Friday, October 2, 2020

The Home Stretch

Welcome to the 4th quarter of 2020. Ok, let’s face it. Everyone is looking forward to putting 2020 in our wake. I always lament the fact that time seems to move faster every year, but in this case, time can’t move fast enough to get this year behind us.

2020 has been an incredibly challenging year for all of us in the maritime industry. Ports saw volumes slashed (then recover); international cruise lines are still effectively shut down; mariners are still stranded on ships with tours extended beyond a year; the only bright spot seems to be that boat sales are up, which hopefully gets more kids interested in working on the water when they grow up! There could not be much more of a perfect storm – I would prefer the hurricane variety any day (I spent a terrifying 2 days at sea going through Hurricane Hugo back in 1989, but at least I knew there was an end in sight).

Now I am the eternal optimist, and I have enduring faith in the capacity of the human spirit to persevere in the face of adversity. Human ingenuity will solve all of the COVID 19 issues. The timeline for those solutions will likely come more slowly than any of us would like, but they will come. The pace at which we are seeing vaccine developments, rapid testing methods and therapeutic treatments is truly impressive given historic norms. We need more government action to help our industry get back to pre-COVID operational levels, and your voices need to be heard by your elected officials with ideas of how government action (or lack thereof) can impact your segment of the maritime industry.

2020 has given us some positives – more time with family, reconnecting with friends, mastering the video call and time to work on projects at work that we never seem to be able to get to. Like I said, I’m an optimist. 2020 gave me the opportunity to communicate with you, our readers of PMM On Line and Fishermen’s News On Line. For that I am very grateful. But my dear 2020, when that clock strikes midnight on December 31st, don’t let the door hit you in the rear on the way out!


L.A., Long Beach Port Officials to Give CAAP Update

Los Angeles and Long Beach port leaders will give stakeholders a status report on meeting goals outlined in the San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan on Oct. 14 via video conference.

Items on the agenda include a review of the San Pedro Bay Ports Annual Emissions Inventory and updates on the progress of current technology demonstrations and the Clean Truck Program.

The meeting is expected to take place from 10 a.m. to noon on Oct. 14 via Zoom. Participants must register in advance by visiting Questions can sent in advance to

First approved in 2006, the CAAP is a blueprint for tackling pollution caused by port operations in the San Pedro Bay. Since implementing efforts, the twin ports have seen diesel particulate matter fall 87 percent, nitrogen oxides by 58 percent, sulfur oxides by 97 percent and greenhouse gases by 13 percent, according to the ports. In 2017, the ports updated CAAP to further efforts toward zero-emission operations.

Visit for more.

UN Chief Urges “Key Worker” Designation
for Mariners

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres recently urged governments to give seafarers and other marine personnel the formal designation of “key workers.”

In a Sept. 24 message honoring World Maritime Day, Guterres said the designation would ensure “safe crew changes and implementing the protocols developed by UN agencies, as well as the International Chamber of Shipping and the International Transport Workers’ Federation, allowing stranded seafarers to be repatriated and others to join ships.”

He also praised the two million active seafarers for their sacrifice and professionalism amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Despite the unprecedented conditions brought about by the pandemic, seafarers have continued to tirelessly support the often invisible global logistics chain,” Guterres said. “Physically and mentally exhausted, away from their families and loved ones, their time at sea has now been extended far beyond the standards stipulated in international conventions, with some tours of duty now stretching more than 17 months.”

He added that tired seafarers “cannot operate indefinitely, and disruptions to international shipping would have devastating consequences.”

Port Of San Diego Fetes Completion of Terminal Modernization Project

This week, San Diego port officials celebrated the completion of its Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal modernization project.

The roughly $24 million project involved the removal of a pair of old warehouses and paved the way for laydown space for project cargo like windmill components, as well as on-dock rail and utility upgrades, new lighting and pavement, according to the port. A stormwater treatment system was created to capture as much stormwater as possible on the marine terminal.

“The completion of the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal Modernization project is foundational to providing modern, open and flexible space for cargo operations,” said Port Vice Chair Michael Zucchet, Board of Port Commissioners. “As the fourth largest port in the state, this project not only improves our cargo handling capacity and creates more jobs, it also bolsters our designation as a Strategic Port in support of our national security efforts.”

The project was the first part of a bigger Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal Redevelopment Plan for three specific cargo hubs at the terminal, including:
● project, roll-on/roll-off, and break-bulk cargo;
● refrigerated containers and
● dry bulk cargo

“Our region is an economic powerhouse for trade and forward-thinking projects like the modernization of the Tenth Avenue Martine Terminal will keep San Diego competitive locally, nationally and globally," said Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer. "Not only will this project be a boost for our local economy, but it also helps toward our goal of creating a cleaner, greener city."

Port of Longview Has New CEO

After serving as interim CEO since February, Dan Stahl is now the Port of Longview’s new Chief Executive Officer, the port announced over the summer.

