, repair and maintenance work as well as normal supply operations. Propulsion will be provided by four Caterpillar Model 3516C Tier 3 IMO II variable speed generator sets rated at 2250-kW each, with the drives and thrusters to be supplied by Schottel. A similar propulsion package will be used in two 300-foot by 64-foot PSVs to be built for Tidewater Marine of New Orleans, both to be DP-2 rated. Each of the 5,400-dwt Tidewater boats will be powered by four Tier 3 Caterpillar 3516C generator sets rated at 2,100-kW each. LEEVAC is also building two diesel-electric, DP-2 platform supply vessels for Aries Marine, the first to be delivered next year and the second in 2015. To measure 270 feet by 56 feet, the 4,000-dwt Aries boats will be powered by four 3516C Cat 1,825-kW generator sets with Schottel providing the propulsion drives and thrusters. Delivery is set for 2014 and 2015.

TY Offshore
Another company moving strongly into the offshore sector is TY Offshore, which with sister company Trinity Yachts, has formed the Gulf Coast Shipyard Group (GCSG). Giving the new group a financial boost is private equity firm Littlejohn & Co., which said it intends to “work closely” with the existing GCSG management team to support their strategic growth plans. John Dane III, GCSG President and CEO, welcomed the Littlejohn investment and announced that the reformed group will be starting a $9 million capital improvement program at its Gulfport, Mississippi yard this year. The work will include upgrading the facility’s Syncrolift to 4,300 tons in anticipation of building ice class vessels for Arctic operations. The Gulfport yard is currently building six 302-foot by 64-foot dual-fuel platform supply vessels for Harvey Gulf (Pacific Maritime Magazine, June 2013) as well as a series of twenty-eight 30,000-bbl capacity barges for Florida Marine Transport. The 5,520-dwt Harvey Gulf boats will be capable of carrying 16,000-bbls of liquid mud, 10,000 cubic feet of dry cement and 1,500-bbls of methanol. Finland’s Wärtsilä is providing the 6-cylinder34DF dual-fuel powered generating sets for the PSVs as well as fuel storage tanks and fuel-management systems. To provide LNG bunking for the boats Harvey Gulf has contracted with CH·IV International of Houston, Texas to design and develop two LNG refueling facilities on the Gulf, each to have a 270,000 gallon storage capacity. The bunkering centers will utilize stainless steel Type ‘C’ pressure vessels with vacuum insulation and carbon steel exteriors. According to Harvey Gulf each refueling facility will be able to transfer 500 gallons of LNG per minute.

Bollinger Shipyards
Continuing on its long tradition of work for the US Coast Guard (USCG), Bollinger Shipyards delivered the patrol craft Paul Clark to the agency in May as the 130th vessel the Lockport-based company has constructed for the USCG in 30 years. It is also the sixth of 18 Sentinel Class fast response cutters (FRCs) the company is building, which could be incrementally extended to 34 vessels. The Coast Guard is scheduled to commission the 154-foot Paul Clark in Miami, Florida during August while the seventh vessel of the series is currently on trials. In the commercial sector Bollinger is finishing up several new construction programs, with the last of Crowley Maritime’s Ocean class tugs, Ocean Sky recently delivered, and a series of three sludge-carrying vessels being built for the City of New York expected to be completed by year’s end. Beyond new construction, Bollinger is using two of its facilities, Larose and Morgan City, to convert six 200 class DP1 offshore supply vessels to 240 class DP2 OSV’s for Hornbeck through the incorporation of 40-foot mid-body extensions and DP upgrades. Built in 1999 and 2000, the vessels were acquired by HOS in 2007. Due to the boats’ 56-foot beam, the mid-bodies will bring each vessel’s deadweight capacity up to approximately 2,850 tons and roughly double their liquid mud carrying capacity to 8,000 barrels. Two have already been redelivered with the rest to follow over the next several months. Bollinger is also stretching five of nine 210-foot by 56-foot PSVs owned by Harvey Gulf. Fifty-foot mid-sections are being added to the ex-Bee Mar boats, which will boost their 2,700-dwt capacity up to 3,700-dwt. Looking at further developments in the deepwater sector, Bollinger is moving ahead with the expansion of its facilities at Port Fourchon, Louisiana, where a major slip dredging project at Slip C is being finished up. This will allow the company to expand its drydock capability at the port as well as alongside repair and maintenance services.

