Friday, May 29, 2020

NavalX Tech Bridge to House Ventura Location at Port of Hueneme

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Department of Navy’s workforce connector NavalX is coming to Ventura County and it will base its operation at the Port of Hueneme. The port is among five new Tech Bridge locations being established around the country. NavalX will join FATHOMWERX and the port’s Maritime Advanced Systems & Technology Lab at the port’s 319 warehouse.

“Our partnership with FATHOMWERX at the Port of Hueneme and the alignment of the NavalX Tech Bridge network will further accelerate our ability to engage innovators across the region and country in order to provide world class In-Service Engineering support to our Fleet and Warfighter,” said Ventura Tech Bridge Director and Office of Research and Technology Applications Manager Alan Jaegar.

Founded in 2019, NavalX’s Tech Bridge aims at fostering collaboration between startups and local tech community to develop new solution-driven technology faster by bringing together academia, the private business sector and the US Navy.

“Expanding our partnership to include this federal initiative strengthens our collaborative approach to solving the most pressing challenges of the maritime industry, be it security, environmental, supply chain, or infrastructure-based solutions,” said CEO and Port Director Kristin Decas.

Port of Port Angeles Aims to Retain and Grow Jobs Amid Pandemic

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Port Angeles is committed to expanding jobs in Clallam County during the pandemic and is working with employees and customers to make sure social distancing and sanitation practices are adhered to.

“In these uncertain times, the Port recognizes its vital role in creating and sustaining family wage jobs in Clallam County,” said Port Executive Director Karen Goschen. “After implementing new safety protocols, the port is moving forward with several projects and initiatives to retain jobs and to bring new economic growth to our region. We hope these efforts will help ease the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on our community and region.”

Projects include maintenance dredging to accommodate larger ships coming to the port’s cargo terminal, starting survey work related to the log yard stormwater control and treatment system, and supporting the domestic forest product sector by permitting and designing improvements to the cofferdam barge facilities.

USCG Cutter Seizes $53.5 Million Worth of Drugs from Vessel

By Karen Robes Meeks

Crew members of the US Coast Guard Cutter James recently confiscated more than 3,100 pounds of cocaine worth $53.5 million after boarding a low-profile go-fast vessel in international waters in the Eastern Pacific Ocean near Central America.

Cutter James was deployed following the initial discovery by a maritime patrol aircraft of a suspicious vessel. Upon boarding, crew members encountered four suspected smugglers and seized a small amount of cocaine. They later found most of the cocaine in a closed off section of the ship, the agency said.

Enforcement of the Eastern Pacific Ocean falls under the jurisdiction of the Alameda-based 11th Coast Guard District and is part of the country’s larger effort against drug smugglers.

CMA CGM Group Donates 200,000 Face Masks to Los Angeles

By Karen Robes Meeks

International shipping and logistics firm The CMA CGM Group announced Thursday that it had donated 200,000 face masks to the city of Los Angeles to help area workers stay safe against COVID-19.

“The CMA CGM Group has nourished a close and sustainable relationship, based on trust and respect, with the United States for many years,” said Rodolphe SaadĂ©, chairman and CEO of the CMA CGM Group. “As a leading company, our partnership reaches far beyond our business activity. In this very difficult period, it means a lot to us that we stand alongside the United States to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic.”

This is the latest in an effort by the group to lend its help during the pandemic, including fast-tracking medical production lines from Asia to North America, test-kit and ventilator air and ground transport throughout the US and sending 20 million masks and medical supplies to France in four days.

“CMA CGM is playing a key role in keeping the supply chain running during this pandemic,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka, who also serves as the city’s Chief Logistics Officer. “We are very proud to have CMA CGM as a friend and partner, and look forward to many years of close collaboration on all levels for the benefit of trade and humanity.”

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

USCG Cutter Offloads $37 Million Worth of Confiscated Drugs

By Karen Robes Meeks

This week, US Coast Guard Cutter Active crewmembers unloaded more than 2,000 pounds of cocaine worth approximately $37 million. The drug was confiscated in early May during the Eastern Pacific Ocean patrol.

