Friday, November 1, 2019

USCG James Crew Participate in Drug Interdiction

By Karen Robes Meeks

Crew members of the US Coast Guard Cutter James were part of a major effort to seize thousands of pounds of drugs in international waters of the Caribbean Basin and the Eastern Pacific Ocean off the Mexican, Central and South American coasts. Cutter James will unload approximately 28,000 pounds of seized cocaine with an estimated value of $367 million and about 11,000 pounds of seized marijuana valued at $10.1 million at Port Everglades.

The Coast Guard conducted 18 interdictions of suspected drug smuggling vessels accounting for the seizure of 19 tons of narcotics with a street value of more than $375 million. The Cutter James crew conducted six of those interdictions resulting in 7,022 pounds of cocaine and 4,085 pounds marijuana.

“These drugs will not reach Main Street USA due to the efforts of the James crew and other Coast Guard cutters involved in these interdictions," said Capt. Jeffrey Randall, Coast Guard Cutter James commanding officer. "The James crew conducted counter-drug operations with the cooperative efforts with regional partner nations, like Columbia, Costa Rica and alongside the agencies involved in Operation Martillo to stop the flow of illegal narcotics into the United States. Due to this cooperative effort, we maintain an offensive against criminal networks and criminal organizations."

Seattle Seeks Cruise Terminal Input

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Seattle is seeking input on a proposed cruise terminal at Terminal 46.

The public will have until 4 p.m. on Nov. 13 to weigh in on the proposal, which calls for the development of a new 29-acre cruise terminal that would meet the growing demands of the port’s cruise business.

A pair of EIS Public Scoping Meetings/Open Houses, which will provide an opportunity to hear more about the project and weigh in on its potential environmental impact, are scheduled for the coming weeks. Feedback will be gathered and considered for the project’s SEPA analysis.

The first meeting will take place on Nov. 4 from 4 to 6 p.m. in the King Street Ballroom at Embassy Suites at Pioneer Square, 255 South King Street in Seattle, Wash. The second gathering will be on Nov. 7 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at The Foundry, located at 4130 1st Avenue S in Seattle.

Written submissions can be sent by email or mail to Laura Wolfe, Port of Seattle, Pier 69, 2711 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA 98121.

Stakeholders can also go online to the Terminal 46 Cruise Development website at and click “Participate” to provide input.

Port of Long Beach Promotes Tomley

By Karen Robes Meeks

Heather Tomley is the new Managing Director of Planning and Environmental Affairs for the Long Beach Harbor Department. The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners recently voted to promote Tomley, who had been serving as acting managing director for the last 12 months while the port carried out a national search for the job.

Tomley was hired at the port in 2005 as an Environmental Planning Associate before being elevated to Environmental Specialist, then Senior Environmental Specialist in 2006, Assistant Director of Environmental Planning in 2008 and Director of Environmental Planning in 2014. Before joining the port Tomley worked for SCS Engineers as a Project Scientist and as an Air Quality Specialist for the San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District.

In her new role, Tomley will be tasked with overseeing the port’s Environmental Planning, Transportation Planning and Master Planning divisions. The job is a high profile one at the port, which is ramping up its efforts toward zero emissions operations.

“Heather has deep experience creating and managing cutting-edge projects that have dramatically improved air quality and earned crucial industry cooperation, such as the Clean Trucks Program and the Technology Advancement Program,” said Port Executive Director Mario Cordero. “The Port will benefit from her skill set and industry relationships while it engages in long-term planning efforts like the Port Master Plan and San Pedro Bay Rail Study Update, and as it proceeds in earnest on its most ambitious and far-reaching goal ever – to achieve zero emissions cargo operations.”

Port of San Diego Honored by Environmental Professionals

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of San Diego recently netted a pair of prestigious awards from the San Diego chapter of the Association of Environmental Professionals.

The association gave its Outstanding Technical Report Award to the port’s Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment and Coastal Resiliency Report, which looks at how the port plans to address projected sea level rise and studies its environmental and financial impacts.

