Thursday, October 13, 2016

Ex-POLA Police Chief Sentenced to Prison

By Mark Edward Nero

On Oct. 11, the former chief of the Port of Los Angeles’ police department was sentenced to two years in federal prison for his role in a scheme involving a smartphone app designed to allow people to report criminal activities at the port.

Ex-chief Ronald Boyd had pled guilty in February to tax evasion related to concealing over $1 million in income and making false statements to the FBI.

Although he’d told FBI agents he had no financial interest in a company developing a smartphone app called Portwatch, to allow people to report criminal activities at the port, the truth was that he actually had 13.3 percent interest in it, according to the US Attorney’s Office.

He was given a stake in the company, according to federal officials, by promising that the Portwatch contract would be awarded to a company called BDB Digital Communications which he set up with two partners in 2011.

The parties involved with BDB also allegedly intended to generate revenues by marketing and selling a similar app – called Metrowatch – to other government agencies. Boyd admitted to lying to federal investigators after telling them that he had no financial stake in Metrowatch, according to a federal indictment.

Prosecutors also said he failed to disclose more than $1.1 million in income on his 2007 to 2011 tax returns from At Close Range Inc., an LA-area security company he operated.

Boyd had been named the port’s police chief in January 2015, just three months before being indicted by a federal grand jury. He was placed on administrative leave by the port after the indictment, and retired from the port last November. His duties were assumed by Deputy Port Police Chief Thomas Gazsi. Gazsi was appointed to the chief position in December 2015.

Cargo Ship Rescued Off Alaska Coast

By Mark Edward Nero

The crew of the US Coast Guard cutter Morgenthau assisted in the rescue and safe transit of a 400-foot cargo vessel with 12 people aboard during a multiple-day operation in the Gulf of Alaska recently.

The Coast Guard says that on Oct. 5, it received a call for help from the master of BBC Colorado, who reported the vessel had experienced a severe engine casualty that restricted its speed and maneuverability. With forecasted seas of 30 feet and winds in excess of 50 knots closing in on its location, Colorado requested the Coast Guard’s assistance.

Morgenthau, home-ported in Honolulu, was on an Alaska patrol to carry out a living marine resources mission in the Bering Sea. It was diverted to the BBC Colorado about 500 miles away.

While en route, Morgenthau’s onboard command center worked jointly with the 17th District Command Center in Juneau to create a rescue assistance plan for Colorado. The Coast Guard issued a marine assistance request, resulting in the response from Resolve Pioneer, a seagoing tugboat based in Dutch Harbor. Resolve Pioneer began making way toward BBC Colorado on Oct. 7.

Once within range of BBC Colorado, the Morgenthau crew launched an embarked helicopter to evaluate the condition of BBC Colorado, capture images of the vessel to better assist the towing evolution and make radio contact with the master.

Morgenthau then maintained a constant presence with the Colorado for more than 24 hours until Resolve Pioneer arrived on scene Oct. 8. Morgenthau readied emergency gear, including heavy towing lines, survival equipment and readied the crew in case immediate response was necessary.

Resolve Pioneer set up tow with the motor vessel BBC Colorado under the observation of Morgenthau. Upon confirmation that the tow was holding and intact, Morgenthau crew resumed their mission of fisheries enforcement in the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea as Resolve Pioneer made way for Washington with BBC Colorado in tow. No injuries were reported during the incident.

BBC Colorado, a general cargo ship built in 2008 and currently sailing under the flag of Antigua & Barbuda, has a length of 131 meters (429.8 feet) and beam of 21 meters (68.8 feet), as well as a gross weight of 9,618 tons.

New Port of San Francisco Director Appointed

By Mark Edward Nero

Elaine Forbes, who has been the Port of San Francisco’s interim director the past seven months, was appointed to the job permanently by Mayor Edwin Lee on Oct. 12. The appointment is effective immediately, according to the mayor.

Forbes replaces former executive director Monique Moyer, who resigned in February to accept a position as a senior managing director with commercial real estate company CBRE Group.

Before being named interim director in March, Forbes was the port’s deputy director for finance and administration. Before coming to the port, Forbes held management and leadership positions at both San Francisco’s planning department and its international airport. In addition, she previously worked for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in the Budget Analyst’s Office and Office of the Legislative Analyst providing fiscal and policy analysis and evaluating and reporting on complex municipal issues. Forbes, a San Francisco native, also previously worked as a redevelopment agency planner for the City of Oakland.