Stahl, who earned his master’s degree in Ocean Systems Management from MIT, and an undergraduate degree in Marine Transportation from the Maine Maritime Academy, started at the port as Chief Operating Officer in 2017, overseeing contract talks and multiple departments, such as Environmental, Business Development, Engineering and Marine Terminal Operations.

“While serving as Interim CEO the last several months, it became clear that Dan was the right choice to lead the Port of Longview into the future,” said Commission President Allan Erickson. “Dan is well-respected by Port staff and promises to be an even bigger presence in the community. We are thrilled to have Dan lead the Port into its next 100 years as our official CEO.”

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

New Bridge to Open in Long Beach

After seven years of construction, a new cable-stayed bridge in Long Beach – the first of its kind in California – is expected to open to public traffic on Oct. 5.

The new not-yet-named span replacing the aging Gerald Desmond Bridge is taller and wider to accommodate bigger vessels passing through, and is a major link for goods movement, carrying 15 percent of the nation’s imports. It also features six lanes, two 50-story-tall towers and 80 cables, a pedestrian-bike path and color-changing LED lights.

“The new bridge is an engineering marvel and a point of pride for the tens of thousands of workers whose livelihoods are connected to the Port of Long Beach,” said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero. “We are both grateful for the years of hard work by the bridge contractor and workers and for the collaboration with Caltrans to deliver our new bridge. We’re very excited by what this bridge to everywhere means to our Port and the national economy.”

The $1.47 billion bridge project was led by the port and Caltrans, with additional funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

To prepare for the new bridge opening, motorists should expect traffic closures in the area from Oct. 2-4 “in order to switch over lanes to connect both ends of the nearly 2-mile-long structure to existing roadways that reach the 710 Freeway, downtown Long Beach and Terminal Island,” according to the port.

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COVID-19 Affects Merchant Mariner Credential App Processing

With COVID-19-related remote work and limited staff affecting processing times for Merchant Mariner Credential Applications, the National Maritime Center is asking mariners to include the necessary information needed to speed up the process.

When mariners submit their application, they should:
  • Turn them in electronically in a .pdf format;

  • Pay all fees with and include a scanned receipt copy when the application is submitted;

  • Make sure to include all necessary documentation (course completion certificates, drug tests, sea service forms, etc.); and

  • Submit applications as soon as mariners meet the requirements. At any time, MMCs can be renewed and post-dated up to eight months.
“Every effort is being made to maintain our 30-day net processing goal, with a corresponding high level of customer service you’ve come to expect,” Kirsten R. MartinCaptain, U.S. Coast Guard Commanding Officer, said in a release. “The above items will greatly help streamline application processing.”

The center will handle applications on a ‘first in, first out’ basis. It will also consider hasten cases “when an employer verifies it is critical to operations or an applicant’s employment.” Reach out to the Customer Service Center at 1-888-IASKNMC (427-5662) for an expedited service.

AltaSea Webinars to Feature Top Female
Marine Experts

Three women known for their expertise in ocean exploration and conservation will be featured in an upcoming webinar hosted by AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles.

The Oct. 9 event will feature Dr. Carlie Wiener, the director of Communications and Engagement Strategy at the Schmidt Ocean Institute; Dr. Dawn Wright, Chief Scientist of the Environmental Systems Research Institute, and Ocean Exploration Trust Chief Operating Officer Allison Fundis.

“These remarkable women have broken the glass ceiling at the bottom of the ocean, exploring what has been traditionally a man’s domain,” said Jenny Krusoe, founding executive director of AltaSea. “Collectively, they have covered significant ground in the exploration of the vast ocean, and their careers light the path forward for the next wave.”

The event is set for noon PDT on Oct. 9. Since space is limited, guests will need to pre-register at

The Oct. 9 event is part of a series of webinars hosted this year by AltaSea after launching Project Blue, a digital platform seeking to educate and inspire future generations with science-based programming via webinars and live chats.

NOAA to Upgrade its Global Ensemble
Forecast System

Improvements to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecast system will help meteorologists at the National Weather Service better predict weather, the agency announced Sept 23.

The Global Ensemble Forecast System now has the Finite-Volume Cubed-Sphere (FV3) dynamical core, allowing the National Weather Service to offer “first-ever numerical weather predictions three and four weeks in advance, providing more lead time for decision making than ever before,” according to NOAA.

“This significant upgrade to GEFS - the first of its kind in five years - will improve probabilistic weather model guidance for public safety, quality of life and business decisions that drive U.S. economic growth,” said Neil Jacobs Ph.D., acting NOAA administrator.

Other updates include bolstering GEFS resolution from approximately 33km to 25km and the amount of individual forecasts input into the ensemble from 21 to 31, according to the agency.

“If our upgrade to the Global Forecast System last year was like upgrading the engine in a car, this upgrade to GEFS is like replacing the engines in a fleet of cars,” said Ivanka Stajner, Ph.D., acting director of NOAA’s Environmental Modeling Center. “Each car takes advantage of the power of this new engine, and with slightly different features, they represent the forecast uncertainties more accurately, aiding the forecasters and decision makers with information on a range of possibilities to be considered when issuing the forecasts.”