Friday, May 30, 2014

Towing of Ultra-Large Containerships Tested

By Mark Edward Nero

Shipping group CMA CGM partnered with Coast Guard Sector San Francisco and other local industry partners recently to test the Bay Area’s capability to tow ultra-large container vessels.
During a May 22 exercise, the CMA CGM vessel Centaurus, an 11,400 TEU containership measuring about 1,200 feet was used to test the capability of existing tug assets within San Francisco Bay to connect to and tow an ultra-large container vessel.

The demonstration was intended as a learning experience to enhance preparedness for emergency towing operations either in the San Francisco Bay or in the approaches to San Francisco.

This exercise marked the first such attempt in the United States, according to the Coast Guard. Among the participants were AmNav Maritime, Foss Maritime and Harley Marine Services.

“This is a prime example of the forward-leaning posture of the San Francisco Bay Area Harbor Safety Committee and a testament to the commitment of our maritime community to safety and environmental protection,” Capt. Gregory Stump, commander of Sector San Francisco and captain of the Port of San Francisco said.

“There will be many important lessons learned from this exercise,” Coast Guard Cmdr. Jason Tama with the 11th Coast Guard District prevention division predicted. “It was a great example of the Coast Guard, Harbor Safety Committee, and maritime industry working together to ensure we are ready to respond to an incident involving an ultra large container vessel.”