Friday, September 4, 2020

Underway Again

By Dave Abrams, Managing Editor

“Make All Preparations To Get Underway” was a phrase I heard every time my first ship, the USS Kidd (DDG-993), was about to start its next mission. Everyone knew what the line meant, what their immediate job was, and the ship would spring to life with activity. That’s the phrase that was going through my mind as I concluded the deal with Philips Publishing to take over the on-line newsletters of their iconic publications, Pacific Maritime Magazine and Fishermen’s News.

I’m Dave Abrams, CEO and owner of Training Resources Maritime Institute, a maritime training school headquartered in San Diego. Although I am relatively new to the industry, having taken over the company in 2018, I quickly became a fan of Pacific Maritime and Fishermen’s News, and those publications helped me come up to speed on the industry. So when I learned that Philips Publishing was going to wind down their operations, I reached out to Chris and Peter Philips to thank them for their contributions, and see if there was an opportunity to revive the publications. That was 5 weeks ago.

My core business mission is training and education. Education is the sharing of past knowledge and experiences. News is the sharing of current knowledge and experiences. (Just making a point, not intended to offend any educators who I am sure share current knowledge as well!). So to expand into the news business was really just an extension of the current mission.

I am fortunate to be able to keep the same team that had been putting together both the PMM On Line and FN On Line newsletters, and even more fortunate to have Peter Philips as my advisor and educator. I feel privileged and honored to be able to carry on part of the legacy that the Philips family built over decades and will do my best to execute our new mission and make them proud.

So we are underway. I’ve not driven this ship before so please bear with me as I figure out how she handles. But thank you shipmates, for joining me on this voyage, and please feel free to reach out to me with your thoughts and ideas of how we can make Pacific Maritime OnLine and Fishermen’s News OnLine better for you. Be safe out there.

You can reach Dave Abrams at

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Drive-up COVID-19 Testing Now Open to L.B. Waterfront Workers

Truck drivers, longshoremen and those working at the Port of Long Beach now have convenient access to free drive-up COVID-19 testing within the Harbor District.

Testing is now available from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 4 to 7 p.m. weekdays at a vacant lot at 2100 W. Anaheim St. Thanks to funding from the port, Long Beach’s Department of Health and Human Services is able to provide as many as 200 free COVID-19 tests a day. This site is in addition to five other testing locations throughout Long Beach, as well as mobile tests for those who can not leave their homes.

The port is focused on the health and well-being of its entire workforce, said Port Executive Director Mario Cordero.

“These are the men and women who keep cargo moving and ensure the safe delivery of goods and healthcare supplies to the rest of the country,” Cordero said. “We hope this free COVID-19 testing site will provide another layer of assurance for our labor and industry partners.”

Port workers can register on-site. The general public may also have access to this site but must make an appointment at or at 562-570-INFO.

Fishermen Required to Alert USCG Before Crossing Bar Restriction

Before approaching a bar restriction, commercial fishermen must alert U.S. Coast Guard watch standers of their arrival or face a stiff penalty.

Fishermen will need to reach the Coast Guard via VHF-FM channel 16 or 22A and give them the name of their vessel, their location, where they are going, how many people are on board and any vessel limitations. They also must notify the agency of whether or not they safely transited after they cross. Life jackets or immersion suits must be worn while crossing a restricted bar.

Lt. Carl Eschler, investigations division of Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Portland, stressed the importance of alerting the agency, adding that five commercial fishing vessels have capsized while crossing a restricted bar along the Oregon Coast since 2016, resulting in ten mariner deaths.

"Had the Coast Guard been aware that these vessels were crossing the bar when these hazardous conditions were present, Coast Guard assets could have been on scene and ready to assist as needed to ensure a safe crossing of the bar,” Eschler said in a statement. “Contacting the Coast Guard prior to crossing a restricted bar between sunset and sunrise is more than just a good idea for commercial fishermen, it is a requirement."

Those who don’t comply could face a maximum civil penalty of $25,000, according to the agency.

Visit for more on restricted bars.

Regional Examination Centers Reopen in Hawaii, Alaska and Long Beach

Mariners needing to get or update their credentials will now be able to book an appointment with the National Maritime Center’s newly reopened Regional Examination Centers in Honolulu and Juneau, and Monitoring Unit Ketchikan. The REC in Long Beach, California will be opening on Tuesday, September 8.

However, mariners will have to remotely book exams by appointment since walk-in appointments and in-person delivery of applications won’t be accepted, according to a letter from U.S. Coast Guard Commanding Officer Captain Kirsten R. Martin.

When mariners come for their appointment, they will be tested for COVID-19 and those with symptoms won’t be allowed in the center or monitoring unit. They must wear a face covering during the appointment and examination, or they will be asked to leave and be subject to a failing grade. When the appointment is being made, the center or monitoring unit must be told if a documented health issue exists that stops the test-taker from wearing a face covering.

Test-takers should come with No. 2 pencils, a non-programmable calculator and plotting equipment. Personal belongings will be prohibited in the testing facility.

The Customer Service Center will operate from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. EST Monday to Friday and can be reached at 1-888-IASKNMC (427-5662) and

Mariners can reach out to REC Honolulu at, REC Juneau at 907-463-2458 and MU Ketchikan at 907-225-4496, Ext. 3. REC Long Beach can be reached at

Port of Bellingham to Expand Emergency Ferry Service

To help Whatcom County residents affected by the recent Canadian border closure, the Port of Bellingham announced Wednesday that it will offer more of its temporary, emergency passenger-only ferry service for free twice a week to and from Point Roberts marina and the Bellingham Cruise Terminal starting Sept. 8.

The move allows the port to offer access to residents who have not been able to get at essential goods and services after the coronavirus pandemic led the Canadian government to close its borders.

While not physically attached to the U.S., Point Roberts is part of Whatcom County and can only be reached via car through Canada, or directly via plane or boat. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic last March, however, U.S./Canada border restrictions have been in place and are expected to continue until at least Sept. 21.

Port officials have been working on a border exemption for U.S. residents in Point Roberts by teaming with the county’s Federal Delegation and a cross-border task force. This two-hour ferry service between Point Roberts and Bellingham was a way to quickly address the issue.

San Juan Cruises’ 100-foot vessel Salish Express will provide ferry rides for residents who need to shop for goods, make doctor visits and run essential errands. Rides will take place on Tuesdays and Fridays. Reservations will be required and offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservations can be made for rides through the end of the month. From the ferry, residents can connect via WTA near the Bellingham Cruise Terminal at Fairhaven Station. Face masks will be required on the ferry and any transit connection.

Visit for more.