Friday, June 4, 2021

From the Editor:
Containing Container Spillage

By Mark Nero, Managing Editor

According to data from the Center for Biological Diversity, thousands of shipping containers have fallen from cargo ships into the ocean since October, 2020. And if that isn’t bad enough, that number of spillages isn’t a global total; it refers to incidents that occurred solely in the Pacific Ocean while containers were being transported between the Asia and the United States.

At least six spills since last fall have dumped 3,000 cargo containers into the Pacific Ocean along shipping routes between the U.S. and Asian countries, CBD data show.

The largest of these spills was a November 2020 incident in which a 1,200-foot cargo ship packed with thousands of containers full of goods was sailing from China to the Port of Long Beach. In remote waters 1,600 miles northwest of Hawai’i, the container stack lashed to the ship’s deck collapsed, tossing more than 1,800 containers into the sea.

Also included in the total: the loss of 750 containers from a cargo vessel on Jan. 16; and 100 containers that fell from a cargo ship last Oct. 30. Both ships encountered rough weather while delivering goods to the United States.

Although these incidents tend to fly under the radar of some within the goods transport industry, the rise in the occurrences, according to the Center for Biological Diversity, is adding to a growing marine plastic pollution problem and poses risks to ocean health and wildlife, as well as mariners.

Many spillages occur due to jostling and shifting of containers and restraints caused by bad weather in rough seas, but investigations sometimes reveal underlying problems in lashing and other practices that occur before vessels even leave port.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. The Code of Practice for Packing of Cargo Transport Units (commonly called the CTU Code), is a global code of practice for cargo ships that addresses packing, stacking and lashing of containers. Although the code isn’t mandatory for shippers, it provides comprehensive information and references on all aspects of loading and securing of cargo in containers and other intermodal transport are provided, taking account of the requirements of all sea and land transport modes.

To be honest, if more shippers, shipping lines and longshore workers in the U.S. and abroad adhered to the guidelines in the CTU Code, there’s no guarantee that it would reduce the number of cargo containers that go overboard and wind up in the ocean in any given year. But there’s also no guarantee that it wouldn’t. And utilizing a document that was created with the purpose of standardizing best practices couldn’t or shouldn’t be a bad thing – especially if the document can help prevent or reduce cargo loss and also help protect the environment.

The CTU Code is currently available on the website for the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, and is downloadable in English, Spanish, Chinese and other languages.

Managing Editor Mark Nero can be reached at:

Port of Redwood City Seeks Concepts for Waterfront Project

The Port of Redwood City is looking for those interested in partnering with the port in presenting a concept to develop “a unique shoreline attraction that will reimagine the Redwood City waterfront with a visitor-serving destination.”

The project site encompasses 7.6 acres of land bordered by a municipal marina, Redwood Creek, Beeger Road and Seaport Boulevard, with an additional 5.8 acres that could be developed in the future. The marina could be part of the concept.

“Zoned as General Industrial, proposals should have a public access and community benefit focus with destination-type uses like restaurants, retail shops, creative/contemplative spaces or other activating recreational uses that have a direct nexus to the site’s proximity to the water,” according to the port.

If selected, the developer’s concept must accommodate the Sequoia Yacht Club and follow the City of Redwood City’s General Plan.

There’s interest in a concept that serves the community, with eateries, hotels and visitor attractions. The port has stated that it’s interested in seeing sustainability elements, including electric vehicle charging stations, as well as a way to incorporate the port’s antique train in the design concept.

Concepts may be submitted until 5 p.m. on June 25. For more, visit

U.S. West Coast Scores Big in Green Marine Certification

Fifteen U.S. West Coast participants have received their Green Marine certification or recertification, the environmental certification organization announced this week at its 14th Annual GreenTech conference.

Those who garnered the designation include the Alaska Marine Highway System, Fishermen’s Finest, Inc., Puget Sound Pilots, Washington State Ferries, Northwest Seaport Alliance, Port of Anacortes, Port of Everett, Port of Hueneme, Port of Olympia, Port of San Diego, Port of Seattle, Port of Stockton, Ceres Terminals Inc. (at the Port of Hueneme), TraPac (at the Port of Los Angeles) and Motive Power Marine.

U.S. West Coast participants are among the 154 maritime participants in Canada and the U.S. who allow their environmental performance to be evaluated by an independent verifier accredited by Green Marine. They are rated on a scale of 1 to 5 based on 14 performance indicators.

This year, Fishermen’s Finest became the first fishing fleet to participate and obtain certification under the program for the maritime industry.

“To us, global warming is not just a well-supported theory, but a reality that our ship captains and crews are witnessing every year with the receding Bering Sea ice,” said Fishermen’s Finest CEO Helena Park. “We believe the Green Marine framework will help us to achieve our environmental goals which include ultimately establishing a net-zero carbon fleet – something we’ve started towards by building a new vessel that reduces fuel consumption by 66% and investing in the first sale of urban forest carbon credits in King County.”

