Friday, December 5, 2014

USCG Investigating LA Port Fireboat Units

By Mark Edward Nero

The US Coast Guard is investigating whether members of fireboat units stationed near the Port of Los Angeles improperly obtained Coast Guard licenses required by the City of Los Angeles, according to a leaked LA Fire Dept. memo.

According to the memo, which was sent out in late November and obtained by the Los Angeles Times, the Coast Guard is looking into whether federal licensing records were falsified for LAFD members assigned to the department’s fleet of five fireboats.

Investigators are said to be focusing on whether licensing paperwork documenting the time spent on the water by some firefighters was overstated. Under city rules, pilots and mates assigned to the boats are required to first secure Coast Guard-issued licenses that involve specialized training, a written exam and hundreds of hours of verified sea experience.

A total of 15 pilots and mates are assigned to the units.

According to the LAFD memo, a special agent of the Coast Guard Investigative Service in June requested 10 years of Fire Dept. logs, journals and other records documenting fleet operations.
The fireboat units, which are based at firehouses near the port, include scuba divers trained for underwater firefighting, plus crews that operate the LAFD’s harbor-based fleet.

According to Fire Dept. spokesman Peter Sanders, the LAFD internally conducted a similar investigation in 2012, but was unable to substantiate allegations that records had been falsified.
Sanders, however, said his agency is cooperating with the probe.

Jensen Maritime Designs New ASD Tugs

By Mark Edward Nero

Jensen Maritime, Crowley Maritime Corp.’s Seattle-based naval architecture and marine engineering firm, said Dec. 2 that it is providing designs for two new Azimuthing Stern Drive, 5,360 horsepower tugboats for New Orleans-based Crescent Towing.

The designs are based on Jensen’s existing 92-foot ASD tug design. The tugs are the fourth and fifth vessels Jensen has designed for Crescent, with the most recent design having been delivered in 2010.

“The high horsepower and compact, deep-draft design of the 2010 tug allows us to better serve a wide variety of our customer’s current and future needs,” Keith Kettenring, Crescent Towing’s executive vice president, said in a statement.

Improvements made in the new designs are expected to yield more horsepower and increased stability during the tugs’ operation. Also, a modified staple placement is expected to increase steering forces by about 30 percent. To accommodate this increase, the tow point is being lowered and allowed to move further off center, increasing stability in working modes.

Increased brake tension on the bow winch will also accommodate the increased steering forces, according to Jensen, while tankage is divided in the new design to better control liquids on board, which could also improve stability and trim control.

“Horsepower is important for safety due to the increasing size, tonnage and draft of the ships calling on our ports now and in the future,” Kettenring explained. “Horsepower is needed to better control these ships to avoid accidents and environmental casualties.”

For this project, Jensen provided Crescent Towing all the structural assembly drawings and construction blueprints to aid the process of cutting and laying out steel pieces to minimize waste during construction.

The 70 metric ton bollard pull tugs will be built by Steiner Shipyard in Bayou La Batre, Alabama and are scheduled for delivery in November 2015 and January 2016.

Willard Marine to Design NOAA Rescue Boats

By Mark Edward Nero

Southern California-based boat design and manufacturing company Willard Marine said in late November that it has been awarded contracts to develop two new sizes of Safety of Life At Sea (SOLAS) Fast Rescue Boats for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association.

An inboard-powered 5.9-meter SOLAS rescue boat with waterjet propulsion is to be built for the NOAA ship Nancy Foster, and a 5.4-meter outboard-powered SOLAS rescue boat is contracted for the Hi’ialakai in Hawaii.

The SOLAS self-bailing fiberglass-hull RIBs are gel-coated international orange. Willard Marine says it will acquire the necessary U.S. Coast Guard SOLAS certification for both vessels. Both NOAA ships require SOLAS Fast Rescue Boats per the International Maritime Organization’s life-saving appliance code to facilitate NOAA’s research-and-survey missions.

Willard Marine is the only American manufacturer of SOLAS rescue boats, which are rigorously tested by the US Coast Guard and only certified when proven to meet high safety standards, Willard Marine President and CEO Ulrich Gottschling said.