2 New Fireboats Planned for Long Beach Port

German engineering company Voith says it will provide propellers and turbo couplings for two new fireboats designed by Robert Allan Ltd. for service at the Port of Long Beach.

With a water pumping capacity of more than 40,000 gallons per minute, the vessels, which are are currently being built by the Foss Maritime shipyard in Seattle, are expected to be among the world’s most powerful fireboats.

For each fireboat, the Voith equipment supply includes not only the two VSP couplings, but also two 866 DTL Voith turbo couplings and a twin control stand unit. The control unit’s positioning in the wheelhouse, Voith says, will allow the captain and crew to benefit from a 360 degree panoramic view. Two diesel engines, each with a power of 1,350 kW, drive the VSP.

Both vessels are designed with an overall length of about 108 feet, a beam of 35 feet and a draft of 14 feet, as well as an operating speed of 13 knots. The design is based on the Voith Water Tractor principle, which is already in use at the Port of Los Angeles.

The fireboats are also expected to be equipped with two Voith Schneider Propellers VSP 26GII/165 AE45 each in the forward half of the vessel. Voith says the relatively short VSP blade length of 5.4 feet makes it possible for the fireboats to enter shallow areas of the port without compromising maneuvering safety, allowing the vessels to also support onshore firefighting.

The boats’ water jets are expected to be able to reach heights of up to 236 feet and a distance of up to 580 feet. The vessels are expected to replace the two older fireboats, Liberty and Challenger. Delivery to the Port of Long Beach is scheduled for spring 2014 and autumn 2014 respectively, Voith says.

Shippers Fined for Violating Fuel Regulation

Three international shipping companies have been fined a combined $440,250 for failing to switch from bunker fuel to cleaner, low-sulfur marine distillate fuel upon entering regulated waters as required by California law, a state regulatory agency said August 12.

According to the California Air Resources Board, an investigation showed that on 17 visits to California ports between Nov. 6, 2009 and July 18, 2011, the vessel Hoegh Inchon operated its main engines within regulated California waters on bunker fuel, the dirtier fuel oil that contributes to onshore pollution levels of diesel particulate matter, sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxides.

The vessel’s parent company, Oslo, Norway-based Hoegh Autoliners Shipping AS, was fined $299,500.

In February 2013, prior to docking at the ports of Stockton and Long Beach, the Ikan Bawal was cited for failing to switch its engines over to the required cleaner fuel while operating within California waters. Its owner, NCN Corporation Panama, was fined $87,750.

In August 2012, after it docked at the Port of Los Angeles, the vessel K-Pluto was also cited for failing to switch to the required cleaner fuel while operating within state waters. Its parent company, Singapore-based Twin Phoenix Shipping SA, was fined $53,000.

The Air Board says all three companies complied with the investigation and agreed to abide by all pertinent regulations in the future, follow fuel switchover requirements and keep accurate records.

“Ships en route to California ports emit thousands of tons of diesel exhaust each year,” ARB Enforcement Chief Jim Ryden said in an August 12 statement. “Our regulation requiring ocean-going vessels to switch to cleaner fuel within 24 nautical miles of our shoreline protects all California residents, especially those in port communities, from this air pollution.”

The ARB’s Ocean-Going Vessel Regulation was adopted in 2008. The Air Board estimates that the compliance rate is around 95 percent and that it eliminates 15 tons of diesel particulate matter daily from ocean-going vessels’ exhaust.

The says it ARB conducts more than 500 ship inspections each year, checking for proper fuel usage, record-keeping and other compliance requirements, and takes marine gas oil or marine diesel oil samples for submission to the ARB laboratory to ensure they meet California standards for sulfur.

Top 3rd Party Logistics Providers Named

For the fifth straight year, Crowley Maritime Corp.’s logistics group has been recognized as one of the best-equipped industry providers, after being named among the top 100 third-party logistics (3PL) providers in 2013 by a trade magazine.

