Friday, March 20, 2020

Port of Everett Administration and Marina Offices Closed Until March 31

By Karen Robes Meeks

To curb the spread of COVID-19, the Port of Everett’s CEO Lisa Lefeber this week issued an emergency declaration and placed the port on Emergency Operations status until the end of March.

The move closes public access to the port’s administration and marina offices until March 31 and enacts modified workplace policies for port staff members, including working from home.

“The port will continue to serve the needs of our maritime customers at the seaport,” she said. “It is important to us that we maintain reliability and predictability at these critical facilities to keep our economy moving, especially in support of the aerospace community.”

The office closures will not impact port-wide security, marina fuel dock and haul out services, and slip holders will still be able to access their boats, she noted, adding that the public boat launch and waterfront public areas will remain open.

Also, public and private construction projects happening at the port – including cleanup at the former Kimberly-Clark site – will continue, Lefeber said.

Port of Long Beach Marine Terminals Stay Open, Offices Close

By Karen Robes Meeks

In the midst of COVID-19, marine terminals at the Port of Long Beach will stay open to keep goods flowing, the port announced this week.

Workers – the port added – will be moving goods to and from ships “under the health-protective directives established by the U.S. Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection, with guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

“While the port’s primary focus is to protect the well-being of the port and industry workforce, all stakeholders are working diligently to ensure that cargo operations continue, maintaining a vital link in the supply chain to ensure everyday goods continue to be available to Americans,” the port said.

And while the port has closed its administration building, Joint Security Command and Control Center and maintenance facility to the public until March 31 or further notice, port staff will still be available via phone or online.

Port of Oakland Terminals will Remain Open, Offices Close to Public

By Karen Robes Meeks

Marine terminals at the Port of Oakland will keep moving cargo on and off vessels amid regional COVID-19 concerns. “Our operations are critical to the health, safety, infrastructure and economy of our region,” said Port Executive Director Danny Wan. “We will continue to function as a vital gateway for global trade and transportation while doing everything possible to protect our employees, customers and business partners.”

While the port is exempt from an Alameda County shelter-in-place order (it’s considered an essential service), the port intends to have a resilience plan to staff its operations to limit the risk of exposure to employees. The port also said it was expected to meet with labor about staffing levels on the docks.

Coast Guard Cutter Returns to Astoria

By Karen Robes Meeks

After 69 days on a counterdrug deployment in the Eastern Pacific, the crew of the US Coast Guard Cutter Alert came back to Astoria this week.

Crewmembers conducted drug patrols off the Mexican coast and took part in the North American Maritime Security Initiative, a three-day exercise aimed at improving data sharing and integrating with Canadian, US and Mexican maritime forces on counterdrug operations.

"I’m proud of the hard work that our crew put into our Eastern Pacific patrol,” said Cdr. Tyson Scofield, Alert’s commanding officer. “I am especially proud of the professionalism that the crew showed during our joint exercises with the Canadian and Mexican navies. They displayed a high level of skill while demonstrating counter narcotics interdiction techniques and during the shipboard launch and recovering of a Mexican helicopter for the first time. Most importantly, our crew created personal and professional relationships with their North American peers, which will help to counter the flow of illegal narcotics into all of our countries.”

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Port of Seattle Cancels April 1 and April 5 Cruise Sailings

By Karen Robes Meeks

Caution over COVID-19 has prompted the Port of Seattle to cancel cruise sailings planned for April 1 and April 5.

The canceled sailings were "port of call” sailings in which ships do one-day stop in Seattle before heading to a different destination, while the majority of sailings are homeport. The port announced that it will coordinate with “first responders, cruise lines, and local leaders, and consider current public health guidance, as well as enhanced actions that the cruise lines are undertaking, to determine future sailings.”

“This region is in a public health emergency and we will cancel the first two sailings of our cruise season,” said Port of Seattle Commission President Peter Steinbrueck. “The health, safety, and wellbeing of our residents is our top priority.”

Meanwhile, Canada’s Transport Minister on Friday said cruise across Canada will be suspended until July 1, a move that may affect Seattle-based cruises since Seattle to Alaska trips visit Victoria.

The cruise industry is a massive one for Seattle, generating close to $900 million in business and supports 5,500 jobs.

Cook Inlet Tug and Barge Adds to Fleet

By Karen Robes Meeks

In mid-April, Cook Inlet Tug & Barge will add a shallow draft tugboat, the Bristol Wind, to its fleet. She will join sister vessel, the Capt. Frank Moody, in helping to transport cargo along the Arctic for the construction and oil and gas industries.

"Drawing just 3.2 feet, the Bristol Wind is uniquely designed to operate efficiently as a coastal tug,” said Michael O'Shea, senior director of Business Development and Planning at Cook Inlet Tug & Barge. “She has the unique ability to lighten the draft when water depths are extremely shallow – allowing her to safely service river and coastal locations that would otherwise be unreachable by conventional tugs.”

The Bristol Wind – which will be homeported in Anchorage, Alaska – will help meet growing opportunities in the Alaskan region, said Jeff Johnson, president of Cook Inlet Tug & Barge.

Port of Stockton Welcomes Two New Commissioners

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Stockton Port District Commission has two new members. Earlier this month, William R. Trezza was appointed to his first four-year term and Dr. Elizabeth Blanchard to another two-year term by the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors.

Trezza was CEO of BAC Community Bank from 1984 to Jan. 1, 2019, when he retired. He still serves as Director of the Bank.

A commissioner since 2008, Blanchard was on the Stockton City Planning Commission for eight years and on the San Joaquin County Planning Commission for two years. She also served as past president of the Association of Pacific Ports.

The seven-member commission is made up of four City of Stockton appointees and three San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors appointees.

US Coast Guard Cutter Munro Returns Home

By Karen Robes Meeks

After being deployed for 78 days in drug-transit areas in the Eastern Pacific, the 418-feet long US Coast Guard Cutter Munro recently came home to Alameda, California, the agency said.

From late December to mid January, crew members interdicted three suspected drug-smuggling ships with 6,680 pounds of pure cocaine.

“I truly could not have asked for a better crew with whom to share these memories, but we didn't do this alone,” said Capt. Jim Estramonte, Munro’s commanding officer. “Through all our adventures, the friends and family members of Munro’s crew have supported us. It is their hard work at home that allows us to serve. Their sacrifice does not go unnoticed. So, thank you to all those that make our success possible."