On April 1, US Southern Command began enhanced counter-narcotics operations in the Western Hemisphere to disrupt the flow of drugs in support of Presidential National Security Objectives. Numerous US agencies from the Departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security cooperated in the effort to combat transnational organized crime. The Coast Guard, Navy, Customs and Border Protection, FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, along with allied and international partner agencies, play a role in counter-drug operations.

The seizure is part of a larger effort in the battle against drug cartels in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, where the Alameda-based 11th Coast Guard District has enforcement jurisdiction.

"This patrol, and this interdiction in particular, highlights the resilience and professionalism of Active's crew," said Cmdr. James O'Mara, commanding officer of Active, which is homeported in Port Angeles, Wash. "We cancelled a port visit, stretched logistics and diverted 500 miles to get on target and do our job. No captain could ask or expect more from a crew, especially given all the adversity overcome during this patrol. Though I know if more were required, this crew would rally and answer the call, the way they always do."

Port of Hueneme Expects Cargo Decrease Due to COVID-19

By Karen Robes Meeks

Earlier this month, the Port of Hueneme said that automakers – the port’s biggest revenue generators – expect an estimated 90 percent drop in cargo over the next two months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in a projected $2.68 million loss.

Auto manufacturers in Germany, United Kingdom, Sweden, South Korea, and Japan closed for much of April, and many automakers, including those in the US, have either stopped production or shifted to producing ventilators to meet hospital demand, the port said.

“As it takes several weeks for vessels to travel from Europe and Asia to Hueneme, we will begin seeing a dramatic reduction in autos the second week of May forward,” said Oxnard Harbor District President Jess Ramirez.

Ramirez added that the port usually has three to four auto carriers call the port any given week, but nearly 90 percent of the sailings in May have been cancelled.

Supply and demand is part of this equation, said CEO and Port Director Kristin Decas.

“The past month we have been helping our customers store additional automobiles that were not being sent to dealerships as a result of the stay-at-home orders in several states,” she said. “Now, as the dealerships re-open and consumer demand comes back up gradually, we are still going to see a reduced level of shipments to the port from that segment until the manufacturing plants can resume production and re-establish their supply chains.”

The port said it has been able to dip into its reserves to pay for immediate expenses.

Man Sentenced to Prison in Major Drug Seizure

By Karen Robes Meeks

A man involved in a historic Coast Guard drug seizure off Oregon waters was sentenced to prison Thursday, the agency reported.

John Philip Stirling, a 66-year-old Canadian citizen, received a 40 month-sentence in federal prison and five years of supervised release “for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine under the Maritime Drug Law Enforcement Act.”

This result stemmed from a routine patrol on April 9, 2019, when the Coast Guard Cutter Alert spotted a sailing vessel and tried to communicate with Stirling, who only responded by VHF radio.

Coast Guard crewmembers decided to board the vessel and discovered that Stirling needed medical assistance for a possible drug overdose. Investigators later searched his vessel to find 28 jugs containing more than seven gallons of liquid methamphetamine each and a duffel bag fill with several plastic-wrapped bricks of pentobarbital that were bound for Canada, according to the agency.

“The volume and value makes this the largest known maritime seizure by the Coast Guard off the Oregon coast, and we applaud the men and women of the Coast Guard Cutter Alert for their diligence in making the apprehension,” said Lt. Cmdr. Scott McGrew of the Coast Guard 13th District in Seattle, Wash.

Port of Camas-Washougal Releases Annual Report

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Camas-Washougal recently released its 2020 Annual Report, which highlights its major projects such as the Children’s Natural Play Area, the waterfront development at the newly named Parker’s Landing and the steady growth at the Steigerwald Commerce Center.

“When looking back at 2019, and what’s been accomplished so far, I feel a sense of pride,” said Port Chief Executive Officer David Ripp. “We have miles to go but the journey is exciting in its potential to attract recreation and commerce to Camas and Washougal, and continues to inspire us all.”

Visit for a closer look at the report.