The editors of Inbound Logistics say they selected Crowley, along with the other honorees, from hundreds of candidates, based on ability to offer diverse operational capabilities, scalability and experience to meet unique supply chain and logistics needs.

Among the other West Coast-based companies that made this year’s list were Crowley Logistics of Seattle, Honolulu’s Matson Logistics, Northern California-based Menlo Worldwide Logistics and the Los Angeles area company Performance Team.

“This honor is a testament to the diligence and dedication our employees show every day to differentiate our company in the marketplace as a unique logistics and liner shipping provider,” Frank Larkin, Crowley’s senior vice president and logistics general manager, said.

Inbound Logistics says it selects the best logistics solutions providers by carefully evaluating submitted information, conducting personal interviews and online research and comparing the data to readers’ burgeoning global supply chain and logistics challenges.

“How a logistics solutions provider enables scalability for its customers is a key factor in the editors’ Top 100 3PL selection process,” the magazine’s editor, Felecia Stratton, explained. “3PLs must produce direct savings for customers by optimizing the transport network, reducing inventory-to-sales ratios, or advancing the order-to-cash cycle. But it’s just as important for a logistics partner to act as a business change agent, driving their customers’ ability to match demand for their products more closely to supply, aligning enterprise operational performance to the larger economic trend.”

The full list of 100 3PL companies can be seen at http://www.inboundlogistics.com/digital/top100_3pl_digital_chart_0713.pdf.

Long Beach Port Schedules Public Workshops

The Port of Long Beach has scheduled two workshops to update the public on the status of multiple major construction projects and how the port is managing the projects’ traffic impacts.

Interested parties can drop by any time between 7 and 9 am or 5 and 7 pm Aug 28 for updates on the Gerald Desmond Bridge Replacement Project, Schuyler Heim Bridge Replacement Project, Middle Harbor Redevelopment Project, Anaheim Street repaving and port-wide traffic management.

The $1 billion Desmond Bridge project consists of replacement of the obsolete structure with a new state-of-the-art span. The new bridge, which is expected to be complete in 2016, is being built immediately adjacent to and north of the existing 45-year-old Gerald Desmond Bridge.

The Schuyler Heim Bridge Replacement, which is still in the planning stages, would replace the seismically deficient Schuyler Heim Bridge over Cerritos Channel and add a four-lane elevated roadway connection to Alameda Street that would provide an alternative route from Terminal Island and provide direct access to local distribution centers and warehousing facilities and local freeways.

The Middle Harbor redevelopment is a nine-year, $1.2 billion project to upgrade wharfs, water access and storage areas, plus add a greatly expanded on-dock rail yard in order to create a super-terminal.

Both workshops are scheduled for Wed., Aug 28 in the Luna Solstice Room of the Hotel Maya, located near the port’s headquarters building. The Hotel Maya is located at 700 Queensway Drive, Long Beach, CA 90802.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Fidely Watch: Congressional Representation

Washington State’s Junior Senator, Maria Cantwell (D) has perked up the ears of the maritime community with recent comments about the Jones Act.

At a hearing of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee on July 16th, the senator called for greater transparency in gasoline markets and refinery shutdowns. Senator Cantwell highlighted a new report demonstrating that West Coast gasoline prices have broken from historic trends since April 2012. The senator noted that in Washington State, prices had risen 9 cents in the past week and were 27 cents higher than the national average.

“Washington state prices are among some of the highest in the nation,” she said, noting that last year’s West Coast refinery fire was unfairly blamed for a spike in prices (see Pacific Maritime Magazine, September 2012) saying, “My constituents want to see more transparency there. Hamburger probably has more regulation on it than gasoline.”

During a presentation to the committee, Faisel Khan, Managing Director of Citi Research claimed that one of the reasons for spikes in gas prices was the Jones Act, and told the committee that the cost of moving crude by Jones Act tanker could be three to six-times the price of using non-Jones Act tankers.

“Mr. Khan I wanted to mention the fact that you bring up the Jones Act as something of a price increase,” the Senator countered. “CitiGroup has been under investigation and paid penalties both for fraud in the mortgage market and is now under investigation by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) for manipulation in gas prices, and the fact that you come here and blame the Jones Act as some reason why we have high gas prices is just amazing to me.”

