Friday, September 18, 2020

Charleston Ice Plant Reopens

More than seven months after a devastating fire, the Charleston Ice Plant in Coos Bay has reopened for business on a limited basis before the facility is fully operational in the coming weeks. The ice plant, which had been vital resource to commercial fishermen along the West Coast, had been closed since December 2019 when a fire ravaged the facility.

In rebuilding the plant, the Port of Coos Bay saw that having available flake ice in the Charleston Marina was crucial to keeping the region’s commercial fishing industry viable. Bolstering ice making and storage capacity at the new facility would help meet fishermen’s needs during the high seasons.

“Service will be limited initially to commercial fishing vessels as crews are awaiting the arrival of additional components for the service delivery system to accommodate smaller vessels,” the port said. “There will be no on dock truck service until the dock structure is fully completed.”

With the new plant, storage capacity will go from 115 to 158 tons, and production from 2 to 5 tons per hour, which will improve service delivery times during the high season, the port said.

Rebuilding the facility was critical to the Port of Coos Bay, Oregon’s third biggest fishing hub. The Charleston Ice Plant is among the few public ice docks in the state to provide enough ice necessary for commercial fishermen to preserve their catch.

Wildfires Prompt State to Delay Bridge Replacement Project

To keep the highway system open for wildfire evacuees, the Oregon Department of Transportation is delaying the I-5 Interstate Bridge Trunnion Replacement Project and is asking the U.S. Coast Guard to move the timeline by two weeks to finish repairs.

The state wants to make repairs from 12 a.m. Sept 22 to 11:59 p.m. Oct. 6. The state will immediately alert the Coast Guard and the maritime community if the state finishes repairs sooner than expected.

Meanwhile, mariners can pass under the bridge by using the high span between Pier 5 and Pier 6 (three white lights over one green light) with a clearance of 72 feet to the zero water level mark, according to the agency.

While trunnions and other bridge parts are being replaced, the northbound bridge’s life span can’t be raised. Recreational vessels can’t transit while a safety zone is in place near the construction area. Sailboat operators must be mindful of their vertical clearance when moving under the high span.

Visit for more updates.

COVID-19 Affects TWIC Operations

While the U.S. Coast Guard and the Transportation Security Administration expect mariners to comply with 33 and 46 Code of Federal Regulations, the agencies recently announced that they will “exercise flexibility” if COVID-19 makes compliance with the Transportation Worker Identification Credential unreasonably difficult to meet.

This flexibility helps to “prevent undue delays” and keep the Marine Transportation System and the flow of commerce moving amid the pandemic.

For Maritime Facilities and Vessels:

On TWIC Readers: Vessels certified to carry more than 1,000 passengers and the maritime facilities that receive those vessels must comply with the TWIC Reader Rule enacted June 7, but the Coast Guard won’t enforce the rule until Dec. 31. Facilities and vessels don’t have to update facility security plans/vessel security plans or put in readers until Dec. 31.

On the TWIC exemption: TWICs that expired between March 1, 2020, and July 31, 2020, have an exemption extension that is valid 180 days from the card’s expiration date. Email for more.

On escort ratios: Escort ratios for secure and restricted areas of a facility may change to meet employee shortages or other demands due to COVID-19, constituting an adjustment to the facility security plan or approval from the Captain of the Port.

On new hires: – Generally, a new hire with proper identification can access secure or restricted areas as long as another person with a TWIC can monitor the new hire. During the pandemic, the side-by-side escorting for restricted areas mandated in 33 CFR 101.105 won’t be enforced. More new hire compliance options are available in 33 CFR 104.267 and 105.257.

On the Alternative Security Program: Those unable to comply may seek temporary relief via noncompliance or an amendment to cover the entire ASP can be submitted to CG-FAC.

Operators need to consider the safety risks of noncompliance. “This request to continue operations should include new measures or safeguards the facility or vessel plans to employ to mitigate any risk from the non-compliance with 33 CFR part 104 or 105,” according to the agency.

For Merchant Mariner Credentials:

The NSA and Coast Guard understand that the pandemic, the closure of enrollment centers and potential processing delays may affect those seeking a merchant mariner credential. During the pandemic, the Coast Guard will not suspend or revoke a merchant mariner credential for those having an expired TWIC. The Coast Guard will notify the industry before it resumes enforcement of this requirement. However, this doesn’t apply to mariners whose TWICs have been suspended or revoked because they posed a security threat.

Mariners applying for an original credential need to show that they have enrolled for a TWIC. They can pre-enroll and set up an appointment at or by calling 855-DHS-UES1 (855-347-8371). TWIC enrollments must be completed in-person at an enrollment center. While this is enough to start the MMC process, applicants for an original credential won’t be able to get a MMC until their biographic and biometric data is given to the Coast Guard by TSA.

For Mariners who already have a MMC, no action is needed if their TWIC expires and their credential remains valid. Mariners seeking a renewal, raise of grade, new endorsement or duplicate merchant mariner credential may apply without a valid TWIC if they can show that they have enrolled for a TWIC renewal.

Nearly all TSA Enrollment Centers are open processing new and renewing TWIC enrollments without delays. Visit to see if a nearby center is open.

Port of Los Angeles Reports 12 Percent Increase in Cargo Volumes

The Port of Los Angeles moved nearly a million TEUs in August, a 12 percent jump from the same time in 2019, according to new numbers released Tuesday.

Imports drove much of 961,833 TEUs handled at the nation’s busiest seaport last month, surpassing the half-million TEU mark for the first time with 516,286 TEUs. That’s 18 percent more imports moved at the L.A. port than August 2019.

“In May we saw our lowest container volumes in more than a decade,” said Port Executive Director Gene Seroka. “Since then, there has been a significant replenishment of warehouse inventories. Coupled with retailers planning for consumer holiday spending, it has created a surge of imports.”

