Friday, October 9, 2020

USCG Cutter Munro Returns from Patrol

After two months and 12,500 miles, U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Douglas Munro crew members recently came back from patrolling in support of Operation North Pacific Guard, an effort to enforce U.S. fisheries international law and stop illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing.

The Cutter Munro crew boarded 11 fishing vessels for inspection and discovered 14 possible violations, including serious instances on three Chinese-flagged squid fishing vessels. “Following these boardings, nearly the entire fleet of 31 vessels stopped fishing and fled hundreds of nautical miles west across the Pacific Ocean, avoiding further inspection,” according to the agency.

“The violations detected and information gathered during this year’s operation highlight the need for robust maritime enforcement presence on the high seas,” said Capt. Jason Brennell, chief of enforcement for the Coast Guard’s Seventeenth District.

For 25 years, countries in the North Pacific Rim such as Japan, China, Russia, South Korea, Canada, and the U.S. have teamed up for Operation North Pacific Guard to maintain international maritime governance and uphold conservation and management rules adopted by Regional Fisheries Management Organizations, the USCG said.

“The westward evasive movement of the fishing fleet indicates and potentially validates suspected illicit activity, and further demonstrates the need for more than a single vessel deployed to compel compliance at sea," Brennell said. "Increased commitment from all partner countries to provide at-sea enforcement capability, particularly those nations whose vessels are engaged in fishing, is absolutely critical to both the health of world fish stocks and the future success of Operation North Pacific Guard.”

Port of Los Angeles Reports Lower Emissions

Since 2005, the Port of Los Angeles has met or surpassed its pollution-reduction goals, including decreases in nitrogen oxides, which are down 62 percent, sulfur oxides, which are down 98 percent, and diesel particulate matter, which are down 87 percent, according to the port’s 2019 Inventory of Air Emissions report released earlier this month.

“Every year, it takes all our pollution reduction strategies, ongoing and new, to maintain and improve the dramatic progress we’ve made in cutting pollution,” said Port Executive Director Gene Seroka. “We’re working closely with our industry partners, manufacturers and public agencies to test emerging technologies that will make the next big leap forward.”

Since 2005, the Los Angeles seaport has seen greenhouse gases fall 32 percent for every 10,000 TEUs, according to the port.

“Reducing GHGs to help avoid the worst effects of climate change is critical, and it is going to take worldwide collaboration to do this,” said Port Director of Environmental Management Christopher Cannon. “We are grateful to our private and public sector partners who continue to step up by investing in zero emission technology.”

Getting rid of pollution from trucks and cargo-handling equipment is key to curbing GHG emissions from port operations by 40 percent from 1990 levels by 2030 and by 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050. The port is pursuing or involved in 16 regional projects with various partners to test near-zero and zero emissions engines and fueling or charging infrastructure.

For a copy of the inventory report, go to

Strategic Initiatives, Upgrade Investments Key to Oakland’s Post-Pandemic Recovery and Future

The Port of Oakland’s key to recovering business post-COVID-19 and in the future will include developing strategic initiatives and investing in operational improvements, Maritime Director Bryan Brandes said at a recent Pacific Transportation Association meeting via Zoom in September.

Brandes said the port anticipates a dip in overall cargo volume this year because of the pandemic, but expects cargo numbers to improve in the future. He also expressed optimism about the port’s maritime business.

Meanwhile, the port is looking into an “only-port-of-call” express service and is focusing on rail within the western states - short-haul and into the U.S. interior opportunities - to move more cargo coming through the port.

“We are determining our strategic initiatives right now,” said Brandes. “We’re continuing to spend and invest a fair amount into port facilities to ensure that we're set up for the future."

That includes the redevelopment of the former Oakland Army Base, occupied in part by the Seaport Logistics Complex. The first project soon to be finished within the complex is CenterPoint Landing, a 466,000-square-foot warehouse.

Currently in the works in Oakland are 15 transportation-related infrastructure and software projects that make up the Freight Intelligence Transportation System.

“It’s a combined effort with the Alameda County Transportation Commission, the port and the City,” said Brandes. “The new system will improve security, safety and the customer experience for those who are involved with the port.”

Downtown San Francisco Ferry Terminal Expansion Project Completed

In August, Bay Area transportation, port and civic officials celebrated the completion of a long-awaited waterfront project: the Downtown San Francisco Ferry Terminal Expansion Project.

The $98 million project, which began in 2016, “triples WETA’s (Water Emergency Transportation Authority) San Francisco Bay Ferry capacity in the city core, creates resilient infrastructure for emergency response activities and provides the public with a grand new open space on the San Francisco waterfront,” according to the Port of San Francisco.

“The completion of this project is a magnificent capstone on a decade of serious and smart investment in WETA’s ferry system,” said Nina Rannells, WETA’s executive director. “In the last decade, we’ve built seven new ferries, opened five new or expanded terminals including this one, built two major operations and maintenance yards and charted the future of ferries in the Bay Area. With this project complete, we are ready to tackle that future and grow ferry service even more.

The project included a pair of new ferry gates (Gate F that opened in December 2018 and Gate G that opened February 2019), the refurbished Gate E that opened in February 2020 and the newly finished work on the public plaza at the ferry terminal.

“The new ferry plaza and ferry terminal expansion are great new additions to our waterfront that improve water transportation while also improving our City’s emergency response efforts,” said Port Executive Director Elaine Forbes. “A testament to strong collaboration and partnership between port and WETA staff, the new facilities are forward thinking and designed to withstand projected sea level rise and ensure that we can all enjoy these facilities for decades to come.”

