Friday, June 12, 2015

Ship Recycling Legislation Introduced

By Mark Edward Nero

On June 4, US Senators David Vitter (R-LA) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) introduced legislation to reform the domestic marine recycling industry.

The two say that the Ships to Be Recycled in the States (STORIS) Act would not only improve the domestic ship recycling industry, but also promote transparency by requiring reports from Maritime Administration (MARAD) and an audit by the Government Accountability Office.

Another Louisiana Republican, Congressman Garret Graves is introducing companion legislation in the US House of Representatives.

“The Maritime Administration receives millions of dollars in federal funding, but they’ve never reported how the sales money is spent or how the agency awards contracts,” Vitter said. “Ship recycling is an important part of our domestic maritime industry, and these reforms would improve federal contracting, cut government waste and help create jobs.”

Current law requires all excess government vessels to be sold to domestic marine recyclers to be dismantled. A portion of funding from the sales goes toward the Vessel Operations Revolving Fund, federal and state maritime academies, and the maritime heritage grant program.

The STORIS Act would ensure that the required funding goes to federal and state maritime academies and to heritage grants funding to the Department of Interior. It would also require MARAD to issue an annual report on how its money is spent and publicize its ship recycling agreements.

Additionally, the STORIS Act creates jobs by ensuring that all vessels can be dismantled in the United States in compliance with US environmental and safety laws, and are not exported where those safety rules do not apply.

The STORIS Act is named in recognition of the former Coast Guard Cutter STORIS, which was dismantled in Mexico in 2013.

“There have been concerns that the agency receives millions in federal funding but lacks transparency,” Cassidy said of MARAD. “The STORIS Act will strengthen oversight over the agency.”

“We have found multiple instances where the US Maritime Administration has failed to maximize the return on investment on the sale of retired federal vessels by not accepting the highest bid on a number of contracts and not fulfilling its obligation to reinvest these funds in our merchant mariner workforce,” said Graves.

The bill, Graves said, would “prevent MARAD from leaving millions of dollars on the table” in regard to ship recycling contracts.

USCG Says Protestors Violated Safety Zone

By Mark Edward Nero

On June 5, US Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound investigating officers initiated civil penalties against four protestors who entered an established safety-zone around a Shell-contracted vessel in Bellingham, Washington during Memorial Day weekend.

Cody Erdman, Chiara D’Angelo, Paul Adler and Matthew Fuller were cited in accordance with Code of Federal Regulations for entering or staying within a federally regulated safety zone between May 22 and 24, according to the USCG.

The Coast Guard assisted Fuller May 24 and D’Angelo May 25 from the Arctic Challenger after each was chained to the ship as part of a protest. Both were transported to Station Bellingham where they were met by Emergency Management Services and the Bellingham Police Department.
Coast Guard officials say they could seek a maximum civil penalty of $40,000 for each entry into the zone, or each day the individuals violated the zone. The Coast Guard Hearing Office in Arlington, Va. would determine the final penalty.

The 100-yard safety zones were established on April 28 by the Coast Guard around moored and anchored Arctic drilling and support vessels. A 500-yard safety zone is in place around the vessels while underway.

The zones, which are in place from April 15 through June 30, were set in response to regional and national environmental activist groups demonstrating against Shell Oil drilling in the Arctic.

“The Coast Guard supports and defends the rights of the public to assemble peacefully and protest; however, prolonged violations of the safety zones tax Coast Guard resources and crews hindering the Service’s ability to quickly respond to mariners in distress or other life-threatening emergencies,” Capt. Joe Raymond, commander of Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound and captain of the port explained. “Prolonged safety violations unnecessarily put protesters and law enforcement personnel at risk.”

US Navy Orders 5 Willard Marine Boats

By Mark Edward Nero

The US Navy has exercised an option on its contract with Anaheim, California-based Willard Marine for five additional 11-meter rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) in addition to 10 the Navy ordered in 2014.

Willard Marine says it will provide three 11-meter open center console (OCC) boats that will be equipped with twin Cummins QSB6.7 380-hp engines. It will also supply two VBSS (visit, board, search and seizure) boats equipped with twin Cummins QSB6.7 480-hp engines, both versions of which are expected to be paired with Hamilton Jet HJ292 waterjets.

Willard Marine says it has sold a variety of boats to the Navy for 37 years, including nearly 700 11-meter and 7-meter RIBs that are primarily stored aboard and launched at sea from large naval ships deployed around the world.

The US Navy and Coast Guard have procured many 11-meter RIBs in support of their Foreign Military Sales (FMS) divisions.

