Friday, May 7, 2021

USCG, San Diego Harbor Police Crack Down
on Illegal Charter Boats

Coast Guard Sector San Diego and San Diego Harbor Police members say they’re on a mission to stop anyone who may be operating unlicensed and illegal charter boats on Southern California waters.

So far, members say they’ve conducted over 140 safety boardings, including one instance that resulted in an $81,286 civil penalty.

In that instance, Sector San Diego crew members in March stopped operations on a 19-foot runabout state-registered vessel because it had no credentialed mariner aboard while it had passengers, as well as not enough life jackets and lifesaving equipment, according to the USCG. The boat was also loaded beyond the specifications of the vessel manufacturer.

“The primary goal of ending illegal charters in San Diego is to increase passenger safety,” the agency stated. “Frequent examinations by Coast Guard investigators have identified a direct correlation between maritime passenger fatalities and illegal charters.”

As summer ramps up, the Coast Guard Sector San Diego is telling the public to beware of illegal charters. Passengers should make sure the vessel has a credentialed master, and that the master and crew are enrolled in a Department of Transportation Drug and Alcohol Testing program, that the vessel has the appropriate paperwork and safety equipment. Also, if more than six passengers are aboard, the vessel should have a USCG-issued Certificate of Inspection.

For more on recreational boating safety, visit For boating operations or charter regulations, contact Sector San Diego Investigations Division at (619) 572-2904 or SDIO@uscg mil.

Nikola, TTSI Team on Zero Emission Vehicles

Phoenix-based Nikola Corporation and Southern California trucking firm Total Transportation Services Inc. are partnering on solutions to help speed up zero-emission transportation at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

Under the collaboration, the two companies will engage in vehicle testing and intend to purchase 100 Nikola Class 8 battery-electric and fuel-cell electric vehicles, according to an announcement released Thursday.

“The Nikola Tre trucks are exactly the type of zero-emission solution we need to be using at the port,” TTSI President Vic LaRosa said of the Nikola Tre FCEV trucks, which aim to travel up to 500 miles.

TTSI trucks run 18 to 20 hours a day, making the benefits of the Nikola portfolio a perfect match for TTSI’s needs, LaRosa added.

“The expected availability of the (Nikola Tre BEV, which was designed to haul for up to 350 miles) aligns with our desire to reach our sustainability goals quickly and the FCEV is ideal for longer-range applications,” he said. “Nikola’s value proposition of the truck and hydrogen fuel bundled together made this partnership even more appealing to our leadership team.”

The companies will begin with the testing of four trucks - two BEVs and two FCEVs - in the early half of 2022. If testing goes well and government funding is in place, the firms would move forward with 30 BEVs in 2022 and 70 FCEVs in 2023, the companies said.

“The drayage and port operations present an excellent use case for BEV and FCEV trucks where operational efficiency cannot be compromised,” said Jason Roycht, Nikola’s Global Head of FCEV business unit. “We hope to jointly demonstrate with TTSI the advantages of both technologies during vehicle trials at the port of Los Angeles/Long Beach. The planned conversion of the TTSI fleet over the next several years will provide a roadmap to implement zero-emission trucking that we hope many in Southern California will follow.”

Port of Oakland Posts Record Q1 Cargo Numbers

The first quarter proved to be the busiest first quarter ever for the Port of Oakland, which announced Thursday that it moved a record 631,119 TEUs from January to March.

This beats the Northern California port’s prior record of 612,151 TEUs, which took place in the first quarter of 2019.

“Our business has been growing for nearly a year now,” said Port Maritime Director Bryan Brandes. “Based on the evidence, we expect the trend line to keep going up.”

Port officials are attributing the numbers to high consumer demand that has resulted in retailers and manufacturers and to restock warehouses with Asia-sourced goods.

Most of the port’s container volume is connected to Asia. Officials also expect soon-to-be-released April cargo numbers to be strong.

Soybean Export Milestone Achieved
at Port of Kalama

The Port of Kalama exported more soybeans than any other U.S. West Coast port in 2020, according to a recent Pacific Merchant Shipping Association report.

A total of almost 5 million metric tons of soybeans moved through privately-owned TEMCO and Kalama Export, two grain elevators at the port. It amounts to about 33% of all soybean exports on the U.S. West Coast, the port revealed May 5.

The two grain elevators have been able to upgrade their facilities in recent years.

“Both TEMCO and Kalama Export are the absolute workhorses of the port,” said Port Commission President Randy Sweet. “Every year we continue to be amazed at how well they perform, and it speaks volumes about their operations and hardworking employees.”

The port also handled 15 million metric tons of exported cargo in 2020, most of them agricultural goods. That’s almost 15% more than 2019 and 50% more than a decade ago, according to port data.


By Mark Nero, Managing Editor

The topic of infrastructure is having a moment right now, both within the maritime industry and at the federal government level.