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

MMC Endorsements, Medical Certificates, Course Approvals Extended Due to COVID-19

In light of delays caused by COVID-19, the U.S. Coast Guard has extended expired Merchant Mariner Credential endorsements, medical certificates and course approvals, but strongly encourages mariners to meet requirements and submit applications as soon as possible to avoid any credential or training approval lapses.

Merchant Mariner Credentials (National Endorsements and STCW only) expiring from March 1, 2020 to Dec. 31, 2020, are extended either to June 30, 2021, or one year after the credential’s initial expiration date, whichever is earlier. Those with outdated credentials who are eligible for the extension need to have the expired credential with this notice.

Until July 1, 2021, the Coast Guard will accept shipboard experience in fire, emergency, and/or abandon ship drills to show continued competence in PSC, PSC-Ltd, FRB, BT, and/or AFF. This applies to mariners renewing MMCs expiring between March 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021, who can satisfy initial competency requirements in “survival craft and rescue boats other than fast rescue boats, PSC-limited, fast rescue boats, basic training, and advanced firefighting.” Mariners must have at least 360 days of relevant service in the last five years. Those without at least one year of relevant service within the last five years can only renew STCW endorsements by showing ongoing competence for PSC, PSC-Ltd, FRB, BT, and/or AFF. Original or ‘refresher’ training for will be needed; anything less won’t be accepted.

National and STCW medical certificates expiring between March 1, 2020, and Sept. 30, 2020, have been extended to Dec. 31, 2020. Working mariners with expired medical certificates must have a copy of this notice. However, this measure does not apply to the actual medical standards; mariners without qualifying medical conditions should not sail.

Until Dec. 31, 2020, the USCG won’t enforce the rule requiring pilots to undergo an annual physical examination while holding a credential. However, this doesn’t apply to the actual medical standards; those without qualifying medical conditions should not sail.

Approval to Test Letters and Course Completion Certificates expiring between March 1, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2020, are extended until Oct. 1, 2021. Visit for more on Additional Information, Qualified Assessor, Designated Examiner letters.

Course and program approvals expiring between Jan. 1, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2020, have been extended for six months from their expiration date. The National Maritime Center won’t send out new course approval letters or certificates and will update its records to show that course completion certificates issued during the extension are accepted.

The NMC is working with trainers on alternate training delivery methods, including distance or hybrid learning, and will consider and approve alternate methods on a case-by-case basis. Email requests to with “a list of courses, a complete description of the alternative requested, the tools involved, and the business process to be employed.”

For more, go to the NMC website, or reach out to NMC Customer Service Center via NMC online chat system, email, or call 1-888-IASKNMC (427-5662). ttu

Input Sought for BNSF Bridge Project

U.S. Coast Guard officials are asking the public to weigh in on a bridge replacement project near Everett proposed by Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Co.

BNSF wants to replace an aging 360-foot long north fender made up of 200 creosote treated piles and timbers over the Snohomish River at waterway mile 3.5 with 42, 24-inch diameter steel pipe piles with a composite panel system, according to the agency.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said the project qualifies as a Categorical Exclusion under the National Environmental Policy Act, and the project does not pose any significant environmental impact.

The public may send feedback by Oct. 30 to the Coast Guard Bridge Administrator at 206-220-7282, via email at, or by letter to Commander (dpw), Thirteenth Coast Guard District , 910 2nd Avenue, Suite 3510, Seattle, WA.

For more, visit

Amergent Techs Scores San Diego Port
Security Contract

The San Diego Unified Port District recently awarded Amergent Techs Inc. a two-year, $101,500 contract to review, assess and update its Homeland Security Strategic Plan.

“We are proud to have earned the confidence of the port to provide a strategic risk assessment and determine mitigation strategies for the entire port complex,” said Jessica Whipple, Amergent Techs Vice President of Operations.

Amergent Techs will help the port develop a comprehensive strategy that encompasses a multitude of threats that will require technical expertise, such as the use of improvised explosive devices, Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosive devices, cyber threats, and Unmanned Air Systems. AT will also work with the Port of San Diego Harbor Police and the harbor district’s five cities in the region.

“With their intimate knowledge of the San Diego maritime community and their experience in maritime security, the Port of San Diego is pleased to bring Amergent Techs on board,” said Chief Mark Stainbrook of the port’s Harbor Police, the port’s the leading resource for Preventative Radiological Nuclear Detection. “Their team will work hand in hand with our port stakeholders in developing this critically needed strategic plan.”

New Study Shows Less Emissions
at Port of Long Beach

The Port of Long Beach saw diesel particulates plummet 88 percent in the last 14 years, as well as other pollutants, according to the port’s 2019 annual emissions inventory report presented to harbor leaders Thursday.

Since 2005, greenhouse gases are down by 19 percent, sulfur oxides by 97 percent and nitrogen oxides by 58 percent, the study said. These reductions come as business at the port grew.

“Together with our supply chain partners, we have made significant progress in improving air quality and reducing health risks,” said Long Beach Harbor Commission President Frank Colonna. “Although we are meeting most of our emissions goals, it is becoming clear we are at the limits of existing technology. That’s why we are investing millions to develop and deploy the cleaner equipment.”

Long Beach, along with neighboring Port of Los Angeles, have plans to go after port-related pollution more aggressively through its newest version of the San Pedro Bay Clean Air Action Plan, which was updated in 2017.

In the update, the port will push for the development and testing of zero-emissions port equipment and other efforts.

“Right now, we have $150 million in projects all across our port, all in the name of cleaner air,” said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero. “We are aggressively pursuing the CAAP goals of having a zero-emissions cargo-handling fleet by 2030 and all zero-emissions drayage trucks by 2035.”