“The United States Navy and other military agencies have relied upon Willard Marine vessels for nearly 40 years to safely transport service men and women and enable them to successfully complete their missions, often in very challenging sea conditions,” said Willard Marine President and CEO Ulrich Gottschling. “It is with great pride and commitment that we continue building boats that our military can rely upon.”

POLA Approves $1 Billion Budget

By Mark Edward Nero

The Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners on June 8 approved a $1 billion fiscal year 2015-16 annual budget for the Port of Los Angeles, including total operating revenues of $428.6 million.
The projected revenue represents a 1.5-percent increase over last year’s FY 2014/15 estimates, while the $1 billion total is a $142,000 increase over the current $858 million budget.

The port says the projected revenue increase is attributed to anticipated growth in shoreside power-related utility reimbursements, plus a forecasted increase in shipping services’ revenues and overall cargo volumes.

Cargo volumes for FY 2015-16 are projected to be 8.4 million 20-foot equivalent units, a two percent uptick from the estimated actual FY 2014/15 TEU volumes of 8.2 million.

The budget’s operating expenses total $233.5 million, representing a 3.2 percent increase, largely due, according to the port, to mandated increases in salaries and benefits, city services, legal counsel costs and higher shoreside power-related electricity expenditures.

The capital improvement program budget totals $198.8 million, representing a 17.8 percent reduction from FY 2014-15, due primarily to completion of major transportation initiatives like the Berth 200 Rail Yard and the South Wilmington Grade Separation during the previous budget cycle.

Planned capital improvements for FY 2015-16 include construction at the TraPac Container Terminal, large-scale redevelopment at the Yusen Terminals Inc. (YTI), as well as improvements at the World Cruise Center and terminals operated by China Shipping, Evergreen and APL.

“We’ve put together a well-thought-out, strategic budget that will allow the port to build sustainable world-class infrastructure and cargo capacity,” port Executive Director Gene Seroka said.

Earlier this month, the harbor commission for the adjoining Port of Long Beach approved an $829 million budget for its upcoming fiscal year, nearly $30 million less than for FY 2015.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Vince O’Halloran Awarded 2015 Puget Sound Maritime Achievement Award

Seattle Maritime business and community leaders have awarded Vince OHalloran, Seattle Branch Agent of the Sailors Union of the Pacific (SUP), with the 2015 Puget Sound Maritime Achievement Award.

OHalloran received the award on June 1st at the annual Seattle Maritime Festival Luncheon aboard Holland America Lines' ms Statendam at the Smith Cove Cruise Terminal at Pier 91. The luncheon is co-sponsored by Vigor Industrial and the Seattle Propeller Club.

David Freiboth, Executive Secretary and Treasurer of the Martin Luther King, Jr. County Labor Council, in presenting the award, noted that, in addition to his position at the SUP, OHalloran also serves the local maritime community in many important capacities, including:
  • President of Puget Sound Ports Council, Maritime Trades Department, AFL-CIO.
  • Executive board member of the Martin Luther King, Jr. County Labor Council
  • A Washington state labor council representative
  • A US Coast Guard port sound area maritime security committee representative
  • The labor representative on the Puget Sound harbor safety committee
  • A board member of the Marine Exchange on the Alaskan Way Viaduct Seawall replacement program north portal working group

On accepting the award, OHalloran said, Being part of the Puget Sound Maritime community is a great honor. He also said it was a great privilege to work with the US Coast Guard, who risk their lives to protect mariners. OHalloran also thanked the Port of Seattle staff and commissioners and the members of the industry, both management and labor, for their efforts.

Im humbled and honored and quite surprised, he said. May we keep going and be very strong in our efforts to move onward and upward to Alaska.

Vince demonstrates the true spirit of this award through his tireless efforts on numerous maritime and safety-related boards and work to promote the interests of his members and maritime sector in the broader community, said Rich Berkowitz, who is Director of Pacific Coast Operations for the Transportation Institute and spearheads the nomination process for the Seattle Propeller Club.

The SUP is a union of unlicensed sailors that work in the deck, engine, and steward's departments on U.S.-flag vessels under contract to the Union. The SUP also has collective bargaining agreements with U.S.-flag companies where licensed personnel are also represented.

The Puget Sound Maritime Press Association began bestowing the honor to individuals in 1951 to recognize long and distinguished careers and specific achievements benefiting the local maritime community. Propeller Club Seattle has presented the award annually since 1984.

Port of SD Appointing Female CEO

By Mark Edward Nero

Randa Coniglio, who has been the Port of San Diegos executive vice president of operations the past four years, has been nominated by the ports Board of Directors to become the first female CEO in the ports 52-year history.

Coniglio first joined the port in 2000 as a manager in the ports real estate department and has been promoted six times, including to the executive vide president role in 2011.

