Friday, May 13, 2016

Vigor Lays Keel for Olympic-Class Ferry

By Mark Edward Nero

The Washington state officials this week took part in a keel-laying ceremony marking the beginning of construction of a new vessel that will add to its Olympic-class ferry fleet.

On May 10, Gov. Jay Inslee, state Sen. Christine Rolfes and Suquamish Tribal Chairman Leonard Forsman struck ceremonial welds on the keel of the ferry Suquamish at shipbuilder Vigor Industrial’s Harbor Island Shipyard in Seattle.

Traditionally, a keel-laying ceremony is said to bring good luck during construction and to the captain and crew who will operate the vessel.

The keel-laying ceremony came weeks after significant progress was made on the third Olympic-class vessel, Chimacum. Last month, Chimacum’s superstructure was joined to its hull in dry dock at Vigor. Construction on Chimacum is now about 75 percent complete, according to the Washington State Dept. of Transportation.

“The simultaneous construction of two vessels is exciting,” Matt Von Ruden, director of vessels for Washington State Ferries, said. “We hope to continue investing in long-term ferry build programs to keep up with our increasing ridership and replace our aging fleet.”

The 144-car Suquamish is the fourth Olympic-class vessel and has not been assigned to a route yet. The first Olympic-class vessel, Tokitae, joined the Mukilteo/Clinton route in June 2014. The second, Samish, was put into service on the Anacortes/San Juans Island route in June 2015. Chimacum is expected to replace one of the older vessels on the Seattle/Bremerton route in 2017.

The new vessels are replacing vessels built during the 1950s and 1960s. Nine of 24 vessels in Washington State Ferries’ fleet are between 40 and 60 years old.

Vancouver USA Appoints Interim CEO

By Mark Edward Nero

On May 10, the Port of Vancouver USA Board of Commissioners unanimously appointed Julianna Marler as the port’s interim CEO, effective May 20.

Marler steps up to the helm as current CEO Todd Coleman departs the port on May 19.

She has been with the Port of Vancouver since September 2008, and in October 2014 was appointed Chief Financial and Administrative Officer. As CFAO, her duties have included developing and establishing business policies; overall operational and budget responsibility for administration, contracts, information technology, finance and accounting; and ensuring that all activities and operations are performed in compliance with local, state and federal regulations and laws.

Prior to joining the port, Marler worked for the City of Vancouver for nine years as a procurement services manager, responsible for the purchasing, contract administration and accounts payable divisions.

“Julianna has exactly the skills we need right now,” port commission President Jerry Oliver said. “She is a well-respected leader with the right perspective for the projects and issues at hand, and she has the support of the port’s leadership team.”

Also during the May 10 meeting, the Board of Commissioners directed staff to begin the process of recruiting a new permanent CEO. The process, according to the port, is likely to take three to six months, and could include engaging with a recruiting firm to assist in the process.

Current CEO Todd Coleman said May 3 that he was stepping down from the position.

Coleman, an engineer by trade, began his career with the port in 2001, when he was hired as facilities manager. After three promotions, he was named deputy executive director in 2005. He was appointed CEO in 2012 and said at the time that he intended to lead the port for just four years.

NASSCO Launches 3rd LNG-Ready Tanker

By Mark Edward Nero

On May 7, General Dynamics NASSCO shipbuilders in San Diego launched and christened the third in a series of ECO-class tankers. Once delivered, Garden State would also join the ranks as one of the more fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly product tankers globally.

Garden State is the latest 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.

On April 23, NASSCO hosted a similar christening ceremony in San Diego for its second ECO-class tanker for American Petroleum Tankers, Magnolia State.

The 610-foot-long tankers are equipped with a new design enabling improvement in fuel efficiency. They will be used to transport products — such as petroleum — that help fuel America’s businesses and homes.

The construction and operation of Garden State and its sister ships are aligned with the Jones Act, requiring that ships carrying cargo between U.S. ports be built in U.S. shipyards.

Garden State, along with others in the ECO class, are the first in the Jones Act fleet to obtain a PMA-plus notation, representing compliance with one of the highest standards of human factors in engineering design.

The ships were designed by DSEC, a subsidiary of Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering of 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.

Port of Port Townsend Picks New Leader

By Mark Edward Nero

During a special May 9 meeting, the Port of Port Townsend’s three-member port commission unanimously selected Sam Gibboney, the director of environmental resources/deputy director of public works for San Juan County, Wash. as the port’s next executive director.

She will replace Larry Crockett, 68, who is retiring at the end of May after 17 years in the position. Crockett, who has served as executive director since April 1999, announced his retirement in January.

“I’ll be 69 this summer, and I have some other adventures I want to try while I am still in good health,” he said at the time.

Gibboney, who beat out two other finalists for the job, has a BS in Civil Engineering from San Diego State University, and a Masters of Public Administration at the University of Washington. She had been San Juan County’s deputy public works director, a newly-created position, since late 2015. Prior to that, she was the county’s community development and planning department director.

