Friday, February 5, 2021

NOAA Satellites Helped Rescue 304 People
in 2020

NOAA satellites were instrumental in saving 304 people in the U.S. last year, the organization announced recently.

NOAA has polar-orbiting and geostationary satellites that participate in the Search and Rescue Satellite Aided Tracking system, or COSPAS-SARSAT.

The system relies on a worldwide spacecraft network to find and spot distress signals coming from emergency beacons generated from aircraft, boats and Personal Locator Beacons, NOAA said.

Once a distress signal is located by a NOAA satellite, that data is passed on to the SARSAT Mission Control Center at NOAA’s Satellite Operations Facility in Suitland, Maryland, and then sent to Rescue Coordination Centers.

Last year, 217 of the 304 people saved were water rescues. Most SARSAT rescues were in Florida with 67 and in Alaska with 29, according to NOAA.

“By law, beacon owners are required to register their devices online with NOAA,” the organization said. “The registration information helps provide better and faster assistance to people in distress and reduces false alarms. It may also provide what type of help is needed.”

USCG, Russian Federation Sign Plan

U.S. Coast Guard and the Russian Federation’s Marine Rescue Service officials have inked an updated joint contingency plan to fight pollution in the Bering and Chukchi Seas.

The two agencies on Feb. 1 signed the 2020 Joint Contingency Plan of the United States of America & the Russian Federation in Combating Pollution on the Bering & Chukchi Seas, which allow them to collaborate on a response plan to instances of pollution in the water space bordering the U.S. and Russia.

In the U.S., the Coast Guard’s Seventeenth District Commander and Sector Anchorage is responsible for the operational aspects of the plan, the agency said.

“This is an important agreement between the U.S and the Russian Federation that ensures coordination between respective authorities and actively promotes the protection of our shared interests in these environmentally and culturally significant trans-boundary waters,” said Vice Adm. Scott Buschman, U.S. Coast Guard Deputy Commandant for Operations. “We look forward to continuing our necessary and productive relationship with the Marine Rescue Service and the opportunity to conduct joint training and exercises in the near future in order to ensure the protection of our nations’ critical natural resources.”

Port of Oakland Chief Delivered State of the Port

At this year’s State of the Port Address, Port of Oakland Executive Director Wan spoke of handling last year’s challenges, which have included stabilizing finances despite a $60 million deficit created by the impact of COVID-19, setting up COVID-19 testing sites at the Oakland International Airport and supporting impacted Jack London Square restaurants and port tenants with rental payment assistance.

“I am grateful to our Port employees and Port Board of Commissioners, from the moment that the Grand Princess cruise ship pulled up, through threatened power black outs, apocalyptic red skies and social reckonings; our port was guided by calm, fact-based and experienced leadership,” Wan said to a virtual audience of more than 200.

Wan also said the port’s focus for 2021 on “planning for a prosperous future” as the port faces a changing business and community environment.

“2021 has to be a year of not just recovery, but also a year analyzing the changes that our industries and our communities have faced and will face, and plan accordingly,” he said.

That includes meeting committing to a future of zero greenhouse gas emissions, easing truck congestion and working with partners to bolster good-paying jobs locally, the port said.

NWSA Has New Co-chairs

Port of Tacoma president Dick Marzano and Port of Seattle Commission president Fred Felleman are this year’s co-chairs of the board of Managing Members of the Northwest Seaport Alliance. They take over for former Port of Seattle Commission President Peter Steinbruck and former Port of Tacoma Commission President John McCarthy.

Both possess longtime maritime experience. Marzano was a Tacoma longshore worker for 52 years, including six years as president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 23, before retiring. He became a commissioner in 1995, serving as a member of Puget Sound Regional Council’s Executive Board and past president of the Washington Public Ports Association Board of Trustees.

“I appreciate the opportunity to serve as Co-Chair of The Northwest Seaport Alliance,” Marzano said. “As our nation recovers from the global pandemic, our gateway plays a critical role as an economic driver for our region. Working with my fellow commissioners, we will remain focused on growing family wage jobs by expanding services to our customers and increasing capacity through infrastructure development while supporting our local communities.”

Felleman, who was also elected in 2015, is on the Board of Maritime Blue and the Puget Sound Regional Council’s Executive Board and the founding Chair of the Port’s Energy and Sustainability Committee.

“Having been part of the Managing Members since the formation of the Alliance, I’m honored to have the opportunity to serve as Co-Chair,” said Felleman. “I’m committed to maximizing the public benefits of the Alliance by advancing innovation and collaboration to enable it to manage its impacts on the community and environment as it grows the economy. The Alliance is strategically positioned to help create sustainable jobs of the future and provide opportunities for businesses to meet their goals as they increasingly seek cost-effective ways to reduce their carbon footprint.”

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Man the Ship and Bring Her (back) to Life

By Dave Abrams, Publisher

If anyone has witnessed the commissioning of a new ship, the words “Man the ship and bring her to life” is the call for the crew to board the ship, raise the colors and bring her one step closer to going to sea. In my Navy career, I had the opportunity to bring several Ready Reserve Force ships back to life that were in “mothballs”, but without any pomp and circumstance. Just a signature in the logbook indicating the vessel met the operational requirements of the Navy.

