Friday, April 29, 2016

Gunderson Marine Awarded Barge Contract

By Mark Edward Nero

Gunderson Marine, a division of Lake Oswego, Oregon-based Greenbrier Companies, said April 28 that it has received an order from Harley Marine Services to build two 430-foot ocean-going barges, each with an 82,000 barrel carrying capacity.

Construction on the barges is expected to begin by mid-2016, with delivery of both scheduled for the second half of 2017.

Over the past nine months Gunderson Marine has delivered two 578-foot articulated ocean-going barges for chemical and oil service.

With the current orders, Gunderson Marine is responding to new barge demand for transporting refined products across US waterways from coastal refineries. Gunderson is one of the few shipyards on the West Coast experienced in building large, articulated tug barges.

Gunderson most recently delivered a barge to Harley Marine in 2009.

“It is always rewarding to serve a repeat customer. We are pleased that Harley Marine has again sought to partner with Gunderson Marine as its transportation solutions provider,” Gunderson Chair and CEO William Furman said in a statement. “The marine order activity Greenbrier reports today demonstrates our commitment to diversify our revenue base as our core North American railcar markets transition over the course of this year and into 2017.”

Harley Franco, Founder, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of Harley Marine, said Gunderson Marine shares his company’s core priorities: safety, environmental protection, customer service and on-time delivery.

“We are pleased to return to work with them on these important vessels and look forward to extending our business relationship in the future,” he said.

Harley Marine Receives Tank Barge

By Mark Edward Nero

The Vigor Fab shipyard in Portland, Oregon has delivered the tank barge Fight ALS to Harley Marine Gulf. The vessel is to join Harley’s offshore fleet working the Gulf and East Coast to transport petroleum products, specifically gasoline and distillates.

The barge has a length of 422 feet, a beam of 76 feet, eight inches, and a depth of 27 feet. The barge includes 12 separate cargo tanks and has the ability to pump cargo at 10,000 barrels per hour. A nitrogen-generating tank inerting system is fitted, and all pump and auxiliary engines meet Tier 3 standards.

The 83,000-bbl tank barge was designed by architectural and engineering company Elliott Bay Design Group. EBDG’s scope for the project, according to project manager Mike Complita, included the complete ABS design and approval package, as well as structural lofting and systems detail drawings.

It is the third 83,000-bbl ATB tank barge recently designed by EBDG and built for Harley Marine, with the sister barges being Dr. Robert J. Beall and Fight Fanconi Anemia.

“We have enjoyed a long relationship with Elliott Bay Design Group and have had great success working with them on the new build designs and their complete customer service mission,” Harley Marine Services Vice President of Marine Operations Keith Barnes said.

Federal Grants Awarded to Maritime Heritage Projects

By Mark Edward Nero

On April 22, the National Park Service, in partnership with the Maritime Administration, awarded $2.58 million in Maritime Heritage Program grants for projects in 19 states, including six on the West Coast, that preserve sites and objects related to US maritime history.

Recipients include the Oregon Museum of Science & Industry, which was awarded $45,000; and Sound Experience, a Port Townsend, Wash. non-profit that runs environmental and sail education programs. It received a $200,000 grant.

Also among the recipients were the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum and Maritime Museum Association, both of California, which received $35,000 and $49,100, respectively, for education programs.

“As a nation with vast coastlines and interior waterways, our maritime heritage is an integral part of the story of our economic growth and the defense of our nation,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis. “These grants will enable our state historic preservation partners to connect local communities to their maritime heritage from sea to shining sea.”

National Maritime Heritage Program Grant awards are made possible through a partnership between the National Park Service and Maritime Administration, federal agencies that share a commitment to maritime heritage preservation and education. Funding is provided by the Maritime Administration through the recycling of vessels from the MARAD’s National Defense Reserve Fleet.

The grant program supports a broad range of maritime education and preservation projects, without expending tax dollars, while ensuring that the vessels are dismantled in an environmentally sound manner.

