Friday, February 21, 2020

California Ports Day “Call to Action”

By Karen Robes Meeks

This week, leaders from nearly a dozen California ports met with state officials for California Ports Day and urged them to help ports stay competitive in a challenging global market.

“Despite the headwinds we face, including market share loss, the US-China stand-off on trade, and the uncertainty that the coronavirus has brought to global trade, California ports are well-positioned to meet these challenges because we are innovators,” said Gene Seroka, president of the California Association of Port Authorities (CAPA) and executive director of the Port of Los Angeles. “Today was a call to action for port stakeholders to align with our state leadership to make certain that our ports remain at the center of Western Hemisphere trade.”

CAPA State Director Martha Miller said the port was “about raising awareness of the economic and environmental leadership ports bring to our state.”

“The goal is to get legislators and our fellow Californians thinking about where their food, clothing, automobiles, smartphones, and maritime services come from,” she said. “The more we trade, the more we need to invest in strong and efficient ports in our state.”

Polar Star Departs Antarctica

By Karen Robes Meeks

After supporting Operation Deep Freeze in Antarctica, US Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star (WAGB 10) has left McMurdo Station and is on its way back to its Seattle, Wash., homeport.

On its 23rd journey to Antarctica, the 399-foot, 13,000-ton cutter carved out ice to open a 23-mile channel to McMurdo Sound, allowing three logistics vessels to unload more than 19.5 million pounds of dry cargo and 7.6 million gallons of fuel. These supplies will keep National Science Foundation operations going until Polar Star returns in 2021, according to USCG.

“I am immensely proud of all the hard work and dedication the men and women of the Polar Star demonstrate each and every day,” said Greg Stanclik, commanding officer of the Polar Star. “Maintaining and operating a 44-year-old ship in the harshest of environments takes months of planning and preparation, long workdays and missed holidays, birthdays and anniversaries with loved ones. The Polar Star crew truly embodies the ethos of the Antarctic explorers who came before us – courage, sacrifice and devotion.”

Major Solar Manufacturer to Expand at Bellingham Waterfront

By Karen Robes Meeks

This week, the Washington State Department of Commerce and Port of Bellingham announced that Silfab Solar will invest at least $4 million to augment its operations with new manufacturing equipment, a move that will add 20 to 40 new jobs later this year when the next round of production starts.

"Silfab remains committed to ongoing investments to improve product innovation and increase our footprint of quality manufacturing within the US," said Paolo Maccario, CEO Silfab Solar. "Silfab supplies some of the best solar companies in the United States. This support from the state of Washington and Port of Bellingham will further increase Silfab’s solar production to deliver premium US-made solar modules to meet our partners’ growing demand.”

The port will receive a $250,000 economic development grant from the Commerce Department toward the expansion.

“Clean electricity is the foundation of Washington’s clean energy economy,” said Gov. Jay Inslee. “Silfab’s leadership will help us build the cleanest energy grid in the nation and realize our goal of 100% clean electricity by 2045.”

Oxnard Harbor District Welcomes New Commissioner

By Karen Robes Meeks

Celina Zacarias, senior director of Community and Government Relations for California State University, Channel Islands and chair of the Oxnard Chamber of Commerce, is the Oxnard Harbor District Board of Commissioners’ newest member. The board appointed Zacarias earlier this month to fill the position left vacant by the late Dr. Manuel Lopez.

“I would like to thank the Oxnard Harbor Board of Commissioners for appointing me to the recent vacancy left by the passing of the Honorable Dr. Manuel Lopez,” she said. “It is an honor to be selected to serve with such a hardworking and distinguished Board of Commissioners. I have always respected the Harbor District for the vital role they play in our local economy, and I consider it a privilege to serve and work alongside them. Finally, I hope to serve the remaining term with the same honor and dignity as Dr. Lopez.”

Zacarias will serve a 10-month term expiring on Jan. 4, 2021.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Local Coast Guard Crew Offloads Drugs in Drug Interdiction

By Karen Robes Meeks

Crew members of US Coast Guard Cutter Munro (WMSL 755) recently participated in a series of interdictions that seized almost 20,000 pounds of cocaine worth about $338 million from the Eastern Pacific Ocean.

During these interdictions that took place between mid-November and mid-January, the Munro , a 418-foot national security cutter homeported in Alameda, California, seized 6,680 pounds in three separate cases, according to the agency.

"By disrupting the profits of these cartels, we are reducing their effectiveness and helping our partner nations maintain their stability," said Rear Adm. Peter Gautier, the 11th Coast Guard District commander. "These efforts also provide invaluable information to us that we can then use to stop these drugs further up the supply chain before they begin these dangerous routes at sea."

Port of Oakland Unveils Sculpture Honoring Mariners

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Oakland and the International Maritime Center recently commemorated mariners lost at sea with a new abstract sculpture called “Sea Remembrance” located next to the IMC facility at Port View Park.

Artist James Allen King - a member of the Sailor's Union of the Pacific - donated his time to create the metal sculpture. The sculpture’s foundation was constructed by volunteers from California State University Maritime Academy and the Clean Living Learning Center.

Donations are being gathered to pay for final expenses.

“Seafarers make costly sacrifices being away from home at sea for months at a time,” said Captain Margaret Reasoner with the local IMC chapter. “The sculpture honors them for their hard work and perseverance, and serves as a memorial for the mariners who gave their life at sea.”

Port of Seattle Adds Environmental Prerequisite for New Cruise Terminal Partners

By Karen Robes Meeks

In its updated Request for Proposal for partners of a new cruise terminal, the Port of Seattle is asking for cruise vessels to have shore power capabilities and zero-emissions cargo handling equipment, among other environmental requirements.

“A key element of the port’s clean air and climate change strategy is to ultimately have all vessels utilizing shore power at berth,” said Stephanie Jones Stebbins, Managing Director of the Maritime Division at the port. “The port intends to require 100 percent of homeport cruise vessel calls at the new terminal to be shore-power capable and plug-in starting the first year of operation. We are striving to be the cleanest and greenest homeport in the nation.”

The port said it expects to announce a cruise terminal partner by the second quarter of this year.

Alaska Marine Lines Supports New Hydropower Facility Project

By Karen Robes Meeks

Alaska Marine Lines is doing some heavy lifting on the new hydropower facility in Kake, Alaska.

The company is moving penstock pipe and other materials for local electrical utility Inside Passage Electric Cooperative (IPEC), which is constructing the plant at an old hatchery.

The $10 million project - which is expected to be finished this year - will allow the community to switch from diesel and generators to a cleaner, less expensive power source that could also mean an annual reduction of 2 million pounds of CO2, according to Lynden.

"We started working on the project in 2018 with contractor Rock N Road," Arrowhead Transfer Operations Manager Adam Davis told Lynden. "We've already handled 60 loads of concrete and aggregate weighing between 20,000 to 66,000 pounds each to build pillars, thrust block and other features.”