As the port’s executive director, she will be responsible for all operations and lease negotiations with over 175 tenants/businesses, leading a staff of 26 people that oversees operations of three marinas, boat yards, industrial parks and the Jefferson County International Airport.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

NASSCO Delivers ECO Tanker

By Mark Edward Nero

On April 28, San Diego-based General Dynamics NASSCO delivered the first ship in a series of three ECO-class tankers currently under construction for Florida-based vessel operator SEA-Vista.

“The new tanker symbolizes the emerging direction of the US shipping industry toward cleaner, more fuel-efficient modes of transporting product between American ports,” NASSCO said in a statement.

The ship, Independence, is a 610-foot, 50,000-deadweight-ton, LNG-conversion-ready product tanker with a 330,000-barrel capacity. Designed by DSEC – a subsidiary of Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering in South Korea – the ship design incorporates fuel-efficiency concepts through several features, including a G-series MAN Diesel & Turbo ME slow-speed main engine and an optimized hull form.

The vessel includes a ballast water treatment system and is also designed to accommodate future installation of a liquefied natural gas fuel-gas system.

It was just five days earlier, on April 23, that General Dynamics NASSCO hosted a christening ceremony for ECO-class tanker Magnolia State for American Petroleum Tankers under construction at the company’s shipyard in San Diego.

The construction and operation of the Independence and its two planned sister ships are aligned with the Jones Act, which requires that ships carrying cargo between US ports be built in US shipyards.

Sailor Rescued After Months at Sea

By Mark Edward Nero

A 29-year-old man arrived in good condition in Honolulu aboard a US Coast Guard small boat on May 4 after surviving a two-month ordeal at sea on a disabled skiff and then being rescued by merchant mariners in the southeastern Pacific Ocean.

A Coast Guard 45-foot response boat-medium crew from Station Honolulu transported the man from Panamanian-flagged, 618-foot bulk carrier Nikkei Verde offshore of Honolulu to the Coast Guard base the morning of May 4 in stable condition.

According to the survivor, he and three companions set out from Colombia more than two months earlier, and once the skiff’s engine became disabled, they went adrift.

He said he caught and ate fish and seagulls to stay alive. The three other men reportedly died at sea; their bodies were not aboard the skiff when located by the Nikkei Verde’s crew; however, the survivor did surrender their passports to officials.

“This mariner had great fortitude and is very fortunate the crew of the Nikkei Verde happened upon him as the area he was in is not heavily trafficked,” said Lt. Cmdr. John MacKinnon, the Joint Rescue Coordination Center chief with the Coast Guard 14th District.

Joint Rescue Coordination Center watch standers in Honolulu received notification April 26 from the master of the Nikkei Verde, reporting while on their voyage to China his crew had located a man stranded at sea aboard a 23-foot skiff. They brought him aboard and requested medical advice and assistance to return the man to his home country.

Although the Coast Guard assisted in the man’s rescue, it said it is not investigating the case, as the circumstances fall outside Coast Guard purview.

Bulk Carrier Owner Fined for Oil Spill

By Mark Edward Nero

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has fined Norden Shipping PTE $2,100 for allowing oil to enter the Columbia River, the ODEQ revealed May 2.

On Feb. 18, the company’s bulk carrier vessel Nord Auckland, anchored in the Columbia River near the Port of Kalama in Kalama, Washington, spilled about 13 gallons of waste oil into the Columbia River after a waste oil incinerator tank on Nord Auckland overflowed, causing waste oil to flow onto the deck of the vessel and into the Columbia River.

From Feb. 18 through Feb. 19, there was an oil sheen on the Columbia River downstream of Nord Auckland up to three quarters of a mile long.

“Spilling oil into the Columbia River is a serious violation of Oregon environmental law,” the Dept. of Environmental Quality said in a statement. “The spilling of oil or petroleum products into the river has negative environmental impacts on aquatic life and ecosystems. DEQ is concerned with the adverse impacts and cumulative effects that numerous spills of this kind have on the water quality of the Columbia River and on Oregon’s water quality in general.”

In determining the penalty amount, which is relatively small compared to what could have been imposed, the ODEQ said it took into consideration the company’s efforts to minimize the effects of the violation by deploying containment boom and absorbents to contain the spill and washing the vessel’s hull.

Oakland Monthly Volume Dives 6 Percent

By Mark Edward Nero

Total cargo volume in Oakland – imports, exports and empty containers – declined 6.3 percent in April, according to data the port released May 6. The fall was primarily due, according to the port, to a nearly 30 percent drop in empty container shipments.

However, an export rebound continues to build steam at the Port of Oakland. The port said that containerized export volume increased seven percent in April compared to a year ago. It was the fourth consecutive month of increases in Oakland.

Also, according to port data, 2016 export volume is up 16.3 percent through April. That’s welcome news following a 2015 decline that saw Oakland exports drop 11.5 percent. The port’s attributing export gains to a weaker dollar that makes U.S. goods more affordable overseas.

“We’re pleased to see export volume growing,” said port Maritime Director John Driscoll. “It’s a sign that business is picking up for our customers.”

The port exported the equivalent of 300,000 20-foot export containers through the first four months of 2016. By comparison, it reported importing the equivalent of 277,000 20-foot import boxes.

For the calendar year so far, Oakland’s total cargo volume is up 11.3 percent, according to data.

Current and historical Port of Oakland 2016 cargo volume statistics are available at