Friday, October 7, 2016

New Cable Ferry to Undergo Maintenance

By Mark Edward Nero

Cable ferry Baynes Sound Connector, which debuted early this year, will be removed from service from Oct. 24 to Nov. 19 for warranty maintenance, according to the vessel’s operator, British Columbia ferry service provider BC Ferries.

Planned work includes paint repairs, equipment servicing and other activities that can’t be accommodated during an overnight shut down. The out of service period, according to BC Ferries, allows shipyard personnel safe access to the vessel without disrupting customers. The work will be conducted locally at the Buckley Bay terminal.

The Baynes Sound Connector is BC Ferries’ newest vessel and first cable ferry; it operates between Buckley Bay and Denman Island.

It commenced soft sailings in January 2016, and as of Aug. 30, it had completed more than 6,500 sailings and carried more than 168,700 vehicles, plus performed 296 shuttle sailings above contract requirements, since its initial introduction into service.

In July and August 2016, the vessel completed 38 more round trips and carried 4,407 more vehicles than would have been possible with the previous vessel, according to its operator.

BC Ferries says the vessel is able to perform more shuttle runs per day than the vessel it replaced, as it docks, unloads and reloads quicker. It also consumes 50 percent less fuel than the previous vessel.

While the Baynes Sound Connector is out of commission, the M/V Quinitsa will provide service with no change in service level or schedule, BC Ferries said.

Seaport Alliance: Extended Gate Hours Working

By Mark Edward Nero

Terminal operators have added about 50 hours per week this peak season through the Northwest Seaport Alliance’s extended gates program, the Alliance revealed Oct. 3.

The 12-week program was launched in August to reimburse terminal operators up to $2 million to extend gate hours at international container terminals during peak season.

Halfway through the program, about eight percent of total container cargo volumes have come through the terminal gates’ extended hours.

The Alliance, which is a marine cargo operating partnership between the Port of Seattle and Port of Tacoma, said it launched the program to help marine terminal operators avoid congestion on surface streets in the port industrial areas and keep import and export cargo flowing efficiently during peak season, which typically starts in late August and continues through early November.

“We are pleased that the marine terminal operators have been willing to participate in this pilot program,” NWSA Chief Operations Officer Dustin Stoker said. “The goods we import and the agricultural and manufactured products we send elsewhere create valuable jobs for our communities. We want to continue to make it easy for our customers to do business here to benefit everyone.”

Each terminal has participated in the program, offering various extended hour options, including flexed gates from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m., lunch gate hours Monday through Friday, an off-shift gate after 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, or Saturday or Sunday shift.

The program, which kicked off the week of Aug. 22, is expected to last up to 12 weeks.

Capsized Paddleboat Salvaged

By Mark Edward Nero

The US Coast Guard, California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response, the Army Corps of Engineers and other partner agencies have completed the removal of the petroleum products aboard a paddlewheel tour boat that capsized and took on water near San Francisco.

The 85-foot, 99-ton Spirit of Sacramento began taking on water Sept. 3 and capsized a day later in the Bethel Island area, in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

On Sept. 28, following a righting and dewatering operation, the three-story vessel, which had been used as a prop in movies during the 1950s and later gave tours of the Delta, arrived at a US Army Corps of Engineers facility in Sausalito, California the afternoon of Sept. 30.

Global Diving and Salvage conducted petroleum product removal operations throughout the weekend and removed about 130 gallons of oily water mixture.

The Coast Guard said it has transferred the Spirit of Sacramento to the Environmental Protection Agency, which plans to remove hazardous material from the vessel at a later date. The Coast Guard says it plans to work with the EPA in the case that residual lube oils and other petroleum pollutants are discovered during the EPA's hazardous materials abatement process.

The vessel was once operated as a tour boat, taking passengers up and down the Sacramento River and into the Delta. In 2009, however, Sacramento city officials replaced the company that operated the craft. For at least the past three years, the Spirit of Sacramento had been harbored at a South San Francisco marina. It was purchased at auction in July, and less than two months later, it began to take on water and suddenly started sinking.

According to the Coast Guard, about $1.6 million was spent to pay for the vessel’s righting, dewatering and petroleum pollution removal. The money came from the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, which is set aside to aid in oil removal activities and damage assessment costs incurred by the USCG.

PMA and ILWU Set Date for Contract Talks

By Mark Edward Nero

The Pacific Maritime Association and International Longshore and Warehouse Union said in late September that they’ve agreed to discuss the concept of a contract extension less than halfway into the current five-year contract.

The talks have been tentatively scheduled for Nov. 1 and 2.

“No additional comments from either party will be made prior to the talks. Following the talks, a statement may be issued,” both sides said in a Sept. 27 joint statement.

The early start to talks would be a significant change from the last time the two sides negotiated a contract.

Talks in 2014 didn’t begin until a few weeks before the contract’s expiration, and then, as talks dragged on for nine months, the contract expired and remained that way for several months, until an agreement was finally reached in the first quarter of 2015.

It was the PMA employer group that made the initial request this past summer to discuss the possibility of an extension to the 2014-2019 collective bargaining agreement. After the request was made, more than 100 union delegates representing ports from San Diego to Bellingham, Washington convened in August to consider and eventually approve the request.

With the consent given, union leadership will now meet with the PMA next month, then report the initial results back to membership.

“This is a directive to go and have discussions with the PMA and report back to the membership, and we’ll do just that, with the wellbeing of the rank and file, our communities, and the nation in mind,” ILWU International President Robert McEllrath said after the August vote.

The current contract, which covers labor at 29 West Coast ports, doesn’t expire until July 1, 2019.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

2017 California Maritime Leadership Symposium

The California Maritime Leadership Symposium (CMLS) is the premier conference focused on all modes of California’s maritime transportation system – ports, vessels, highway and rail – and the intricacies, challenges and realities of maintaining and growing a viable, healthy and dynamic maritime economy in the 21st century.
Now in its 16th year, the Symposium brings together a diverse group of maritime transportation policymakers, industry leaders, academic researchers and community representatives to seek resolution to the growing challenges facing the entire industry. Get 10% off with our exclusive discount code TAKE10.pacificmaritimemag.

For event information and to register, visit:

Date: February 15-16, 2017

Location: The Citizen Hotel | 926 J Street, Sacramento, CA 95814

Pricing: $50 - $275

5 Vessels Damaged During Marina Fire

By Mark Edward Nero

One boat sank, two were partially submerged and another two were damaged when a fire broke out at Tyee Marina in Tacoma, Wash. the morning of Oct. 2. The US Coast Guard, Washington Department of Ecology and Tacoma Fire and Police Department personnel all responded to the incident.

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound Command Center in Seattle were notified of the fire and potential pollution threat at about 8 a.m. Pollution responders from Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound and the Department of Ecology, as well as National Response Corp. Environmental Services personnel, placed containment boom inside the marina and around the one boat that sank, two that partially sank and the two others that were damaged.

The five boats were all 25 feet long or smaller. Four had gasoline powered outboard engines, according to the Coast Guard.

The maximum potential fuel spilled is 100 gallons, according to the federal on-scene coordinator representative, USCG Lt. J.G. Madeline Ede, who added that the various agencies are partnering to mitigate the pollution threat caused by the fire.

Containment boom, absorbent boom and pads have been placed in the water to absorb as much fuel as possible, according to the USCG. The owners of the vessels and their insurance companies will be responsible for salvaging the boats.

Shawn Zaniewski, the Department of Ecology’s lead spill responder said the Tacoma Fire Dept.’s quick response was pivotal, due to the department having grant-purchased spill response equipment available to immediately contain the spill and reduce environmental damage. Divers from the Tacoma Police Department also responded by supplying divers to confirm safety of life.