Among the reasons why is that the Biden Administration has proposed the “American Jobs Plan,” a $2 trillion transportation infrastructure modernization package that would, among other things, upgrade seaports as well as fix highways and rebuild bridges that are vital to port-related truck and vehicular traffic.

The jobs plan, which was publicly unveiled April 15, includes $115 billion for roads and bridges; $80 billion for freight and other rail; and $42 billion for ports and airports. Republicans in Congress have made a counteroffer of a $568 billion package that specifically focuses on transportation infrastructure.

While this is playing itself out, seaports along the West Coast already have their own infrastructure projects either in progress or in the planning stages. The same is true on the East Coast, where a number of port infrastructure projects have been undertaken due to the expansion of the Panama Canal, the fifth anniversary of which is in June. And with all these things as a backdrop, the upcoming issue of Pacific Maritime will have a number of stories devoted to infrastructure.

For one, we’ll have an article devoted to large scale infrastructure projects at major seaports along the West Coast. We’ll also have a story dedicated solely to the Port of Alaska – formerly known as the Port of Anchorage -- and the improvement projects taking place at the Last Frontier state’s busiest seaport.

Additionally, we’ll have an article on the aforementioned Panama Canal. It will delve into how the canal’s expansion has changed global shipping routes, and whether or not Pacific ports are now being bypassed more often, since the expansion allows the largest ships coming from Asia to traverse the canal and dock at East and Gulf Coast ports to load and unload goods, instead of before, where super-sized vessels would have to discharge cargo on the West Coast.

And in addition to the above, rounding things out will be a guest op-ed from the law firm of K&L Gates. The topic? That’s right, you’ve got it – infrastructure.

And if infrastructure isn’t something that you care much about or pay attention to, don’t worry – there will still be plenty of other interesting topics covered in our next print issue. For example, we’ll have an article on a new state-of the-art fireboat station in the San Francisco Bay Area; we’ll commemorate the 70th anniversary of HVAC company Quality Refrigeration; and there will be an article on spill response and resiliency.

So hopefully, there will be news and opinions that most, if not all Pacific Maritime readers will find useful and informative. And it’s all coming your way in the June/July edition of the magazine, out in a few weeks.

Managing Editor Mark Nero can be reached at:

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

From the Editor

By Mark Nero, Managing Editor

A new beginning…and a continuation. That’s what this issue of Pacific Maritime represents.

First, it’s a new beginning because the magazine has changed ownership. As you may know, Philips Publishing has sold the magazine to San Diego-based Maritime Publishing. Maritime Publishing is a division of Training Resources Limited, Inc., the largest privately held provider of maritime training in the Western United States.

The magazine’s new publisher, Dave Abrams, is the CEO of Training Resources Maritime Institute, a former U.S. Navy Surface Warfare Officer and current licensed USCG 100 Ton Master. Additionally, he’s a certified instructor with the National Safe Boating Council and an authorized instructor for the USCG Auxiliary Boating Skills & Seamanship program.

So why would Dave enter publishing? His interest arose out of a desire to help mariners stay educated and informed, not just through historical practices associated with training, but through current industry news and events. For him, it’s all about the mariner, and the overall maritime community. Dave is a connector, and helping people connect with each other through the various training and media platforms is the ultimate goal.

Helping guide the path is yours truly, Mark Nero, Pacific Maritime’s new managing editor. To longtime readers of the magazine, my name may be familiar; prior to the publication going on hiatus in 2020, I occasionally wrote for both this magazine and her sister publication, Fishermen’s News. I have more than 25 years’ experience as a professional journalist and through the years have been an editor with various publications that cover the goods transport industry.

Oh, and there’s more news to share.

In mid-March, Maritime Publishing acquired Professional Mariner and Ocean Navigator magazines from Portland, Maine based Navigator Publishing, thereby bringing more maritime-focused publications into the family.

Professional Mariner is a news magazine with a 30-year history of focusing on the needs of USCG-licensed professional mariners. Ocean Navigator, founded in 1985, focuses on seamanship for self-reliant recreational mariners serious about spending time at sea.

That’s the new beginning. Now on to the continuation part.

I’m very pleased to say that many of bylines that you previously saw in the magazine are joining us in this new journey. You’ll regularly see the names of Contributing Editor Karen Robes Meeks and Alaska Bureau Chief Margaret Bauman in the magazine; and longtime maritime reporter Peter Marsh is also returning to provide vessel profiles and other content.

Although some of the names associated with the magazine have changed, the majority remain the same. Also remaining the same is our commitment to providing you with quality, substantive maritime industry news.

This issue of PMM covers the months of April and May, and the next issue will have a June-July cover date. After that we’ll return to a monthly schedule the rest of the year – with the exception of a combined November-December during the holiday season.

