Friday, June 5, 2015

Punctured Tanks Leads to Alaska Gulf Oil Spill

By Mark Edward Nero

A 9,000-gallon diesel fuel tank being carried aboard a landing craft was punctured and began leaking when the vessel encountered heavy seas in Cook Inlet in late May, resulting in two-thirds of the tanks capacity spilling into the ocean.

The 116-foot Thors Hammer was en route from Seward to Bristol Bay when the incident occurred south of Port Graham.

Representatives from the US Coast Guard, Department of the Interior, Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, city of Seldovia, Alaska and the responsible party all responded to the 6,000-gallon diesel fuel discharge into the Gulf of Alaska. Fuel removal from the damaged tank trailer aboard the motor vessel was completed on May 26.

Response crews and contractors from Alaska Chadux Corp. removed the 3,000 gallons of diesel fuel remaining in the punctured tank, as well as 28 bags of oily waste collected by the Thors Hammer crew. The 6,000 gallons of spilled diesel is no longer recoverable due to weathering and evaporation, according to the Coast Guard.

A western Alaska captain of the port order required Thors Hammer to remain in Seldovia until the vessel was cleaned and determined to be safe for transit. The vessel was later authorized to proceed to Homer, Alaska where, after Coast Guard marine safety personnel conducted a safety examination, the vessel was ordered to remain until determined safe for commercial operation. The Coast Guard is currently conducting an investigation into the vessels operations.

Thors Hammer, built in 1978, is a 321-foot long (98 meters) and 59-foot-wide (18 meters) USA-flagged cargo ship owned by Alaska-based Viking Constructors LLC.

Study: LNG Preferable for Arctic Shipping

By Mark Edward Nero

A study on marine fuel alternatives for use in the Arctic commissioned by the Canadian arm of the World Wildlife Federation states that the risks of using heavy fuel oil for shipping operations could be greatly reduced by switching to liquefied natural gas. 

Of all the marine fuel options, heavy fuel oil is the most polluting and will cause the most damage in the event of a spill, WWF-Canada President and CEO David Miller said.

The report, titled Fuel Alternatives for Arctic Shipping, was commissioned by WWF-Canada and conducted by Vard Marine, a ship design and marine engineering company based in Vancouver, BC. The study assessed the environmental impacts of heavy fuel oil, diesel, and liquefied natural gas, and also compared ship design, fuel consumption, and the economic aspects of each marine fuel option.

The study found that the use of LNG reduced pollutants by up to 97 percent, while greenhouse gas emissions were reduced by up to 25 percent. There was also a significant reduction in the risk of environmental damage from spills, as LNG dissipates into the atmosphere almost immediately. Moving to diesel fuel was also found to have environmental advantages, but to a lesser extent.

Although there are environmental advantages to LNG, many technical and practical barriers remain. LNG is cheaper than diesel, but current heavy oil fuel prices are lower. Also, a conceptual design has revealed that the cost of building LNG-fueled ships would be higher than conventional options, and that no possibility exists to retrofit HFO-fueled ships currently in operation.

The study states that LNG is the fuel of the future for new ships to meet regulatory requirements to reduce impacts on the environment. The full 44-page report is available at

Horizon Completes Asset Sales to Pasha, Matson

By Mark Edward Nero

Horizon Lines said May 29 that it has completed a sale of its assets, including its Alaska operations and the assumption of all non-Hawaii business liabilities, to Matson Inc. Horizon also completed the sale of its Hawaii operations to the Pasha Group.

Matson acquired the stock of Horizon for 72 cents per fully diluted common share, or $69 million, and repaid Horizon's outstanding debt, for a total transaction value of $469 million, before transaction costs.

Matson says it will continue Horizon's long operating history in Alaska with a three vessel deployment of diesel-powered Jones Act-qualified containerships that provide two weekly sailings from Tacoma to Anchorage and Kodiak, and a weekly sailing to Dutch Harbor.

In addition, Matson says it will operate port terminals in Anchorage, Kodiak and Dutch Harbor and acquire several reserve steam-powered Jones Act containerships that can be used for dry-dock relief.
Meanwhile, Pasha Hawaii assumes operations for all of Horizons Hawaii business, including its four US-flag containerships serving the Hawaii trade lane.

The Pasha Group has also acquired Horizon subsidiaries Hawaii Stevedores Inc.; the California-based operations of Sea-Logix LLC, which provides trucking services; and Sunrise Operations, a subsidiary that includes Horizons Hawaii trade-lane vessels and employees.

Horizons Hawaii business is to operate alongside Pasha Hawaiis existing operations, which include two Jones Act-qualified vessels that entered service on May 7. Pasha Hawaiis technical services team has been charged with overseeing operations for its entire fleet, with Crowley Maritime providing ship management of the new Horizon vessels and crew through Crowley subsidiary Marine Transport Management.

Pasha has engaged Norton Lilly to provide certain liner agency services, both in Hawaii and the mainland. The company also says it plans to continue its longtime partnership with Young Bros. to maintain connecting-carrier service to the neighbor islands.

Horizon first announced the proposed deals with Matson and Pasha in November 2014.

POLB Adopts $829 Million Budget

By Mark Edward Nero

The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners on June 1 approved an $829 million budget for its upcoming fiscal year, nearly $30 million less than for FY 2015.

The budget, expected to be presented to the Long Beach City Council for its consideration in the coming weeks, designates $555 million for capital investments at the Port of Long Beach, including a major terminal redevelopment and bridge replacement projects.

The $555 million is a $24 million downgrade from FY 2015s $579 million.

However, for the fiscal year starting Oct. 1, 2015, the budget anticipates a 6.1 percent increase in operating revenue over the current fiscal years income. The budget also includes the anticipated transfer of $17.74 million to the City of Long Beachs Tidelands Operating Fund, which is used for beachfront improvements in Long Beach.