Zidell Exiting Barge-Building Business

By Mark Edward Nero

Portland, Ore.-based Zidell Marine Corp. confirmed in late September that after being a barge builder on the waterfront for more than 50 years, it is now exiting that line of work.

The last vessel built by the company will be Hull 686, a double-hull ocean-going oil tank barge that is currently under construction for Harley Marine Services and is expected to launch next spring.

After that, it is expected to take several months for equipment to be removed and inventoried before the area is ready to be redeveloped. About 60 workers are expected to be affected by the closure, with some expected to stay on through the cleanup of the site.

The company, which has several barges that it leases and charters to customers, says it will still maintain that aspect of the company through a separate operation.

Over the years, the company’s barges have hauled such items as lumber, grain, chemicals, petroleum products, wood chips, sand and gravel. Zidell barges, which can be up to 90 feet in width and as long as a football field, are found throughout the entire West Coast, Alaska, Hawaii and at ports on the Columbia and Snake River systems. During its history, the company built more than 300 double- and single-hull barges.

The Zidell family’s 33-acre riverfront property, located in the heart of Portland’s South Waterfront District, has been one of the largest undeveloped sites in the city, but several years ago, even as barge operations were in full swing, the family crafted an in-progress plan to transform the land into a mixed use district complete with parks, plazas and river access.

Port of Kalama Begins Dredging Project

By Mark Edward Nero

Maintenance dredging of the Port of Kalama marina began Oct. 1 and is scheduled to run for about two months. The dredging project, which is planned to accommodate fishing season and sports enthusiasts, is scheduled to remove materials that have naturally settled in the marina.

As a result of the dredging, the guest dock at the marina will be closed from Oct. 3 to Oct. 7. However, the first actual dredging is set to begin Oct. 15 at the south end of the marina and guest dock and is expected to run for three weeks.

The project team, according to the port, will work from the south end to the north of the marina, and that is expected to affect some boat owners and guests at varying phases; signs will be posted and letters sent to inform the community of the progress. The entire project is scheduled to be completed by early December 2016.

“Maintenance of the marina basin is a routine activity to enable safe navigation,” Port of Kalama Executive Director Mark Wilson said in a statement. “The dredging activity will require some inconvenience to our boating customers while we complete the work.”

The Port of Kalama, located in Southwest Washington on the Columbia River, is about 30 minutes north of Portland, Ore.

Oakland Port Exec Touts Location Advantages

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Oakland’s location may be its biggest advantage and is also key to its future, Executive Director Chris Lytle told more than 140 customers during a recent speech to the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals.

In his remarks, Lytle said geography will be a differentiator as Oakland competes with other ports for business over the next decade, specifically the port’s nearness to California’s Central Valley, a large, flat valley encompassing about 450 miles in the middle of the state.

“The Port of Oakland’s proximity to the Central Valley makes us a vital link in the global agricultural supply chain,” said Port of Oakland Executive Director, Chris Lytle. “For our customers—that means greater reliability and reduced travel times through Oakland.”

Lytle predicted importers will find Oakland’s location increasingly attractive as the economies of the greater Bay Area, Northern California and even Nevada continue to blossom. More than 80 percent of the port’s inbound cargo volume goes to those areas.

Oakland’s proximity to major California growing centers will continue to benefit agricultural exporters, Lytle said, pointing out that the port is already a preferred outlet to Asia for Central Valley fruits and nuts, Salinas Valley greens, and wines from California’s northern half.

Soon, Lytle, said, more of the food chain will find its way through Oakland, as the port is working on a 400,000 square foot “Cool Port” cold storage facility for refrigerated export commodities that is expected to strengthen Oakland’s role as a meat and poultry gateway.

The port’s planned Seaport Logistics Center will provide customers with an entirely self-contained “one stop” facility for warehousing and distribution. The main advantage of the Logistics Center’s location, according to the port, is that it will be built adjacent to marine terminals and railyards, thereby speeding up overall goods movement in Oakland.