The port also teamed up with the California State Lands Commission for the San Diego Ocean Planning Partnership Preliminary Assessment Report, which earned them the association’s Outstanding Public Involvement Award.

“As an environmental champion of San Diego Bay and its tidelands, the Port of San Diego is committed to making sure these public lands will be protected so that they may be enjoyed by future generations,” said Chairman of the Board of Port Commissioners, Garry Bonelli. “Port staff did an exceptional job ensuring that the Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment and Coastal Resiliency Report reflected this. Additionally, port staff and State Lands Commission staff have underscored the importance of public involvement to help understand ocean planning. The port is honored to be recognized for its efforts on both of these reports.”

For more information on the port’s Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment and Coastal Resiliency Report, visit Additional information on the San Diego Ocean Planning Partnership Preliminary Assessment Report can be found at

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

San Diego Seeks Park Input

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of San Diego and the City of Chula Vista are asking stakeholders to weigh in on the future Harbor and Sweetwater Parks at a final Design Workshop scheduled for Nov. 18, 2019.

Combined, those two parks will represent over half of the new park space planned for the Chula Vista Bayfront development.

Following the completion of the designs, staff will perform an environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) before coming back to the board to seek authorization for Coastal Development Permits sometime next year.

The Design Workshop will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. at the City of Chula Vista Public Library Civic Center Branch, 365 F Street in Chula Vista.

Visit for more information on the development.

Clean Truck Program Wins Award

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Northwest Seaport Alliance’s Clean Truck Program recently earned the 2019 Environmental Improvement Award from the American Association of Port Authorities.

The voluntary Clean Truck Program stems from one of the Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy’s initiatives. As of Jan. 1, 2019, all trucks that enter the NWSA’s container terminals must have engines that are 2007 and newer.

“With newer engines emitting 90 percent less diesel particulate matter (DPM), the program has reduced the pollutant load on our neighboring communities by 33.4 tons of DPM per year,” according to the port.

The award, which highlights the environmental activities of ports, considered environmental benefits, port involvement, creativity, results, cost effectiveness and concept transferability.

USCGC Alex Haley Finishes Bering Sea Deployment

By Karen Robes Meeks

The US Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley recently came back to Kodiak, Alaska, following a 40-day deployment throughout the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands. During that period, they patrolled 5,000 miles and conducted 13 at-sea boardings.

The crew of the 282-foot Medium Endurance cutter were deployed at the start of the 2019 Red King Crab season. They took part in several search and rescue operations, among them the medical evacuation of a crewmember from fishing vessel Alaska Victory after he was “exposed to a release of toxic ammonia refrigerant Sept. 28,” according to the USCG. The crew also went to St. Paul, Alaska, cleaned up a local lakefront and visited with community elders.

“The opportunity to patrol the Bering Sea during the highly visible Red King Crab season was tremendously rewarding and uniquely challenging,” Cmdr. Benjamin Golightly, Alex Haley’s commanding officer. “Between the rapid operational pace of fisheries boardings, the notorious unpredictability of the weather, and the fact that search and rescue cases can occur at any time, there was no shortage of challenges to be met by the crew. However, through their perseverance, high spirits, and unwavering dedication to service, Alex Haley's crewmembers exemplified professionalism and operational excellence in all they did. The product of their efforts can clearly be seen in the success we had this patrol.”

Hawaii Search and Rescue Exercise

By Karen Robes Meeks

A joint search and rescue exercise recently took place near Kapalua, Maui. The US Coast Guard, Maui County Fire Department, Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services, Maui County Emergency Medical Services, American Medical Response and Maui County Police Department all participated in the mock operation.

The two-day event featured a planning, safety and communication meeting, a resource open house and a full-scale open-water exercise that simulated a report of an overdue recreational vessel with two people in the water a mile offshore.

“The robust participation from our Maui partners and Coast Guard units made this exercise not only possible, but an overwhelming success,” said Cmdr. Nicholas Worst, chief of response, Coast Guard Sector Honolulu. “The collaboration and already strong working relationships were enhanced through the sharing of best practices to ensure real world events are well coordinated to promote responder safety and increase the probability of success while searching for those in distress.”