And with that said, if you happen to read this and are not a current subscriber, please consider purchasing a one-year subscription for yourself or someone else who may be interested. Or, if you operate a business, please consider purchasing an ad. Subscribers and advertisers are essential partners to ensure that we keep Pacific Maritime a healthy and economically viable source of news about West Coast marine business. We are dependent upon your ongoing support.

Thank you.

MARK NERO is a veteran maritime journalist who has written for numerous publications over the years, including Fishermen’s News and Pacific Maritime Magazine. He was named managing editor of Pacific Maritime Magazine in March 2021. Managing Editor Mark Nero can be reached at:

Port of Hueneme Funds CERBT Account

The Board of Oxnard Harbor District Commissioners recently approved investing an additional $500,000 to the District’s California Employers’ Retiree Benefit Trust account for the fiscal year ending on June 30.

“With financial uncertainty heightened by the COVID-19 crisis, we are proud to make all efforts to prioritize the fiscal health of the port,” Oxnard Harbor District Board President Jason T. Hodge said. “In doing so, we are investing in our port’s future and taking very seriously our role of sustainable provider of jobs and security for our local communities.”

This move allows the port to continue to reduce its Unfunded Accrued Liability, which the port started doing in 2017 with the opening of the CERBT account. The port also added $500,000 to the account in FY 2018 and 2019.

“Our goals and efforts have been with meeting our financial responsibility to account for future costs,” said Andrew Palomares, Port Deputy Executive Director, CFO/CAO. “By investing a little each fiscal year, it softens the blow of a larger demand on our future financial reserves. Instead of simply a pay as you go system, we’ve adopted a pay and save as you go.”

Port of San Diego Doubling Shore Power Capability

The B Street and Broadway Pier cruise ship terminals at the Port of San Diego will receive double their current shore power capabilities, thanks to the Board of Port Commissioners who recently voted to approve a $4.6 million toward the effort.

Funds will go toward buying, building and installing shore power equipment that will allow two cruise ships calling on San Diego to connect to shore power outlets at the same time so they won’t have to run their diesel auxiliary engines.

“This is a good investment and it is just one of our many clean air projects on the horizon,” said Chairman Michael Zucchet, Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners. “In addition to having the infrastructure available for nearly every cruise ship to run off electricity while in port, we’re also installing a solar-powered microgrid at our Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal, adding more public electric vehicle chargers on the bayfront, and more.”

“The port is committed to being a good neighbor, which includes cleaner air for everyone who lives, works and plays on and around San Diego Bay,” he added.

The port said it hopes to finish the project by September 2022.

USCG Suspends Response to Overturned Boat in San Diego

The U.S. Coast Guard on Monday halted its response to an overturned 40-foot trawler-style vessel near the Point Loma Tide Pools in the Cabrillo National Monument.

“After careful consideration using the information from our on-scene crews, partner agency input and the magnitude of the response efforts, the Coast Guard suspended our search on Monday morning,” said Captain Timothy Barelli, the Sector San Diego commander. “Yesterday, we were once again reminded how dangerous these ocean smuggling attempts can be and we will continue to work with our local, state and federal partners to prevent, detect and respond to cases like this to keep the waters of San Diego safe and secure.”

At 10 a.m. Sunday, TowBoat U.S. reached out to Coast Guard Sector San Diego command center about an overturned vessel on the rocks. Crew members of cutter Haddock took over for cutter Blackfin and stayed through the night looking for survivors while first-responders teamed to verify the number of people aboard.

Of the 32 people verified, 29 are alive. Five of them were hospitalized, including one in critical condition, according to the USCG. Three people died.

Authorities continue to investigate the cause of the incident.

Monday, May 3, 2021

Researchers, Community Partner on Alaska Fisheries Report

Thanks to the input of over 90 researchers and community members, NOAA Fisheries scientists were able to create an ecosystem status report for the Gulf of Alaska ecosystem in 2020. And now, their findings are being spotlighted in a newly released video.

“We are excited to offer another way of sharing what we learned about ecosystem conditions in the Gulf of Alaska last year,” said Bridget Ferriss, editor of the Gulf of Alaska Ecosystem Status Report. “This video is a nice complement to our other communications products.”

For years, Alaska Fisheries Science Center scientists have been compiling information from various indicators such as “water temperature, plankton abundance, and seabird reproductive success,” according to NOAA.

They observed these indicators for the four marine ecosystems encompassing Alaska: the Aleutian Islands, the Bering Sea, the Gulf of Alaska, and the Arctic.

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council, which annually establishes catch limits for groundfish and crab in federal waters off Alaska, rely on scientific research and other data to set those boundaries.

“Ecosystem assessments help us understand the context by explaining, among other things, how changes in the ecosystem might affect present and future abundance of commercially important fish and crab stocks,” said Ferriss.

Check out the report here:

Check out the video here: