Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Long Beach Breakwater Suffers Multiple Breaches

By Mark Edward Nero

Hurricane Marie, which caused 10-to 15-foot high wave surges in Southern California in late August, also resulted in three breaches in the breakwater that protects the Port of Long Beach, the Army Corps of Engineers confirmed Sept. 4.

About 200 hundred tons of rocks from the so-called Middle Breakwater were displaced during the storm, and the breeches could grow even larger as additional waves strike and erode the areas, according to the Army Corps.

“The next step is to develop a plan to repair the damage, which ranges from breach to significant damage to moderate damage to minor damage,” Corps of Engineers spokesman Greg Fuderer said.
Hurricane Marie grew into a large and powerful Category 5 storm and moved west-northwestward off the Pacific Coast of Mexico in late August, causing dangerous conditions from the Baja California Peninsula up through Southern California.

The two-mile long Middle Breakwater, which was completed in 1949, was built to protect the US Pacific Fleet and now shields ships entering the Port of Long Beach from large waves.

Hurricane Marie’s 10-15 foot waves resulted in the suspension of vessel operations at two Port of Long Beach marine terminals Aug. 27 after longshore workers were endangered by the surges.

Total Terminals International on Pier T, with two Mediterranean Shipping Co. container ships at berth, and Crescent Terminals on Pier F, with two break-bulk ships including an MOL roll-on/roll-off vessel at berth, were the terminals that temporarily halted work as a result of the waves.