Thursday, November 10, 2016

NASSCO Delivers 330,000 Barrel Tanker to SEA-Vista

By Mark Edward Nero

On Nov. 8, General Dynamics NASSCO shipbuilders delivered Constitution, a Jones Act-qualified ECO-class tanker, to Florida-based vessel operator SEA-Vista LLC.

The ship was delivered during a special signing ceremony at the company’s shipyard in San Diego.

Constitution is a 610-foot-long, 50,000-deadweight-ton, LNG-conversion-ready product tanker with a 330,000-barrel cargo capacity. The new “ECO-class” design symbolizes the emerging direction of the shipping industry in the US toward cleaner, more fuel-efficient modes of transporting product.

Construction on the ship began in June 2015 as part of an eight-ship program for two separate customers. It is the sixth ECO-class tanker built by NASSCO shipbuilders to recently join the Jones Act trade.

The Jones Act requires that ships carrying cargo between U.S. ports be built in US shipyards.

“With this program we contracted with two customers seeking similar capabilities,” General Dynamics NASSCO vice president and general manager Kevin Graney said. “A steady production run of eight ships improves hull-to-hull learning and has allowed us to deliver increasingly higher-quality, world-class vessels.”

San Diego-based NASSCO is the only major shipyard on the US West Coast conducting design, construction and repair of commercial and US Navy ships. For its commercial work, NASSCO partners with South Korean shipbuilder Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering.

Navy Commissions Research Vessel in San Diego

By Mark Edward Nero

Representatives from the US Navy joined elected officials and the oceanographic community to celebrate the launch of America’s newest research vessel. On Oct. 28, a new US Navy auxiliary general purpose oceanographic research vessel, R/V Sally Ride, was commissioned during a ceremony at Broadway Pier in San Diego.

This is the second ship of its class built by Anacortes, Washington-based Dakota Creek Industries. The shipbuilder also constructed the R/V Neil Armstrong, which was delivered to the Navy in September 2015.

The ship is named in honor of the late Sally Ride, who became the first American woman in space aboard space shuttle Challenger in 1983, and later joined the faculty of the University of California, San Diego as a professor of physics. Ride died of pancreatic cancer in 2012.

The R/V Sally Ride will be operated by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography under a charter party agreement with the Office of Naval Research. The vessel has accommodations for 24 scientists and will operate with a crew of 20 personnel.

The vessel is based on a single-hull commercial design; it measures about 238 feet long and incorporates the latest technologies, including high-efficiency diesel engines, emissions controls for stack gasses, and new information technology tools both for monitoring shipboard systems and for communicating with the world.

“As a Scripps graduate, career oceanographer and naval officer, I cannot think of a more exciting event than this commissioning,” oceanographer and navigator of the Navy, Rear Adm. Timothy Gallaudet said during the event. “Scripps is obtaining a capital asset; this vessel will advance our understanding of the oceans for decades, and we need this understanding in order to protect our country, our interests, and our allies.”

Climate change, the study of fisheries, and understanding sound in the sea are three primary research efforts Sally Ride will explore in its upcoming travels, Gallaudet said.

Drydock Sinks While Being Towed from Seattle to Mexico

By Mark Edward Nero

A 528-foot dry dock sank offshore late last month, about 40 miles west of San Francisco, while being towed from Seattle to Mexico.

Personnel aboard Ocean Ranger, a 117-foot tug owned and operated by Seattle-based Western Towboat Co., initially contacted Coast Guard Sector San Francisco watch standers the afternoon of Oct. 25, reporting that the dry dock it was towing was taking on water while in transit.

US Coast Guard watch standers began an hourly communication schedule with the Ocean Ranger crew to monitor the status of the tow and dispatched a Coast Guard Air Station San Francisco helicopter to visually assess the situation. The air crew confirmed the dry dock was listing.

Ocean Ranger’s crew proceeded west but eventually had to detach from the dry dock, which reportedly sank about 40 miles offshore around 2 a.m. Oct. 26 in about 3,000 feet of water.

A Coast Guard overflight by a Dolphin helicopter crew was unable to locate the dry dock later that morning.

There were no injuries reported, and fuels and hazardous materials were removed from the dry dock prior to its departure from Seattle, the Coast Guard has said.

The circumstances surrounding the dry-dock sinking, according to the Coast Guard, remain under investigation.

Vancouver USA Seeks Developer for Terminal 5

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Vancouver USA said Nov. 11 that it is seeking firms interested in designing, permitting, constructing and operating a high-volume marine terminal facility at Terminal 5, one of the port’s rail-served terminals on the Columbia River.

Submissions are due by 5 p.m. Pacific Standard Time on Friday, Dec. 23.