The port board is expected to approve her promotion during the boards June 11 meeting. If that occurs, she will be the permanent replacement for former CEO Wayne Darbeau, who was fired in July 2014 after a months-long investigation into allegations that he abused his power by asking for port tenants help in securing a job for his son.

At the same time Darbeau was ousted, Harbor Police Chief John Bolduc was named to the role of acting port CEO, which he will hold until a permanent replacement for Darbeau is officially named. Chief Bolduc joined the Harbor Police Department in May 2010 and prior to that, served in municipal policing in Minnesota for 23 years.

Randa is a focused, diligent and highly creative leader who consistently delivers strong outcomes, Port board Chairman Dan Malcolm said of Coniglio. This, combined with her track record in gaining the trust of stakeholders, achieving consensus and maintaining long-term, mutually beneficial relationships truly set her apart as the best candidate for this position.

If approved, she would become one of just two female heads of California seaports, the other being Port of Hueneme CEO Kristin Decas.

I am so honored to have been selected as the Port of San Diegos next president and CEO, Coniglio said in a prepared statement. We have such great momentum right now on a variety of fronts. I am very fortunate to have this opportunity at a time when there is so much positive energy around the ports projects and initiatives.

Seaport Alliance Takes Another Step Forward

By Mark Edward Nero

Commissioners from the ports of Tacoma and Seattle voted June 5 to submit a final agreement on the proposed Northwest Seaport Alliance to the Federal Maritime Commission for approval.

The agreement outlines the Northwest Seaport Alliances governance charter and management.

The Northwest Seaport Alliance, which Seattle and Tacoma announced in October 2014, would unify the two ports marine cargo terminal investments, operations, planning and marketing in order to compete with other ports and attract more marine cargo to the region.

While the ports would remain separate organizations that retain ownership of their respective assets, theyd form a port development authority to manage the container, breakbulk, auto and some bulk terminals in Seattle and Tacoma.

The authority would be governed jointly by the two port commissions.

With todays vote our two ports take another step toward becoming a united cargo gateway that will compete globally for more trade, Port of Seattle commission co-president Stephanie Bowman said.

The commissioners say they expect to hire John Wolfe, the current Port of Tacoma chief executive officer, as the CEO of The Northwest Seaport Alliance following the FMCs approval of the agreement. Wolfe would lead both organizations through a transition period of up to five years.

Text of the final agreement and other related news is available on both the Port of Tacoma and Port of Seattle websites.

Cordero, Yoshitani to Receive CII Awards

By Mark Edward Nero

Federal Maritime Commission Chair Mario Cordero and recently retired Port of Seattle CEO Tay Yoshitani are scheduled to receive awards from the Containerization & Intermodal Institute (CII) in Long Beach, California in September.

Cordero is slated to receive the Connie Award, while CII will present its Lifetime Achievement Award to Yoshitani.

Connie Award recipients are recognized for significant influence on containerization in world trade and transportation. The Lifetime Achievement recognition is customarily presented to those who have a long-time career in the logistics industry.

The industry-wide dinner event honoring Cordero and Yoshitani is scheduled for Tues., Sept. 29 at the Renaissance Hotel.

It is CII's honor to present this year's awards in Long Beach to two people who have devoted their careers to meeting the ongoing needs of our industry that will maintain a positive impact moving forward, said CII President Michael DiVirgilio.

CII, founded in 1960, has been presenting the Connie Award since 1972. This years CII Connie Awards dinner is $225 per ticket and seating is limited. Sponsorships for event, scholarship opportunities and tickets are available. For more information, contact Barbara Yeninas, executive director at (732) 817-9131 or

Foss Vessels Receive Safety Award

By Mark Edward Nero

The Chamber of Shipping of America, a Washington, DC-based organization representing 31 US-based companies engaged in domestic and international trade, has recognized 75 Foss Maritime vessels with the 2014 Jones F. Devlin award for outstanding safety records.

The vessels were recognized at the CSA Annual Safety Awards Luncheon in New Orleans on May 28.

The Jones F. Devlin award is given to self-propelled merchant vessels that have operated at least two full years without a crewmember losing a full turn at watch because of an occupational injury. The award publicly recognizes the men and women responsible for those safe vessel operations.

Altogether, the Foss vessels achieved the equivalent of 529 years of incident-free operation. Sixty-three vessels had five or more years, and ten vessels boasted 10 to 21 years without a lost-time injury.
Foss takes safety very seriously, Foss president and CEO Paul Stevens said. Were proud of our safety programs, intensive trainings, resources and operations. We believe that every person has the right to return home safely at night, and we do all that we can to make sure that happens.