“Elaine’s extensive leadership experience at the Port of San Francisco and her 15 years of invaluable experience serving our city’s residents makes her an outstanding candidate to serve the port, its diverse stakeholders and the 24 million people that come to our city’s waterfront annually,” Lee said in a statement. “I am confident she will continue to lead the port responsibly, sustain its economic vitality and diversity, and successfully deliver many infrastructure improvement projects including parks and open space and long-term improvements including to address seawall vulnerability and sea level rise for the benefit of San Franciscans for generations to come.”

The Port of San Francisco is responsible for the seven and a half miles of waterfront adjacent to the San Francisco Bay and is the leaseholder for nearly 600 tenants. It oversees a broad range of maritime, commercial and public activities and is involved in a diverse range of business including real estate property management, cargo and cruise shipping, ferries and excursion boats, ship repair, commercial fishing and harbor services.

Oakland Monthly Cargo Volume Rises

By Mark Edward Nero

Overall Port of Oakland cargo volume – full import and export containers – increased 2.7 percent last month compared to September 2015, the port reported Oct. 11. The increase was mainly due to outbound cargo containers.

According to data, a year-long export rally continues to barrel ahead at the port, with its September 2016 containerized export volume rising 10 percent compared to the same month in 2015. It was the eighth increase in nine months, and the first double-digit jump since February.

 “Exports make up more than 50 percent of our overall cargo volume,” Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll explained. “So the continued growth in September shows we’re playing pretty well to our strength.”

The port said that through the first nine months of 2016, export volume has increased nine percent. It added that California growers drove much of the improvement, shipping fruit, nuts and wine to Asian consumers.

The news wasn’t all good however, as import volume was down 4.2 percent last month, which was the first full month since Hanjin Shipping filed for bankruptcy protection. Hanjin loads and unloads ships at Oakland International Container Terminal.

Overall container volumes for the first nine months of the calendar year were up 3.5 percent at the port compared to 2015. Full Port of Oakland cargo statistics are available at

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Vessel Owners Fined for Port Orchard Oil Spill

By Mark Edward Nero

The owners of a 69-foot wooden vessel that sank at its dock and spilled oil into Sinclair Inlet have been fined $47,500 by the Washington Dept. of Ecology.

On Oct. 3, Ecology confirmed that it issued the fine to Dean Raught and Kyhra Hessel of Des Moines, Iowa for failing to keep the 58-year-old former fishing boat Tango in suitable repair to remain afloat. It sank at the Port Orchard Railway Marina on Sept. 2, 2015.

An estimated 751 gallons of oil, primarily diesel fuel with lubricating oil, spilled when the Tango sank. Local crews and volunteers used a nearby Ecology Dept. spill equipment trailer to place containment boom and other spill response materials around the vessel.

Investigators determined that a power cable came loose from an electrical service box on the dock. As a result, six pumps stopped operating that had been keeping the vessel from sinking. Also, a lock to secure plug-ins at the box had not been properly engaged.

Most of the spilled fuel was contained within the marina, but a surface coating too thin to clean up extended about a mile into Sinclair Inlet.

In the marina, response crews recovered about 618 gallons of the spill, and 30 gallons that was still inside the boat. “This was a bad ending to a series of problems with the Tango,” said the state ecology department’s spills program manager Dale Jensen. “This boat nearly sank before, and the owners relied on pumps to keep it afloat.”

The vessel previously took on water and nearly sank in March 2014. Responders deployed powerful pumps to avert the sinking. Ecology says that in June 2015, it offered to arrange removal of the Tango’s fuel at no cost, after explaining to the vessel’s owners they could face liability under state law for polluting. The owners, according to Ecology, declined the offer.

In the latest incident, the US Coast Guard used a federal spill response fund to hire a salvage company to remove the remaining oil. The marina had the vessel patched and re-floated, then towed to a boat yard for demolition. Along with the fine, Ecology also billed the vessel’s owners $1,200 for the state’s costs to respond to the spill and oversee the cleanup. Earlier, the state issued a separate $20,070 assessment for damage the spill caused to the public’s environmental resources, based on the amount spilled.