“NOAA expects the very best in vessel safety, durability and performance from Willard Marine, and they can count on our SOLAS rescue boats to help get people to safety when they need it most,” Gottschling said in a statement.

Privately held Willard Marine is based in Anaheim, California and also has a facility in Virginia Beach, Virginia, not far from NOAA’s Washington DC headquarters and from Norfolk, Virginia where the Nancy Foster is based.

POLB Names 2 More Division Heads

By Mark Edward Nero

The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners has named new directors for the port’s Construction Management and Information Management divisions, the port said Dec. 2.

Nyariana Maiko, who since 2010 has been an Associate Vice President with Molina Healthcare, will be the new Director of the Information Management division. Suzanne Plezia, who has been Acting Director of Construction Management since January 2014, is now the permanent director and is in charge of overseeing construction of port projects.

The two women are filling slots vacated by directors who retired this year. Before Molina Healthcare, Maiko worked in management of information technology and program management for a number of companies including Toyota Financial Services and Nissan North America. According to the port, she has about 30 years of work experience in information technology and information management, business and strategic technology leadership.

She is scheduled to start at the port on Jan. 5, 2015.

Plezia, who joined the Port of Long Beach as an intern in 1996, is a licensed civil engineer who rose through the ranks at the port. In 2012, she was also promoted to Deputy Chief Harbor Engineer before becoming Acting Director of Construction Management 11 months ago. Her promotion is effective immediately.

The hirings are the ninth and 10th executive-level positions filled over about two-month period at the port. In October, Chief Executive Jon Slangerup filled four vacant executive posts with staff veterans. And in November, the Port of Long Beach named four other people to upper management roles in newly-created and previously vacant jobs.

The new appointments have filled a leadership void that emerged after the resignations and retirements of more than half a dozen upper managers from mid-2013 to mid-2014.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Washington State Aquatic Lands Conservation Plan

By PMM Staff

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources has announced a plan to impose comprehensive long-term rules and standards for marine businesses that lease aquatic lands from Washington State.

The Aquatic Lands Habitat Conservation Plan, available online at, is intended to protect “at-risk native aquatic species” on 2.6 million acres of state-owned lands covered by marine and fresh waters.

The state is accepting comments on the plan until Thursday, December 4th, and at press time, the US Fish and Wildlife Service has “not seen a need” to extend the comment period.

Among the plan’s impacts on the maritime industry will be the requirement that businesses, either applying for a new lease or during their lease renewal, commit to meeting the new standards. Among the required new standards will be the elimination of all treated wood piling and decking on piers, the elimination of bulkheads and armored banks and the limiting of lighting on docks and piers.
Applicants and lessees will also be required to assess water drainage and runoff patterns and develop and implement a plan to alter or treat them, as necessary, to reduce the introduction of contaminants and nutrients into state waters.

Further, all marinas, shipyards, and terminals will be required to implement the conservation measures for all authorizations including an aquatic vegetation buffer of 25 feet from the hull of motorized vessels to avoid dredging and scour caused by propellers. Grounding of boats and the need for dredging must be avoided through the use of naturally deep water, achieved by locating slips in deeper water, orienting facilities so that entrances align with natural channels or providing onshore storage facilities.

Further requirements for new or renewed leases will include orienting docks with currents or prevailing winds to prevent trapping surface debris and oily residue and maintaining dredged basins in a manner that prevents internal deeper pockets that can act as unflushed holding basins.

Piers and docks that are above the nearshore or littoral area must have unobstructed grating over 100 percent of their surface area. Floats must have unobstructed grating over at least 50 percent of their surface. All grating material must have at least 60 percent functional open space.

The state says the Habitat Conservation Plan will protect 29 sensitive, threatened and endangered aquatic species and help identify and restore habitat on state-owned aquatic lands.

Comments on the plan may be submitted by e-mail to In the subject line of the email, please include the identifier: WDNR Aquatic Lands HCP DEIS. All comments must be received no later than December 4, 2014.