The Harbor Departments spending plan focuses on strengthening the ports competitiveness in order to attract more business; furthering its role as an environmental steward; and continuing to improve safety and security.

The biggest pieces of the capital improvement budget are the ongoing Gerald Desmond Bridge Replacement Project and the Middle Harbor terminal redevelopment project, which are each expected to cost more than $1 billion over several years to complete. Other improvements include sewer and street projects, dredging and rail improvements.

The budget also includes funds for planning activities for the ports Energy Island; a concept of enhancing energy security and sustainability, and for ongoing improvements as part of the critical supply chain optimization efforts to boost efficiency at the San Pedro Bay ports.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Crowley Awarded Containership Management Contract

By Mark Edward Nero

Crowley Maritime’s global ship management group said May 29 that it has won a contract for the operation, crewing and maintenance of four Jones Act ships operating between the US West Coast and Hawaii.

The contract is with Sunrise Operations, a subsidiary of San Rafael, Calif.-based logistics and transport services company The Pasha Group. The Pasha Group, one of the nation’s leading Jones Act shipping and integrated logistics companies, has served the Mainland/Hawaii trade lane since 2005.

The contract encompasses ship management for the Horizon Enterprise, Horizon Pacific, Horizon Reliance and Horizon Spirit. Crowley is providing a scaled, customized package of crewing and technical management services; it provides similar services to other customers’ container ships around the world, including those in other Jones Act trades.

The contract news follows the December announcement that Pasha Hawaii, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Pasha Group, is assuming operations for all of Horizon Lines’ Hawaii business, including these four US-flagged container ships.

“As a long-time Jones Act carrier, Crowley is well-suited to manage these US-flagged vessels,” said Crowley’s vice president of ship management, Mike Golonka. “We are confident that our ability to offer company-wide resources and flexibility to work within their operational model is what set us apart, in addition to our proven experience in managing steam vessels for other companies. We look forward to working with Pasha in the management of their new ships.”


Raytheon Launches San Diego Subsidiary

By Mark Edward Nero

Technology company Raytheon revealed May 29 that it has launched a new San Diego-based subsidiary, Raytheon Anschutz USA, to assist in customer care and support for Raytheon Anschütz navigation systems in the US, for commercial shipowners and shipyards as well as government entities, such as the Coast Guard, Military Sealift Command and US Navy.

The Raytheon Anschütz services network spans US coastlines through a centralized spare-parts and service coordination center, as well as an extensive network of more than 50 service points.

Raytheon says the new company supports the full portfolio of its navigation components and solutions, including gyro compasses, autopilots and steering controls, radars, electronic chart display & information systems, and integrated bridge systems, for new ships and retrofit projects.

The company also provides technical advice and pre-sale consultancy regarding International Maritime Organization recommendations, class requirements and operational needs, as well as an array of lifecycle support services.

“In January 2012, Raytheon Anschütz returned to the US navigation systems market with the establishment of a San Diego-based regional sales office. Now, we are taking the next step,” Frank Christophersen, president of the new subsidiary, explained. “With this new company, we offer dedicated local support for US-based customers, with greater flexibility, and set the foundation to expand our infrastructure for new services and spares support.”

Global Diving Establishes SoCal Location

By Mark Edward Nero

Seattle-based Global Diving & Salvage is expanding its California operations with the addition of a new office in Los Angeles County, the company said June 1.

The new office, located in Signal Hill, bordering Long Beach, supports Global’s core service lines: marine construction, casualty response and offshore support.

“This new location will ensure rapid response and support to clients in the Ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, San Diego as well as throughout the Southwest,” Danny Broadhurst, Global’s California operations manager, and manager of the new facility, said. “As the largest diving company on the West Coast, Global’s continued expansion of regional capacities will provide customers with the quality of service known as ‘The Global Way’.”

Founded in 1979 as a diving and marine services company, Global now specializes in deep diving down to 1,000 feet, casualty response, and marine construction activities. Capabilities include saturation dive systems, mixed gas surface diving, remotely operated vehicles, marine salvage, emergency response, and both training and consulting services.

The company also offers a variety of environmental services related to upland and marine remediation, as well as engineering support for projects requiring technical underwater procedures and tooling. Global’s currently involved with marine construction projects throughout the United States and performs salvage projects internationally.

In addition to Seattle and Signal Hill, the company has additional offices in the San Francisco Bay Area; Houston, Texas; and Anchorage, Alaska.

Subaru Extends Vancouver USA Lease

By Mark Edward Nero

Longtime Port of Vancouver USA tenant Subaru of America Inc. has extended its lease with the port until at least 2030. The port’s Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the lease extension May 26.

Without the time addition, Subaru’s lease would have expired Aug. 31, 2020. The extension means Subaru will remain with the port until at least Aug. 31, 2030, with two five-year options that could take the lease to 2040.

Revenue to Vancouver USA over the remainder of the lease is expected to exceed $7 million, according to the port.

About 150 Subaru and Auto Warehousing employees work at the port to process vehicles for sale in the US. They install a variety of accessories and perform high-quality control checks to prepare the vehicles for transport by truck or rail.

About 60 percent of Subarus processed at the port are loaded onto rail cars provided and serviced by BNSF Railway, while the rest are transported by truck. United Road Services, another port tenant, transports vehicles by truck to dealers in the Pacific Northwest.

“I was here working at the port when the first Subaru rolled off the ship,” Commission president Nancy Baker said. “It’s grown so much, and we celebrated our one-millionth car last summer.”

Subaru leases about 40 acres from the Port of Vancouver, and has imported, processed and transported vehicles at the port since 1992. In 2014, Subaru processed 81,718 vehicles in Vancouver, an 18 percent rise over 2013.