Longview Port Seeking Terminal Developer

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Longview is seeking proposals for available industrial waterfront property, calling it a significant opportunity to establish new cargo operations on the Columbia River.

Bridgeview Terminal, which is comprised of two cargo docks and upland areas, became available earlier this year when a long-term lease with its former bulk cargo operator/tenant, Kinder Morgan, expired in March. The port is primarily interested in responses to import or export bulk cargos, but that it would consider opportunities for other marine-dependent uses.

“Opportunities to establish new terminal operations or terminal redevelopment are minimal on the West Coast,” Business Development Manager Laurie Nelson-Cooley said. “Our intent is to maximize this terminal based on cargo throughput, job creation and return on investment to our customers and community partners.”

Issuing the Request for Proposal is the second step in the redevelopment of Bridgeview Terminal. In June, the port issued a Request for Expression of Interest to determine interest in the property.

The Request for Proposal document and related documents can be found on the port’s website at

The Port of Longview, operating since 1921, has eight marine terminals and waterfront industrial property spanning 835 acres on the deep-draft Columbia River, 66 miles from the Pacific Ocean in Southwest Washington State. It’s the first port on the deep-draft shipping channel with direct transportation connections to international markets.

POLB Receives Clean Air Award

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Long Beach and tenant Long Beach Container Terminal have received a Clean Air Award from a Southern California environmental agency for working to reduce pollution in the region.

The award, which was presented Oct. 7 at the South Coast Air Quality Management District’s 28th annual Clean Air Awards luncheon in Riverside, Calif., was given by the SCAQMD for the port’s efforts to advance effective solutions to the problem of poor air quality in the region via the POLB’s Middle Harbor redevelopment project.

Middle Harbor, once complete, is expected to handle twice the amount of cargo as the previous terminal, while cutting air emissions by more than half. The first phase opened earlier this year.

“We’re building the green port of the future, and Middle Harbor is a big part of that,” Harbor Commission President Lori Ann Guzmán said. “The terminal is the world’s greenest and most sustainable. We are deeply honored to be recognized along with LBCT.”

The Clean Air Awards are given in several categories to recognize individuals, government entities, nonprofits and businesses. According to the SCAQMD, past honorees have led the development of innovative clean air technologies, implemented forward-thinking policies to improve the quality of life for residents and improve air quality.

“We are honored to receive this award – the Middle Harbor redevelopment project has truly been a collaborative effort between our parent company OOCL, the Port of Long Beach, the ILWU and our many customers,” Long Beach Container Terminal President Anthony Otto said. “We will continue to work with our partners in making Middle Harbor a model for the industry.”

POLA Schedules 1st Environmental Open House

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Los Angeles will hold the first of a series of quarterly open houses on Oct. 20 as part of a continuing effort to engage the public in the port’s sustainable freight programs and environmental developments.

The forums have been organized, the port says, to provide a greater level of communication on port emission-reducing projects and encourage more direct stakeholder engagement in sustainability initiatives.

“Over the past decade, the Port of Los Angeles has made significant progress in reducing emissions related to goods movement,” Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka said in a prepared statement. “These open houses allow us to better connect with all our stakeholders and nearby communities, seek their valuable input and share our continued air quality improvement progress.”

The first quarterly open house begins at 5 p.m. at CRAFTED at the Port of Los Angeles, 112 E. 22nd St, San Pedro. RSVPs may be emailed to but are not mandatory. Additional open house details can be found at

The forum is expected to include updates on emission-reducing projects and opportunities provided by a member of the port’s 10-member Sustainable Freight Advisory Committee, which was recently appointed by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to help advance sustainable policy and expand the port’s use of zero-emission technology. The open houses and advisory committee are among several initiatives being undertaken by the port to keep the public informed of its sustainable goods movement progress. Others include the port’s new “Sustainable Progress” website (, which provides at-a-glance details, statistics and current status updates on major port environmental programs.

The port has begun regular monthly “open door” meetings, in which community members can get updates as needed from port staff about environmental programs. The next monthly “open door” meeting is set for 1:30 p.m. Nov. 18 at the port’s Environmental Management Division 9th floor offices at Pacific Place, 222 West Sixth St., San Pedro.