Fidley Watch - 鏟準備*

* Shovel-ready

By Chris Philips, Managing Editor

The US Senate has once again blocked the final permit allowing the completion of the Keystone XL pipeline. I heard the news in Hong Kong, where I was attending the fourth annual Asian Logistics and Maritime Conference (ALMC), at the invitation of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council. The ALMC brought logistics services providers and maritime users together to exchange market and shipping intelligence and explore maritime and logistics business opportunities in the region.

The conference welcomed more than 1,600 participants from around the world to address maritime and logistics issues facing Asia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Hong Kong is a logical venue for the conference because of the city's location and strong maritime heritage. Within five hours by air of half of the world's population, Hong Kong's robust infrastructure and proximity to mainland China make it a natural interface for companies trading with Asia and the US West Coast.

“Hong Kong brings stability to the region,” Mr. Willy Lin, Chairman of the Hong Kong Shippers Council and Deputy Chairman of the Federation of Hong Kong Industries told me over a meal in a cafe near the convention. "The city welcomes businesses, and offers residents a voice in the governing process."

Anyone who lives in Hong Kong is eligible to vote in its elections. Notwithstanding the peaceful but disruptive protests taking place in the city center, the governance of Hong Kong acts largely in the best interests of its constituents.

Major infrastructure projects in Hong Kong are fast-tracked to help the island's businesses thrive, but not at the expense of the environment. Arthur Bowring, Managing Director of the Hong Kong Shipowners Association, told me his Association led an industry coalition that proposed a scheme to encourage ships calling Hong Kong to switch to low sulfur diesel in their hotel generators when alongside berth or at anchor. The island is mainly powered by coal, so cold ironing would not greatly reduce pollution in the long run, but switching from heavy fuel would reduce sulfur emissions dramatically from the vessels while at berth. The Government of Hong Kong responded with a partial subsidy to encourage the shipowners to make the switch, which many have, without any mandate or regulation.

Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) is a major component in the region's intermodal infrastructure. In 2013, HKIA handled 59.9 million passengers, 4.12 million tons of cargo and 372,040 flight movements, on two runways. The airport, built on a manmade island in 1998, is fast approaching its maximum handling capacity.

A third runway, to be created by increasing the size of the current footprint with more fill, is receiving tentative approval as long as the project takes the welfare of the indigenous dolphin population into account. While not yet approved, the entire project (filling 2.5 square miles of bay, constructing a runway and passenger terminal with underground rail access) will be complete by 2023.

A 27-mile bridge, connecting Hong Kong, Zuhai and Macao will cut truck transit times from 4 hours to 45 minutes. The bridge is on time to be completed in 2017- only seven years after the beginning of the project; A 27-mile multi-lane freeway bridge in seven years from start to finish.

While our legislators in Washington, can’t pass a single permit to build the final phase of a single pipeline after more than six years, “Asia's World City,” symbolized by a mythical and powerful dragon, works with its stakeholders to build infrastructure to accommodate trade from half of the world's population, offering a stable base from which the world's companies can thrive.

Maersk Delays Congestion Surcharge

By Mark Edward Nero

Maersk Line is delaying “until further notice” a congestion surcharge that it had planned on implementing beginning Nov. 26 on cargo traveling to the US West Coast. This marks the second time Maersk has delayed the introduction of the congestion surcharge, which was originally slated for Nov. 18.

The line announced last month that it would levy an $800 per TEU and $1,000 per FEU surcharge on cargoes on the transpacific due to congestion at US West Coast ports.

Congestion has been an issue at West Coast ports for months, with the blame going partially to a surge of larger ships that has taxed terminals at ports around the world to move cargo faster. Labor unrest has also been cited as a problem. The Pacific Maritime Association, which represents management, has been engaged in talks on a new contract with the International Longshore & Warehouse Union since mid-May. The previous six-year deal expired July 1.

“As you are aware, congestion is real and tangible, and a reality which will continue to impact the US West Coast for the foreseeable future,” Maersk said in notice to customers. “That said, we have made the decision to delay the application of the congestion surcharge until further notice.”