Senator Cantwell’s mention of the Jones act had many in the US maritime industry cheering her defense of the much-maligned legislation. Ed Morse, chief commodity analyst at Citigroup, has said publicly the Jones Act adds between $6 and $8 a barrel to transport costs. Morse has said that based on his calculations, it’s often cheaper for a Gulf Coast refiner to send gasoline to Brazil than to New York. Recent news stories have interviewed oil company executives such as Joe Petrowski, CEO of Gulf Oil, who said, “If foreign owned and flag ships were able to carry gasoline in US waters, the price of gasoline in the North East and in Florida could be 20 to 30 cents lower.”

According to shipping and capital magazine Marine Money International, a mid-sized product tanker costs $130 million in the United States versus $34 million in Korea, and a 4800 TEU container ship would have a price tag of $200 million in the US vs. $46 million in South Korea.

This column doesn’t often see the need to defend the Jones Act, but we will call attention to the sad story of the 5-year-old MOL Comfort, a state of the art Korean-built containership that broke in two in the Indian Ocean in June, thankfully with no loss of life. The two pieces floated separately for a time while salvors raced to the scene. Too late for the aft section, which sank in late June and the bow section, which burned and sank in mid-July. Had that ship been built by a US yard, would she have met the same fate?

Crowley Planning Petroleum Fleet Expansion

Crowley Maritime Corp. says it plans to contract with Aker Philadelphia Shipyard to build up to eight product tankers for delivery between 2015 and the end of 2017.

Construction contracts have been signed with APSI for the first four 330,000-barrel tankers, with deliveries in 2015 and 2016, according to Crowley. Additional agreements between the two parties include options for building up to four more tankers and for expanding the cooperation initiated with Aker’s sale and delivery of two product tankers, the Florida and Pennsylvania, to Crowley in 2012 and 2013.

If all options are exercised, Crowley’s petroleum fleet would grow to ten 330,000-barrel tankers and 17 articulated tug barges, ranging in capacity from 155,000 to 330,000 barrels.

“Through this expansion and cooperative agreement with Aker we will be providing our customers with more options for transporting their product with greater safety and efficiency,” company Chairman and CEO Tom Crowley said in a statement. “We expect these new ships to be well received by longstanding customers as well as new customers.”

The new 50,000-dwt product tankers are based on a proven Hyundai Mipo Dockyards (HMD) design which incorporates numerous fuel efficiency features, flexible cargo capability and the latest regulatory requirements.

The vessels are to be constructed with consideration for the use of LNG for propulsion in the future, according to Crowley. HMD and APSI collaborated on the successful construction of 14 product tankers at APSI between 2007 and 2013. Design and procurement activities are already underway to support the start of construction of Crowley’s first newly-contracted tanker in January 2014.

APSI expects to invest in the partnership for the first four vessels, consistent with the requirements of the Jones Act. Crowley is expected to maintain control over the ownership, technical operation and commercial management of the vessels, while APSI and Crowley would share in the new vessels’ operation and chartering.

“This strategic opportunity allows us to capitalize on the increased demand for Jones Act tankers in a way that will transform APSI in the years ahead,” Aker President and CEO Kristian Rokke said.

Crowley currently owns and operates 17 articulated tug barges (ATBs) ranging in size from 155,000-bbl to 330,000-bbl capacity, and two 330,000-bbl product tankers. The company also provides tanker management services for other US companies.

Foss Retrofit System Receives EPA Verification

Clean hybrid technology pioneered by Foss Maritime and Aspin Kemp & Associates of Stratford, PEI recently received verification from the US Environmental Protection Agency.

After a rigorous process, the EPA verified the XeroPoint Hybrid Tug Retrofit System, which was installed and extensively tested on a Foss harbor tug in the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles.

The verification means the XeroPoint hybrid system is certified as an effective choice for use on any US harbor tug seeking to meet the nation’s highest environmental standards.