“These iconic maritime treasures must be preserved for future generations -- ships, lighthouses, and the vast array of strategic maritime vessels that served and protected our nation at critical times in our history,” Maritime Administrator Chip Jaenichen said. “The Maritime Administration is committed to preserving these assets and artifacts from our past, so that future generations can fully appreciate and be inspired by our nation’s maritime legacy.”

Maritime Heritage Program grants are available to state, tribal, and local governments, as well as private non-profit organizations for education and preservation projects. Education projects are funded in amounts between $15,000-$50,000; preservation projects are funded in amounts between $50,000-$200,000. Education grants can be used for programs such as school curriculum, interpretive programs and web pages, and preservation grant projects can include the rehabilitation or restoration of ships and other maritime resources.

A full list of this year’s grant recipients can be seen at

Cheap Oil Causes Port of Olympia Revenue Drop

By Mark Edward Nero

Operating revenue at the Port of Olympia, which was projected to be $14.8 million, was a mere $9.7 million, in 2015 due in part to a drop in global oil prices, the port’s finance director said April 25.

In a presentation given to the Port of Olympia Commission during its most recent business, meeting, finance director Jeff Smith said that the port’s marine terminal, which had been projected to bring in $8.3 million in revenue during 2015, only generated $3.3 million.

The return on revenue at the port was a negative 23 percent last year, due in part to a dramatic decline in global oil prices.

The port collected about $5 million in property taxes last year, resulting in net income of $510,000 for Olympia, $2.4 million less than planned. The port showed an operating income loss of $2.2 million.

Due to the revenue slowdown, the port decided to defer $13.2 million in capital investments, which left Olympia with a capital investment balance of $12.5 million, about $8.5 million of which was spent last year, according to Smith.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

NASSCO Christens LNG-Ready Tanker

By Mark Edward Nero

On April 23, General Dynamics NASSCO hosted a christening ceremony for the second ECO Class tanker for American Petroleum Tankers under construction at the company’s shipyard in San Diego.

The Magnolia State is the second of a five-tanker contract between NASSCO and American Petroleum Tankers, which calls for the design and construction of five 50,000 deadweight ton, LNG-conversion-ready product carriers with a 330,000 barrel cargo capacity.

The 610-foot-long tankers are equipped with a new “ECO” design that is expected to provide a significant improvement in fuel efficiency. Upon delivery, the Magnolia State will join the ranks as one of the most fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly tankers in the world, according to NASSCO.

“The revolutionary ECO Class provides our customers with an alternative option for transporting product that is cost-effective and friendly to the environment,” General Dynamics NASSCO President Fred Harris said in a prepared statement.

The construction and operation of the new ECO Class tankers are aligned with the Jones Act, which requires that ships carrying cargo between US ports be built in US shipyards.

The Magnolia State, along with others in the ECO Class, are the first in the Jones Act fleet to obtain a PMA+ notation, representing compliance with one of the highest standards of human factors in engineering design. The PMA+ notation is created to facilitate safe access to vessel structure and spaces in ways that are rooted in the fundamentals of human ergonomics.

“We look forward to taking delivery of our second ECO Class tanker from NASSCO, said Robert Kurz, vice president of Kinder Morgan Terminals and president of American Petroleum Tankers, a Kinder Morgan subsidiary. And we thank NASSCO for their continued support which paved the way for this important milestone to be achieved.”

The ships were designed by DSEC, a subsidiary of Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering of Busan, South Korea. The design incorporates improved fuel efficiency concepts through several features, including a G-series MAN ME slow-speed main engine and an optimized hull form.

The tankers will also have dual-fuel-capable auxiliary engines and the ability to accommodate future installation of an LNG fuel-gas system.

Trucker Creates Container Exchange App

By Mark Edward Nero

A new mobile phone application – the brainchild of a harbor driver – has been developed to get truckers out of line at the Port of Oakland.

Filex Fok, a licensed motor carrier at the port, introduced the new app last week. The app, which Fok calls Jupigo, helps harbor truckers exchange empty cargo containers without ever entering the port. The objective is to keep truckers on the road and not waiting at terminal gates.