In mid-November, the Federal Maritime Commission issued a statement on congestion surcharges, stating that any surcharges levied by ocean carriers that results in an increased cost to a shipper may not go into effect more than 30 days after notice of the change is given.

“The Commission continues to review congestion surcharge rules published in carrier tariffs and is gathering information from carriers regarding implementation of these surcharges,” the FMC said in a Nov. 17 statement.

$7.7 Million Ferry Upgrade Project Begins

By Mark Edward Nero

The BC Ferries vessel Queen of Oak Bay began the first phase of a multi-million dollar three-quarter life upgrade Nov. 28 at Seaspan Marine’s Vancouver Drydock in North Vancouver. The 33-year old ferry can carry 360 vehicles and 1,488 passengers and crew.

The extensive upgrade comprises multiple safety and mechanical improvements, including critical systems renewals, propulsion overhauls; electrical distribution upgrades; energy efficiency upgrades, including LED lighting in machinery compartments and HVAC enhancements; and large scale steel renewal.

Following the first phase of this major project, the vessel is scheduled to return to the Horseshoe Bay–Departure Bay route in February 2015. The Queen of Coquitlam is replacing the Queen of Oak Bay for the time being.

The second phase of the Queen of Oak Bay’s three-quarter life upgrade is scheduled from November 2015 through February 2016 at BC Ferries’ Fleet Maintenance Unit in Richmond, where the remaining scope of the project includes upgrades to the passenger accommodations and services, energy efficiency upgrades, installation of state-of-the-art bridge and navigation systems, renewal of the steering systems, further electrical upgrades and replacement of end-of-life equipment.

“The Queen of Oak Bay project is part of the approximately $150 million that BC Ferries will spend in BC this year alone on annual vessel maintenance, refits and vessel upgrades,” Mark Wilson, BC Ferries’ Vice President of Engineering, said. “This extensive upgrade is an important investment in one of our major vessels which will ensure we maintain a safe, reliable and efficient service.”

The Queen of Oak Bay is the first of C-Class vessel to undergo a three-quarter-life upgrade.

The Queen of Surrey will follow with the first phase of a three-quarter-life upgrade in Feb 2016, while the remaining C-Class vessels are set to undergo smaller asset betterments over the next four years, starting with the Queen of Coquitlam in September 2015.

New Metro Ports President Named

By Mark Edward Nero

Michael “Mike” Ferguson has been named president of Metro Ports, replacing former interim Metro Ports President Norman Hauser effective Jan. 5, 2015.

Wilmington, California-based Metro Ports is a brand composed of three companies: Metropolitan Stevedore Co., Southeast Crescent Shipping Co. and Southeast Maritime Services. In his new role, Ferguson will have national authority and responsibility for operations and business development of each Metro Ports branded company, which includes port operations in the west, gulf and east coasts as well as Prince Rupert, British Columbia.

Ferguson previously held management positions with several companies, including vice president cargo solutions at Inchcape Shipping Services, where he developed dry bulk and breakbulk terminals in North America, Africa and southwest Asia, and VP marketing and business development for Forge Group NA, formerly Taggart Global.

Prior to Inchcape Shipping Services, Ferguson was director of ports and terminals in Colombia for Drummond Coal Sales Co., Inc., and directed the company’s startup of new operation in Charleston, South Carolina. Additionally, he held various positions at Kinder Morgan, ranging from terminal manager, vice president of marketing and regional vice president of operations, with responsibility for up to 15 terminals. He also served in various managerial and engineering-related positions at Shell Mining Co./Zeigler Coal Co.

Ferguson will report to Nautilus International Holding Corp. Chief Operating Officer Michael Giove and will be based in Fair Play, South Carolina.

“It is a distinct pleasure to welcome Mike Ferguson to the Nautilus family,” Nautilus Chairman, President and CEO James Callahan said. “Mike has proven himself to be a respected, successful and dynamic professional with more than 35 years of experience in the bulk material-handling industry, including leadership roles in ports and terminals, mining, coal preparation, and bulk transportation.”