As you may have read in the January 12/13 issues of PMM and FN On Line, we are undertaking the re-start of the print editions of both Pacific Maritime Magazine and Fishermen’s News, and hope to have the first issues out later this spring. I am honored to have the opportunity to bring these great publications back to life, and we are working diligently to re-build the team that will bring you the quality publication that you expect.

We hope to create publications that provide timely and relevant content that help keep the maritime community informed about the latest industry news regarding safety/environmental, regulations, technology, equipment, facilities, vessels, and most importantly, people. Coming from the maritime education business, I hope our publications will educate, inform and entertain. We all love a good sea story!

So while I don’t think we will be holding a “re-commissioning”, as the publisher of these magazines, I want to hear from you, our readers, about what you liked and didn’t like about Pacific Maritime Magazine and Fishermen’s News, so I can make them even better as the first issues get underway. Please email me directly at with your thoughts and ideas. Thank you for being a subscriber to our electronic newsletters, and I hope we can count on your support for our print editions too! Be safe out there!

You can reach Dave Abrams at

Formal Hearing Set in Fishing Vessel Sinking

The U.S. Coast Guard is expected to hear evidence surrounding the sinking of the 130-foot crab fishing vessel Scandies Rose.

Homeported in Dutch Harbor, Scandies Rose sank around 10 p.m. on Dec. 31, 2019, near Sutwik Island, Alaska. Two of the seven crew members aboard were rescued, but the remaining people were not found after a more than 20-hour search by Coast Guard members that encompassed 1,400 square miles.

The hearing will delve into the conditions that may have affected the vessel before and during the sinking, including “weather, icing, fisheries, the Scandies Rose’s material condition, owner and operator organizational structures and culture, the regulatory compliance record of the vessel, and testimony from the survivors and others,” according to the agency.

The hearing is set for Feb. 22 to March 5 at the Edmonds Center for the Arts. Attendance will be limited at the hearing as a COVID-19 health precaution. Those interested in following the hearing can see via daily live stream at 8 a.m. on weekdays at Sessions will be archived for later viewing. Updates will also be provided by Maritime Commons at and on Twitter @maritimecommons with the hashtag #ScandiesRoseMBI.

The National Transportation Safety Board, which is working with the USCG, is also investigating the accident and is planning to release its own report.

New San Diego Port Board Chairman Lays Out Priorities for 2021

At a recent Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners meeting, Chairman Michael Zucchet laid out his priorities for the port for the year, which include working with stakeholders and community members to weather the impact caused by the coronavirus pandemic and guiding the transition of leadership of two new commissioners, the retirement of President and CEO Randa Coniglio and the arrival of incoming President and CEO Joe Stuyvesant.

Zucchet, who takes over for Ann Moore, the board’s 2020 chairwoman and Chula Vista representative, also spoke of the port’s Climate Action Plan, the Maritime Clean Air Strategy and strides to upgrade infrastructure at the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal and along Harbor Drive.

He also highlighted efforts to enhance the San Diego Bay waterfront, citing the Port Master Plan Update, and the Chula Vista Bayfront, Central Embarcadero and East Harbor Island projects as examples.

“I also look forward to elevating the Port’s role as an environmental champion – particularly on environmental justice and air quality, and to keeping our major planning and redevelopment projects moving forward,” he said.

Governors Should Prioritize Port Workers
for COVID-19 Vaccines, AAPA Says

Port workers should have early access to COVID-19 vaccines, the American Association of Port Authorities said. In a letter from AAPA and nine other groups to the National Governors Association, the organization is pushing for port workers to be prioritized for the vaccines and spotlighted the significant impact to local and national economy.

“Acknowledging the myriad demands you are managing due to the persistent effects of the pandemic, we respectfully propose a means for alleviating a substantial area of concern - the potential for supply chain disruptions, delays in vaccine distribution, and further adverse economic impacts, locally, regionally, and nationally,” the letter stated. “As we saw at the outset of the pandemic, when supply lines are disrupted, consequences are fast to follow.”

These workers are essential to the economy and work in conditions that make them vulnerable to the virus.

“America’s ports and their workforce of more than 650,000 personnel have kept essential goods moving to medical professionals, first responders, vital manufacturing, and retail businesses during the pandemic,” Christopher Connor, AAPA’s President and CEO, said in a statement. “Their dedication has ensured continuity at great risk to their personal health.”

Cutter Alex Haley Returns to Alaska

After 50 days patrolling the Bering Sea, crew members of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley recently arrived at their Kodiak, Alaska, homeport.

During their deployment, the crew trekked more than 6,300 miles throughout the Aleutian Islands and Bristol Bay, offered search and rescue coverage for about 890,000 square miles in the area and enforced federal fisheries laws by conducting four boardings, “which ensured the sustainability of Pacific Cod stocks during the short three-week season, in support of the $13.9 billion fishing industry,” the agency said.

Crew members also tended to an injured fisherman Dec. 30 located about 80 miles northeast of Dutch Harbor.

"It's always difficult being separated from family during the holidays, but the crew did a great job of giving the cutter a festive makeover and found creative ways to stay positive during a stressful time," said Capt. Benjamin Golightly, Alex Haley commanding officer. "The crew has remained diligent and devoted to mission success in all aspects and continue to answer the call for Coast Guard presence during one of the most challenging times of year in the Bering Sea."