The available property features about 40 acres in the southern portion of the terminal and consists partially of existing fixed dock at Terminal 5 and nearby floating dock at Terminal 4 for autos, as well as laydown space, rail access and the option to add additional rail.

The site, according to the port, is ideal for a mineral bulk or auto facility.

“Terminal 5 is a very unique property on the US West Coast,” port Chief Marketing and Sales Officer Alastair Smith said in a statement. “The access to river, road and rail is unparalleled; you have the 43-foot-deep Columbia River shipping channel, high-capacity rail and excellent surface transportation access for local as well as interstate deliveries. “There’s a lot of possibility in this site and we look forward to hearing from firms interested in partnering with us to grow their business in our community,” he said.

Terminal 5 is served by a loop track completed in 2010 as part of the port’s $275 million West Vancouver Freight Access project, which is nearly complete and is expected to allow the port to handle up to 400,000 rail cars annually by 2018.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Electronics Firm Severs Ties to Maritime Executive

Larson Electronics, citing lead data issues, has cancelled its advertising contract with Florida-based Maritime Executive, which distributes a print magazine, digital newsletter and a website under the Maritime Executive name. In a press release issued on October 20th, the Kemp, Texas-based electronics firm said Maritime Executive provided contact information associated with lead generating digital campaigns purported to be interested prospects, but the firm found that many of those prospects did not click on the ads and do not read Maritime Executive, while many more leads were found to be not valid or not in use.

Larson Electronics ended the relationship with the publisher after a comprehensive review of responses to a variety of digital campaigns, including e-blasts, e-newsletters and web ad placements. Some of these digital programs produce “leads”, which Maritime Executive claimed were people who clicked on Larson ads within their digital campaigns, presumably because they were interested in learning more about the product.

“There are so many issues with Maritime Executive it is hard to wrap my head around them all,” said Rob Bresnahan with Larson Electronics LLC. “It is not clear yet whether all campaigns we were billed for actually ran, but we definitely have issues with the leads generated by the campaigns that did run.”

Bresnahan said that the leads from Maritime Executive were email addresses only, which struck him as unusual. He also noticed several hundred leads from attorneys at large firms. “We advertised explosion proof LED lights for hazardous location areas in these campaigns,” he said. “These are products that make sense for tankers, refineries, chemical processing centers and docking areas where oil and other chemicals are routed on and off transport vessels. Not lawyers.”

Bresnahan said seven partners from one firm ‘responded’ to one ad in one e-newsletter on one day. “It just would not happen,” he said. “In calling and emailing these ‘leads’, we found that many do not read Maritime Executive in any form and did not click on the links in their digital campaigns seeking more information.”

Bresnahan said email responses showed that many of these attorneys had left these firms years ago, many of the emails were not valid and the valid ones did not recognize Maritime Executive and had no interest in the product.

Bresnahan said a statistically significant number of the people in the lists offered as leads “are not Maritime Executive readers and never clicked on our ad in any of their campaigns.” Bresnahan says, “If these people are the ones clicking on our ad in their digital campaign and coming to our site, how is that possible when these people don’t exist, don’t read Maritime Executive or stopped using that email 5 or 6 years ago?”

Bresnahan says his company gave Maritime Executive a summary of their analysis of these campaigns, “but their response so far has included posting derogatory statements about our company and me on the Web, screaming obscenities at one of the order processing people here and implying a physical confrontation,” which Bresnahan says he would be delighted to accommodate.

Larson Electronics carries an extensive line of LED light towers, portable power distributions, explosion proof lights for hazardous locations, portable work lights and industrial grade LED area lights.

Ship Hired to Remove Container Backlog

So many empty Hanjin Shipping cargo containers have piled up at Southern California ports since Hanjin filed for bankruptcy protection a little over two months ago that an entire containership is being enlisted to clean up the mess.

The Port of Long Beach and terminal operator Total Terminals International said Nov. 3 that they’ve reached an agreement to help clear the significant backlog of empty cargo containers from Southern California and free up the chassis they sit on.

As part of the agreement, a container ship is being brought in to remove up to 4,300 empty containers.

Hanjin Shipping filed for bankruptcy protection on Aug. 31, resulting in a significant buildup of empty containers across Southern California, tying up the chassis they rest on. To alleviate the problem, Long Beach and TTI have worked together to secure an empty vessel to reposition the containers, a solution that will help move empty containers back to Asia and bring significant relief to the inventory of the truck trailers onto which containers are mounted, explained Dr. Noel Hacegaba, the Port of Long Beach’s Managing Director of Commercial Operations and Chief Commercial Officer.

The empty container ship is expected to arrive in Long Beach within the coming week.

“TTI has already begun accepting empty Hanjin containers from container-leasing companies, freeing up every chassis that drops off a container,” Hacegaba said. “We expect that as many as 3,000 containers will literally be taken off the street and shipped back to Asia, with another 1,300 being removed from the port, putting thousands of chassis back to work.”

