Friday, February 24, 2017

Bulk Carrier Detained in Longview, Washington

By Mark Edward Nero

Substandard safety issues onboard the bulk carrier Iolcos Commander has resulted in the vessel being detained by the US Coast Guard in Longview, Wash.

On the evening of Feb. 12, the Coast Guard received notification from the captain of Iolcos Commander of an engine malfunction while getting underway from berth in Longview. The vessel attempted to start their engine to transit to Vancouver, Wash., but the crew couldn’t start the main engine and had to receive tug assistance back to their berth.

Upon notification of the marine casualty, the Coast Guard’s captain of the port issued an order requiring the vessel to remain at berth until repairs were conducted and approved.

The following morning, inspectors from the Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Portland went onboard to assess damages. After inspectors identified several safety discrepancies they expanded the scope of the damage assessment, leading them to conduct a full safety and security exam.

Inspectors found fuel and cooling water leaking from the main engine, posing a potential fire hazard to the crew. The inspectors also found the fixed fire extinguishing system was improperly installed, causing excessive chaffing on several discharge hoses rendering the system unsafe to operate.

Crewmembers on board Iolcos Commander are currently rectifying the deficiencies.

The vessel, a 714-foot, Malta-flagged ship, is expected to remain in the Coast Guard Sector Columbia River captain of the port zone until the violations are corrected.

Neeser Re-elected Port of Vancouver Board Chair

By Mark Edward Nero

The body that oversees operations at the Port of Vancouver in British Columbia has re-elected Craig Neeser to serve as chair for a fourth term, commencing March 1, 2017.

The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority Board of Directors announced the decision on Feb. 23. The port’s board of directors is composed of 11 members: one federal appointee; one BC provincial appointee; one appointee for the Prairie Provinces Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba; one municipal appointee; and, seven port user appointees.

Neeser was originally appointed to the board in August 2009 and most recently re-appointed in 2015. He’s the former president of Weyerhaeuser Co., a private lumber company. Before that, he was senior vice president with Weyerhaeuser’s International Group, and was senior vice president, solid wood group when Weyerhaeuser acquired MacMillan Bloedel.

Under Weyerhaeuser, he also served as vice president, British Columbia, and later as president, Canada. He has served on the boards of directors of the Council of Forest Industries of British Columbia, University of Alberta, Global Forest Partners, Maynards, the Vancouver Aquarium, and the Forest Products Association of Canada.

The Port of Vancouver is North America’s third-busiest port by tonnage, after the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports in Southern California.

Portland Auto Exports Up 11 Percent

By Mark Edward Nero

In calendar year 2016, 291,000 vehicles rolled through Port of Portland, Oregon terminals to foreign markets and from domestic manufacturers, representing an 11 percent increase over 2015, according to the port’s annual year-end report, released Feb. 14.

The report also states that Portland is the top auto export seaport on the West Coast.

“With our proximity to Asia, Portland has become a leading auto distribution hub,” Keith Leavitt, the port’s chief commercial officer, said. “We’ve seen significant growth in exports since 2012 and expect that positive trend to continue in 2017.”

American-made cars are shipped by rail from assembly plants to the Port’s docks, where vehicles are driven on roll-on/roll-off (ro/ro) vessels bound for China and other parts of the Far East.

Many imports such as Hyundais, Toyotas and Hondas make their first stop in Portland before being shipped to dealerships across the region.

The port began auto shipping in 1953 with the import of Volkswagens through Terminal 1. Since then, well-over 11 million vehicles have come through port facilities.

The Port of Portland and tenant Auto Warehousing Co. recently secured state grant funding for a $7 million expansion of auto handling facilities in the Rivergate Industrial District near Terminal 6. Plans call for AWC to develop a new, 18.9-acre storage and staging yard to support the continued growth of export vehicles.

