Friday, August 30, 2019

Olympia Harbor Days

By Karen Robes Meeks

From Aug. 30 to Sept. 1, the Port of Olympia will host the 46th Harbor Days Maritime Festival to celebrate the community’s maritime roots.

Vintage and working tugboats will be on display at Percival Landing and Port Plaza in downtown Olympia. Some tugs will offer tours on Saturday.

Festival goers will be able to admire various vessels including the retired US Coast Guard Cutter tug Comanche, now a floating WWII museum, and Tordenskjold, a 100-year-old Bering Sea fishing vessel. Also returning to Olympia is the famous tall ship Lady Washington, which will share dock space with the historic Mosquito Fleet steam ship Virginia V and US Navy retired admiral’s barge, Old Man IV. Tours and cruises will be offered all weekend.

On Saturday, Aug. 31, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., visitors are invited to take a free port tour. Go to the Port of Olympia’s booth on the northwest corner of the Port Plaza, just north of Percival Landing on Budd Inlet for more details.

Harbor Days after Dark will take place at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday evenings at the Port Plaza. This free live theater performance of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” is presented by OlyArts Magazine, a local art publication.

Not to be missed is the annual Tugboat Races in Budd Inlet scheduled for noon on Sunday Sept,1.

For more information, visit

Long Beach to Brief Public on Rail Facility

By Karen Robes Meeks

The public is invited to hear the latest details on the Port of Long Beach’s Pier B On-Dock Rail Support Facility. The project is at the heart of the port’s $1 billion rail program that will shift cargo transport at marine terminals to rail.

The move is expected to lower the number of regional truck trips and aligns with the port’s approach to greening operations.

“No cargo trucks would visit the facility,” according to the port. “Instead, smaller train segments would be brought to the facility and joined together into a full-sized train.”

The initial arrival, departure and storage tracks are expected to be in place by 2024, with more tracks ready for operation in 2030. The entire project is to be finalized by 2032.

A public meeting to discuss the project is set for 11 a.m. on Sept. 4, at the Long Beach Multi-Service Center, 1301 W. 12th St.

Visit to RSVP. For more information, go to

USCG Sector Juneau Spill Response Exercise

By Karen Robes Meeks

This week, members of the US Coast Guard Sector Juneau conducted an oil spill response exercise in Ketchikan, Alaska.

Representatives from the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, Southeast Alaska Petroleum Response Organization and Western Canadian Marine Response Corporation also took part in the exercise that saw an exclusion boom being deployed in Ward Cove and Whipple Creek.

The exercise allows participants to practice on-water recovery of free oil within the Tongass Narrows while using a boom around environmentally sensitive areas outlined in the Southeast Alaska Area Contingency Plan.

“This exercise will enable us to assess the effectiveness of our pre-planned strategy as well as our ability to carry it out,” said Cmdr. Byron Hayes, response department head at Sector Juneau. “The inclusion of our response partners ensures that in the event of a real pollution incident, we will be able to respond decisively as one team to safeguard the pristine Southeast Alaska environment.”

Oakland Exports Up

By Karen Robes Meeks

Export cargo at the Port of Oakland rose 2.4 percent in the first half of 2019, compared to the first six months of 2018. Port officials attributed the rise to double-digit increases of exports to South Korea, Japan and Taiwan, filling the gap left by China, the port’s biggest trading partner.

Exports to China fell 17 percent, the equivalent of 14,000 20-foot cargo containers this year, a result of Chinese tariffs on US goods. However, shipments to South Korea rose by 10,000, Japan by 7,000 and Taiwan by 3,000.

“This is testament to the resilience and ingenuity of our customers,” said Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll. “They’re finding the means to overcome debilitating trade barriers.”

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Redwood City Receives Security Grant

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Redwood City has secured a $1.85 million 2019 Federal Emergency Management Agency Port Security Grant, allowing it to bolster its maritime security-related partnership with federal and area first responders.

The grant will go towards a new modern Interagency Operations Center, training and exercises. It will also pay for security infrastructure and equipment, including cameras, fencing, lights, a new jet dock, and equipment that detects chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive dangers for the Redwood City Fire and Police Departments.

“Receiving this grant underscores the federal government’s confidence in the port as a valued strategic partner in homeland security and a leader in emergency preparedness,” stated Port of Redwood City Executive Director Kristine A. Zortman. “This grant further demonstrates to our community the significance that the port plays in security and disaster recovery for the region.”

Port of LA Awards $1 Million in Grants

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Los Angeles announced on Thursday the recipients of its fiscal year 2019/20 Community Investment Sponsorship Program. Thirty local groups have been awarded a total of $1 million in grants. The program funds community projects that promote the development of a local workforce, education, the environment and the Los Angeles Waterfront.

Recipients included EXP for its Preparing the Next Generation Workforce Program, the Los Angeles Maritime Institute for its Topsail Youth Program, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Los Angeles Harbor for its Port Ocean and Land Awareness Program, as well as Beacon House Association of San Pedro and Clean Wilmington.

“The Port’s Community Investment Sponsorship Program continues to serve as an important vehicle to support innovative and promising local projects in the Los Angeles Harbor area,” said Port Executive Direction Gene Seroka. “We’re proud to support programs like these that are truly making a difference in our Port communities.”

Two National Security Cutters Commissioned

By Karen Robes Meeks

The US Coast Guard on Saturday morning celebrated the commissioning of two national security cutters at its Honolulu base.

The ceremony was for the USCGC Kimball (WMSL 756), which made it to destination on Dec. 22, 2018, and USGCG Midgett (WMSL 757), which arrived Friday from Pascagoula, Mississippi.

The Legend-class national security cutters are some of the Coast Guard's newest additions to the fleet and are a capable platform for a wide range of missions including homeland security and defense.

Capt. Holly Harrison is the commanding officer of Kimball and Capt. Alan McCabe commands Midgett.

“These national security cutters will continue our 150 years of partnership and commitment to the Pacific region – since September 1849, when Revenue Cutter Lawrence sailed into Honolulu Harbor escorted by Native Hawaiians in outrigger canoes,” said Adm. Karl Schultz, the Coast Guard’s commandant. “In today’s complex geostrategic environment with rising great power competition, the importance and demand for a strong Coast Guard presence in the Pacific has never been greater.”

Port of Hueneme Wins Fiscal Award

By Karen Robes Meeks

For the ninth straight year, the Port of Hueneme has been honored by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada for its Excellence in Financial Reporting. The award highlights the port’s Fiscal Year 2018 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR).

“The CAFR has been judged by an impartial panel to meet the high standards of the program,” the association’s statement read adding that the port’s report “includes demonstrating a constructive ‘spirit of full disclosure’ to clearly communicate its financial story and motivate potential users and user groups to read the CAFR.”

“As a Special District, the importance of accuracy and transparency cannot be overstated,” said Oxnard Harbor District President Jess Herrera. “We are proud to be recognized with this award, as we only want to perform at the very highest level within our community of which we’re proud.”