Meanwhile, exports for August fell 10.2 percent to 131,429 TEUs. Empty containers rose 13.3 percent to 314,118 TEUs. Eight months into 2020, cargo is down 11.7 percent compared to the same time period in 2019.

The port saw one canceled sailing last month and none scheduled for this month.

In August, Los Angeles had 89 vessel calls, including eight megaships.

Among them was APL Merlion, which moved close to 29,600 TEUs during its visit last month, marking “the second highest all-time record for TEUs handled in a single ship visit,” according to the port.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Regional Examination Center Seattle Reopens

The National Maritime Center’s Regional Examination Center Seattle is the latest to reopen to offer exam services on a limited basis.

REC Seattle, which opens Sept. 14, joins RECs Boston, Honolulu, Houston, Juneau, Long Beach, Memphis, Miami, and Toledo, and Monitoring Units Ketchikan and San Juan now open to mariners who need to obtain or recertify their credentials.

To make an appointment, contact the following:

REC Boston –
REC Honolulu –
REC Houston –
REC Juneau –
REC Long Beach –
REC Memphis –
REC Miami – or (305) 536-4331
REC Seattle –
REC Toledo –
MU Ketchikan – (907) 225-4496 (extension #3)
MU San Juan – (787) 729-2368

Emails seeking an appointment should have the person’s name, mariner reference number, requested testing date(s), phone number, and a copy of their Approved to Test letter(s), according to the USCG.

Exams are only by appointment. Walk-ins will not be allowed and customer service will be conducted remotely. Test-takers will be checked for COVID-19 and those with symptoms will not be allowed to enter the center and will have to reschedule their exams. Mariners must wear masks and those who refuse or remove theirs will be asked to leave and could receive a fail.

Exams fees must be paid before coming to a center for an exam and a payment proof will be needed before taking a test. Mariners should come with pencils, photo identification, a non-programmable calculator, and plotting instruments. Other personal items won’t be allowed in the center.

The Customer Service Center is available from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. EST weekdays.

Contact 1-888-IASKNMC (427-5662) and for more information.

Matson Christens Matsonia Over the Summer

Over the summer, Honolulu-based carrier Matson, Inc. christened Matsonia, one of a pair of Kanaloa Class vessels, at General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard in San Diego.

The 870-foot-long, 114-foot-wide vessel is a combination container/roll-on, roll-off ship and among the biggest constructed in the country, according to the company. With a top speed of 23 knots, the 50,000-metric-ton ship will also be one of the fastest in Matson’s fleet.

It will be able to accommodate 500 vehicles and have enough room for rolling stock and breakbulk cargo. It will also be environmentally-forward and features a “fuel-efficient hull design, environmentally safe double hull fuel tanks, fresh water ballast systems and the first Tier 3 dual fuel engines to be deployed in containerships regularly serving West Coast ports,” according to Matson.

"The construction of Matsonia represents over a year's work for about 2,000 professionals here at NASSCO…engineers, tradesmen and lots of support people and countless others who produced the materials used to build this ship that are sourced here in the U.S,” Matson Chairman and CEO Matt Cox said after the shipyard ceremony. “Over its expected lifespan, this ship will generate approximately 4.5 million man-hours of work opportunity for the U.S. mariners who will operate it and decades of steady work for all of the dockworkers and terminal personnel that move the cargo on and off our ships.”

The vessel is expected to be delivered to Matson in the fourth quarter of this year.

For more, visit

Port of Long Beach Posts Best August Cargo Volumes

Despite looming uncertainty over the economic impact of COVID-19, the Port of Long Beach kicks off peak season strong with its best ever August cargo numbers, according to statistics released Wednesday.

About 725,610 TEUs moved through the nation’s second busiest seaport last month, 9.3 percent more than it did the same time a year ago. Long Beach handled 364,792 TEUs in imports last month, a 13 percent jump, and moved 126,177 TEUs in exports, a 1 percent uptick. Empty containers also rose 8.5percent to 234,642 TEUs.

“Despite the recent surge in cargo, uncertainty remains in international trade and the national economy, given the ongoing COVID-19 impacts,” said Port Executive Director Mario Cordero. “August marked another great month for the Port, but we must remain vigilant about the global pandemic’s lasting effects.”

It’s welcome news for Long Beach, which like other ports, saw canceled sailings earlier this year due to the pandemic and lower demand for goods.

In August, port officials saw numbers rise as demand for home improvement items and home exercise equipment and other goods grew at the beginning of peak shipping season, which generally takes place from August to October in preparation for the holiday season.

Visit for more.

Coast Guard Halts Illegal Charters

Over Labor Day weekend, Puget Sound-area U.S. Coast Guard crew members stopped three illegally chartered pleasure vessels operating in Lake Washington and Lake Union.

Coast Guard Station Seattle, Coast Guard Cutters Sea Lion and Bailey T. Barco, and Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound, were out in force, patrolling the lakes and San Juan Islands. They were there to conduct safety inspections, enforce boating-under-the-influence rules and check for illegal charter operations.

One of the vessels approached that week possessed a series of violations, including “not having a credentialed mariner in control while operating a small passenger vessel” and failing to have a “Certificate of Documentation while in Coastwise trade” for a vessel larger than 5 gross tons, according to the agency.

Violators could face up to $59,000 for illegal passenger-for-hire operations and charters that violate a captain of the port order could pay over $94,000 in fines.

“Illegal charters pose a danger to everyone aboard the vessel. Terminating these dangerous operations and educating the boating public is a top priority for the Coast Guard,” said Master Chief Petty Officer Kevinn Smith. “If you suspect an illegal charter, reach out to the Coast Guard on channel 16.”