TTI is loading the ship at cost, while the Port of Long Beach will waive its fee for access to the Port’s terminal.

“We feel this is a fair and necessary accommodation to keep goods moving through the ports in Southern California and to ensure our customers are able to remove their containers,” Hacegaba said.

TTI Long Beach said it will receive specific Hanjin-leased empty containers authorized by four leasing companies: Triton, Textainer, Seacube and Florens. Delivery instructions can be found at

Seaport Alliance Adds 3 Weeks to Gates Program

By Mark Edward Nero

The Northwest Seaport Alliance’s extended gates program is getting an extension.

The Alliance announced Nov. 7 that it has lengthened the extended gates program from its original end date of Nov. 11 through Dec. 2 in order to support the peak shipping season’s strong agricultural exports.

“Based on the positive feedback we received from our customers, we are pleased to offer three additional weeks of the extended gate program, which was set to conclude on Nov. 11,” NWSA Chief Operations Officer Dustin Stoker explained in a statement.

The program includes 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.

Nearly 10 weeks into the program, the international container terminal operators have added about 50 to 70 hours per week, according to the Seaport Alliance, which is a marine cargo joint operating agreement between the ports of Seattle and Tacoma.

The Alliance launched the extended gates program in August 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.

LA Area Ports Partnering with Maersk on Environmental Initiative

By Mark Edward Nero

The ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles said Nov. 7 that they’ve launched a partnership with shipping company Maersk Line to measure the environmental benefits of a $125 million upgrade for 12 Maersk container ships.

The partnership involves the installation of high-tech equipment to track vessel emissions and energy efficiency over the next three years, something that the three partners say would enable more transparency and ultimately reduce the environmental impact of vessels calling at the San Pedro Bay port complex.

The two ports are contributing a combined $1 million to real-time tracking systems that represent an industry-leading application to pinpoint vessel emissions while ships are at sea and at berth. Unprecedented in its scope and scale, the three-year data collection and analysis project, called “The Connected Vessel Programme,” builds on the $125 million Maersk Line has invested in its “radical retrofit” program to reduce fuel consumption and increase the capacity of the vessels that regularly call at the San Pedro Bay ports.

“This project is a vivid example of the deep commitment to environmental sustainability that we have grown to expect from our goods movement partners, as we all work together to create a healthier planet,” Port of Long Beach Interim CEO Duane Kenagy said in a statement. “We’re pleased to be a part of this project, and we hope it will serve as a model to encourage even more progress and creativity in emissions reductions from ocean-going vessels.”

The project will continuously record how much fuel each engine uses in conjunction with speed, engine power, weather and other operational variables through use of mass flow meters and an interface to the on-board Integrated Control System to capture performance data.

Information will be uploaded to Maersk Line servers via satellite, and each ship will be able to communicate in real-time with Maersk Line’s Global Vessel Performance Centre to increase operational efficiency.

“This is the equivalent of strapping a Fitbit onto a large container ship,” said Dr. Lee Kindberg, Director of Environment and Sustainability for Maersk Line.

“We’ll be tracking vessel performance and emissions 24/7. This advances our ability to reduce greenhouse gases and other pollutants on a global scale.”

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach will split the $1 million cost under their joint Technology Advancement Program, which is a grant program created under the ports’ Clean Air Action Plan to accelerate the evaluation and demonstration of new and emerging clean technologies for reducing and ultimately eliminating harmful emissions from all port-related sources. Ships generate the lion’s share of air pollution associated with port activity.

“We are eager to do our part to advance fundamental change that will result in cleaner air for our surrounding communities and around the world,” Port of LA Executive Director Gene Seroka said.

Oakland Export Volumes Reach a 3-Year High

By Mark Edward Nero

Port of Oakland export volume reached a three-year high in October, soaring 20 percent over 2015 totals, per newly-released data.

The port reported Nov. 7 that it shipped the equivalent of 89,473 export containers last month, which was the most since Oct. 2013, as well as the fourth-largest monthly total in its history.

The figures cap a yearlong rally that has lifted Oakland exports 10 percent above 2015 volume year-to-date.

Last month was behind only March 2012 (91,613 TEUs), October 2013 (89,561 TEUs) and March 2011 (89,524 TEUs) for monthly containerized exports.

“Increased export volume is nothing new – we’ve reported gains in nine of the first 10 months of the year,” Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll said. “But the amount of volume growth highlights just how strong this rally is.”

A softer US dollar and healthy agricultural harvests helped drive export gains, according to the port. Growers in California’s Central, Napa and Salinas valleys depend on Oakland to reach markets in Asia.

The port also reported that containerized import cargo volume increased two percent in October. Overall loaded container volume – imports and exports – was up 11.4 percent last month.