Jupigo functions like a dating app for truck drivers who have equipment needs: drivers with empty containers to return post their equipment availability on Jupigo, and truckers searching for empties also post their requirements. The app automatically alerts both drivers, who can then initiate a container exchange.

“Imagine the benefits when there is a match on this platform,” Fok said. “Two trucks off the waiting line and on the road making productive trips.”

Other benefits of the app, Fok said, include reduced diesel emissions and fuel consumption because truckers won’t wait in line to return empty containers; less crowding at marine terminal gates; and bigger paydays for drivers who can haul more cargo by making fewer port visits.

“Everyone gains from this development,” Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll said. “But what I like is that this was created by truckers for truckers.”

Container swaps executed outside marine terminals are known in the industry as street-turns. They’re desirable because they spare drivers the need to pick-up or return empties within the port.

Oakland truckers have sometimes used email or online chats to arrange street-turns, but Fok said Jupigo will be more efficient because of its automatic matching feature, SmartMatch. He also added though, that his app can’t finalize street-turns; truckers must still contact the shipping lines that own the empty containers, which is usually done through an online form.

Jupigo estimates there are 2,000 to 3,000 street turns conducted by Port of Oakland drivers weekly. The company hopes to more than double the number with its new app. The free app should be available in app stores next month, Fok said.

Jupigo is the third container traffic app introduced at the Port of Oakland in the past few weeks. The others, called DrayQ and DrayLink, give drivers real time metrics on gate queues and terminal transaction times. They were developed for the Port of Oakland by Virginia-based tech firm Leidos.

Ferry Returns to Service After Upgrade

By Mark Edward Nero

BC Ferries’ Queen of Cumberland has just completed a major mid-life upgrade and was returned to regular service on the company’s Swartz Bay – Southern Gulf Islands route on April 22.

The Queen of Cumberland, built in 1992, is 96-meter long (314.9-foot) vessel that has a passenger and crew capacity of 456 and a car capacity of 127. It also has a maximum displacement of 2,662 tons and can travel at a top speed of 13 knots.

The mid-life upgrade and refit was conducted at Esquimalt Drydock Co. of Victoria, British Columbia. Some of the work conducted included:
  • Main propulsion system overhaul and upgraded propulsion control system.
  • Installation of a new evacuation system and replacement of the rescue boat.
  • Installation of LED navigation lights.
  • A complete electrical system overhaul.
  • The installation of a pet area.
  • Alarm and monitoring system renewal.
  • A complete elevator system overhaul.

“Investing in mid-life upgrades on our vessels is very important so we can maintain fleet reliability, safety standards and customer service,” BC Ferries’ Vice President of Engineering Mark Wilson said. “The Queen of Cumberland is 24 years old now and our strict maintenance and refit regime will allow us to operate the ship for another 20 years.”

BC Ferries, under contract to the Province of British Columbia, is the service provider responsible for ferry service along coastal British Columbia.

USCG Warns of False Mayday Calls

By Mark Edward Nero

The US Coast Guard sent out a warning on April 22 about false mayday reports after Coast Guard Sector Columbia River Command Center personnel received four potentially false mayday calls in the past two weeks.

The USCG warning states that individuals who make false mayday calls to the Coast Guard could face consequences to their actions.

“Hoax calls waste valuable time and resources, but most importantly they potentially put responding personnel in danger and can interfere with legitimate search and rescue cases,” Sector Columbia River command center chief Lt. Cmdr. Erika Barron said. “With busy spring and summer boating seasons, false distress calls can divert essential resources when they are needed elsewhere to ensure the safety of the public.”

Making a hoax call to the Coast Guard is a crime punishable by up to six years in prison; a $250,000 criminal fine, a $5,000 civil fine, and reimbursement to the Coast Guard for operating costs incurred.

If a mayday call, actual or potentially false, is heard, the USCG says, boaters are encouraged to contact their local Coast Guard unit and relay what they heard.