“Vehicle imports and exports provide more than 600 direct local jobs for dockworkers, processors and others working in distribution and transportation throughout the supply chain,” Leavitt said. “Each vehicle imported brings an estimated economic benefit of $275 to the region.”

Newest Harley Marine Tug Begins Service

By Mark Edward Nero

The M/V Earl W Redd, the newest addition to the Harley Marine fleet of tugboats, is currently completing sea trials and preparing to enter service under the flag of Harley’s Olympic Tug & Barge unit.

The 120-foot tractor tug, which has a hull depth of about 19 feet and a breadth of 35 feet, was built by Diversified Marine Inc. in Portland, Oregon. It’s named after the father of Diversified President Kurt Redd. The vessel is slated to enter service as a provider of unrestricted coastal towing along the US West Coast. The tug is powered by Tier 4-compliant CAT engines coupled to Rolls-Royce azimuthing drives providing a bollard pull capability of 75 tons.

The tug’s deck equipment was supplied by Markey Machinery, including a two-winch suite of equipment consisting of a Markey TESD-34B-100HP double drum electric towing winch and a DEPC-48-50HP electric bow hawser winch with Render/Recover.

The TESD-34B-100HP towing winch is arranged to hold 2500 feet of 2-1/4” diameter wire rope on the starboard drum, and 1500 feet on the port drum. Barrel layer performance is rated at 193,000 pounds at stall; 129,000 pounds at 22 FPM; and 55,000 pounds at 43 FPM. The brake has a maximum holding capacity of 645,000 pounds.

The winch, powered by a 100-HP TENV inverter-duty electric motor controlled by a variable frequency drive, can provide full torque at continuous stall, and includes a hydraulically powered emergency “come home” drive motor in the event of electrical failure.

The DEPC-48-50HP bow hawser winch utilizes Markey’s render/recover technology to allow tug positioning while automatically maintaining an adjustable inhaul/payout constant tension on the line. It also includes a “freewheel” feature allowing for fast line payout or emergency escape.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Vancouver USA Announces Public Tour Dates

By Mark Edward Nero

On Feb. 16, the Port of Vancouver USA announced that due to popularity, it would host 10 free public tours in 2017 -– two more than it did in 2016.

“We get great feedback and interest in our public tours, so much so that we’ve added four tours to our schedule since 2015,” port Chief External Affairs Officer Ryan Hart said.

The port’s free, 90-minute public tours showcase the industries that call the port home and give a taste of the maritime industry and global marketplace. Among the sites that visitors could see are massive ships berthed along the waterfront and some of the diverse cargoes handled on the port’s docks, such as steel, grain, minerals and automobiles.

The 2017 public tour dates are:

• 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, March 22
• 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 11
• 10 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, April 22
• 5:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday, May 11
• 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, May 24
• 5:30 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 7
• 10 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, June 24
• 10 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, July 15
• 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 1
• 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 14

Public tours begin at the port’s administrative building, at 3103 Northwest Lower River Road in Vancouver. At the outset, staff will provide a brief presentation about the port’s 105-year history, current projects, cargoes and global trade.

Then, participants will take a bus ride around the port for an interactive tour of bustling marine terminals and expanding industrial centers.

Government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license or passport, is required to attend. Cameras are not allowed on marine terminals.

Reservations are required and tours fill up quickly. Those interested can call the port at (360) 693-3611 or email

More information about the Port of Vancouver USA’s public tours is available at

Trump Appointee Takes Over as Acting Maritime Commission Chair

By Mark Edward Nero

On Feb. 15, Michael Khouri presided over his first meeting as Acting Chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission, taking over from former chair Mario Cordero.

Khouri became the 21st person to lead the FMC in late January when he was appointed Acting Chairman by President Donald J. Trump.

"I am honored to have been designated as Acting Chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission," Khouri said. "I want to assure all the Commission’s constituents and stakeholders that I am committed to assuring a competitive marketplace for ocean transportation services and the emphasis of the agency will remain to faithfully administer the shipping laws of the United States.”