The hybrid retrofit Campbell Foss has been working in southern California since 2012, using ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel. The University of California-Riverside, which has been testing the Foss Maritime/AKA system, found a fuel savings of roughly 30 percent; a 25 percent particulate matter reduction; a 30 percent reduction in nitrogen oxides produced during combustion; a 30 percent reduction in carbon dioxide; and a 35 percent reduction in carbon monoxide.

“The hybrid retrofit reduces fuel costs and pollution,” Foss Maritime President and CEO Paul Stevens said. “EPA verification of the California test results is what the maritime industry has been looking for.”

On the Campbell Foss, the XeroPoint system integrates electrical and mechanical devices onboard to provide optimal modes of operation for power and propulsion. The hybrid system’s energy management system strives to eliminate the unnecessary idling of diesel engines by determining the most efficient configuration of the electrical and mechanical devices on board.

“The Foss/AKA XeroPoint system is a great example of technology innovation to reduce emissions and improve fuel economy in the marine sector,” Jim Blubaugh, Deputy Director of the Transportation and Climate Office at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, said. “By reducing diesel emissions at ports, the XeroPoint Hybrid Tugboat Retrofit System can help improve air quality and energy independence in one of our nation’s most important supply chain sectors. We look forward to the broad deployment of this technology in harbor tugboat vessels.”

The technology is now included on EPA’s Verified Technology List. For more information about verified technologies and the Verified Technology list, please visit: http://epa.gov/cleandiesel/verification/ .

50 Tons of Trash Pulled from San Diego Bay

An estimated 50 tons of rubbish was recently pulled from the bottom of the San Diego Bay under a debris removal program spearheaded by the Port of San Diego.

Boats, tires, batteries, metal containers, engines and other debris were recovered and removed from the area known as the A-8 Anchorage within South San Diego Bay. The A-8 Anchorage was an unlimited, free anchorage established in the 1980s to accommodate up to 150 vessels at any one time. 

Over the years, however, many vessels within the anchorage area sank because of winds, storms, or simply because the vessels weren’t seaworthy. But thanks to about $219,000 in grant funding, the port was able to contract with a tenant business, Pacific Tugboat Service, to handle the cleanup. Side-scan sonar was used to provide divers with a “road map” of the debris.

The $219,500 for the project comes from a $120,000 in grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s marine debris removal program; and a $99,500 grant from the State Water Resources Control Board.

A survey of the A-8 Anchorage and surrounding areas found 950 debris items, resulting in the current cleanup efforts, which started in June. The work is expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2013.

Photos of the various types of debris removed so far can be seen at http://www.flickr.com/photos/portofsandiego/sets/72157634866441090/ .

POLA Master Plan Gets Wide-Ranging Update

The Los Angeles Harbor Commission has approved a new master plan that the Port of LA says is the first comprehensive update of its development policies and procedures since its original plan took effect more than 30 years ago.

“The updated port master plan is a new roadmap for a new era,” Harbor Commission President Cindy Miscikowski said. “It ensures the most efficient, beneficial and responsible use of this vital asset for our city and our nation.”

The plan sets forth development policies for the port to promote commerce, navigation, fisheries, recreation and environmental protection and provides for the port to adapt to changing technology, cargo trends, regulations and competition from other US and foreign seaports.

Specifically, the updated plan:
 • Reduces the number of planning areas from nine to five: San Pedro, West Basin/Wilmington, Terminal Island, Fish Harbor and Waterways.
 • Clarifies the planning process and, in alignment with today’s practices and goals, specifies a single land use designation for the most parcels within the Port district.
 • Simplifies the process for issuing coastal permits by reducing the number of permit types to two from three, and delegates the authority to approve permits for the minor land and/or water use changes to the Executive Director. Major land and water use developments will continue to require a public hearing and approval by the Board of Harbor Commissioners.
 • Updates the Port’s Risk Management Plan for assessing the potential risks related to the storage and transfer of crude oil and petroleum products. The development process for the updated Port Master Plan began more than 18 months ago and included input from industry, tenants, labor, governmental agencies, the community and other stakeholders. Like its predecessor, the new plan’s subject to certification by the California Coastal Commission.

“This comprehensive update,” port Executive Director Geraldine Knatz, said, “reflects our evolution, growth and priorities going forward.”