Khouri, who was appointed to the Commission in 2010, is a Kentucky native who has a more than four-decade career in the maritime industry that began as a deckhand on towboats moving barges up and down the Mississippi River. He ultimately earned his US Merchant Marine Officer’s License as Master and First Class Pilot, allowing him to serve as a vessel captain. Khouri came ashore to earn a Juris Doctorate from the Brandeis School of Law – University of Louisville, following which, he had a distinguished career as a lawyer and business executive in the transportation sector.

Cordero chaired the FMC from 2013 until earlier this year. He is expected to remain on the Commission until his term expires in June 2019.

"It was a pleasure to serve as Chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission, and I am proud of our accomplishments over the last four years. I know that its good work will continue with Acting Chairman Khouri,” said Cordero, a former Port of Long Beach Harbor Commission president. “I look forward to working with him to serve the needs of the American shipping public and furthering the mission objectives of the Commission."

Seaport Alliance Sees Monthly Cargo Volumes Increases

By Mark Edward Nero

The Northwest Seaport Alliance kicked off the first month of 2017 with a 17 percent growth in container cargo for January, according to newly released data.

The Seaport Alliance, which is a maritime operating partnership between the Seattle and Tacoma ports, said full import and export volumes were both especially strong last month compared with the same month the year before.

At 128,892 TEUs, full imports grew almost 19 percent compared to January 2016, according to data.

Contributing factors to the increase, according to the Seaport Alliance, were fuller ships calling ahead of the Lunar New Year on Jan. 28, as well as retail stores restocking their inventory following a strong holiday retail season.

Traditionally, the factories in China ramp up production leading up to the Lunar New Year before they shut down for up to two weeks for the holiday. As a result, ocean carriers reduce the number of sailings to accommodate for the slowdown.

Full exports also recorded a strong month with 76,339 TEUs, a 17 percent increase. The total international TEU volumes grew nearly 18 percent in January.

But one month’s gain could mean another month’s loss.

“With China making up about 60 percent of our import volumes, we may see lower cargo volumes in February because fewer ships will reach our gateway,” the Alliance predicted in a statement.

Regarding domestic volumes – those between the Pacific Northwest ports and Alaska and Hawaii – in January were better than in January 2016, with Alaska volumes up more than 19 percent as a result of three additional sailings in January. Alaska volumes are expected to decline five to six percent this year due to soft market conditions.

Regarding other cargo, breakbulk was up 8.4 percent to 14,502 metric tons due to several military shipments through the South Harbor, Seaport Alliance data show, while auto units were up 4.3 percent to 12,613 units due to the release of a new model, as well as a resolution to labor/management issues in South Korea.

January 2017 container and cargo volumes for January 2017 can be found at and, respectively.

Foss’ Third Arctic Class Ocean Tug Nearly Complete

By Mark Edward Nero

Foss Maritime has released two time-lapse videos of the construction of the third of three state-of-the-art 132-foot Arctic Class tugs being built at the Rainier, Oregon shipyard.

The tug, to be named Nicole Foss, is ice class D0, meaning the hulls are designed specifically for polar waters and are reinforced to maneuver in ice. Like her sister Arctic Class tugs, it complies with the requirements in the ABS Guide for Building and Classing Vessels Intended to Operate in Polar Waters, including ABS A1 standards, SOLAS and Green Passport.

The short videos show construction from April of 2016 to January 2017. The first of two videos shows the hull assembly, construction, flip and installation of the bow and stern modules, the installation of one of two Caterpillar C280-8 main engines, the superstructure install and wheelhouse construction.

A second video shows construction through the transportation of the hull to Vancouver, Washington to have a Markey Machinery tow winch installed, before returning to Rainier for wheelhouse installation.

The videos are available on the Foss YouTube channel, or on the Foss website, with continuing updates and photography available via inquiry, or on social media at Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.

The tug is expected to enter service later this year.