“The commitment to continual improvement that our participants maintained despite the pandemic crisis in 2020 is admirable,” added David Bolduc, Green Marine’s executive director. “The fact that the overall results have remained steady is a remarkable outcome given not only the need to pivot regular operations to prioritize health and safety during the COVID-19 outbreak, but also in view of the program’s widening scope of issues and more stringent criteria for several performance indicators.”

POLB Maritime Center of Excellence Receives Designation from MARAD

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration has designated the Port of Long Beach Maritime Center of Excellence at Long Beach City College as a 2021 Center of Excellence for Domestic Maritime Workforce Training and Education, the college has announced.

The federal designation allows MARAD to partner with the college on cooperative agreements that bolster student and faculty recruitment, upgrade facilities, give students credit for military service, and possibly receive surplus equipment, the temporary use of MARAD vessels and other assistance.

“The 2021 Federal Maritime Center of Excellence Designation demonstrates that Long Beach City College is leading the way in the high-skills training needed to begin and advance careers right here at the Port of Long Beach,” said LBCC District Board of Trustees’ President Uduak-Joe Ntuk. “For LBCC to achieve this national designation will create new pathways to good pay jobs for our students, while opening more access for diversity and inclusion within the maritime industry.”

The process to receive the designation was a competitive one for LBCC, which is one of 27 learning institutions in the U.S. that gets students ready for maritime careers.

“A big reason we partnered with the excellent team at Long Beach City College on this educational initiative was to invest in the future workforce of the goods movement industry, right here in our city,” said port Executive Director Mario Cordero. “We’re very pleased about what this federal designation says about what we’ve accomplished together so far, and the possibilities for the center’s future.”

USCG Cutter Active Returns from Patrol

After 58 days patrolling the Eastern Pacific Ocean, crew members of the 210-foot U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Active recently returned to their Port Angeles, Wash. homeport.

During their deployment, crew members partnered with other law enforcement agencies to conduct counter-drug missions, including the interception of two suspected drug-smuggling vessels. In that instance, the crew found about 5,650 pounds of cocaine valued at an estimated $106.8 million in total on the low-profile vessels. The suspects were taken into custody for prosecution, the USCG said.

The crew also engaged in two rescue missions, assisting four stranded fishermen from their disabled vessel in one instance and an injured jet skier in another mission.

“This patrol was another superb example of teamwork across the interagency,” said Cmdr. James M. O’Mara IV, Active’s commanding officer. “Beyond our lifelines, interagency and partner nations shared information to develop cases, while U.S. Navy, Customs, and Coast Guard aircraft detected targets of interest. Active’s crew leaned forward, operated aggressively, and executed their missions with distinction.”

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Major U.S. West Coast Ports See Imports Rise in March, PMSA Data Show

The U.S. West Coast’s five major ports posted an 87.4% spike in imports in March when compared to the same time a year ago, according to data recently released by the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association.

Combined, ports in Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle and Tacoma moved more than 1.135 million in imported TEUs last month, which is more than the 605,895 TEUs in March 2020 and 735,947 TEUs in March 2019.

Meanwhile, exports at West Coast ports have been trending downward, handling a combined 426,932 TEUs. That’s 0.7% less than the 429,765 TEUs posted in March of last year and 8.7% less than two years ago with 465,418 TEUs.

Because the COVID-19 pandemic has affected cargo numbers, PMSA is also comparing the pre-pandemic numbers of 2019.

“The Big Five did handle 94.9% of the containerized tonnage imported and 95.8% of the containerized tonnage exported through all USWC ports in this year’s first quarter,” the PMSA report states in part.

USCG, NOAA, Border Protection Investigate Illegal Fishing Vessels

Members of the U.S. Coast Guard, Customs and Border Protection and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have been cracking down on illegal commercial tuna fishing vessels operating out of the State of Washington during the summer.

The agencies have discovered eight “paper captain” violations in the area since 2019.

Law 46 USC §12131 states that a documented vessel must be commanded by a U.S. citizen, but a number of fishing boats have been using foreign nationals to serve as captain of U.S. commercial fishing boats while fraudulently listing U.S. subordinates as captains on paper.

Violators could face up to five years in prison for submitting fraudulent documents to the Coast Guard or other federal agencies. One fishing fleet based in Washington had to pay $9,150 in civil penalties, as well as $140,000 in additional fines pending adjudication, according to the USCG.

“The employment of a foreign national as captain aboard a U.S.-flagged commercial fishing vessel is illegal,” said Lt. Cmdr. Colin Fogarty, the enforcement chief at Coast Guard Sector Columbia River in Warrenton, Oregon. “The practice of utilizing ‘paper captains’ subverts U.S. laws and regulations designed to protect hard-working American fishermen and mariners.”

International Crew Members Receive COVID-19 Vaccines at San Pedro Bay

Nearly 500 international crew members from 27 ships coming into the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles were recently given the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine for COVID-19 for free, thanks to a partnership with the Port of Long Beach, the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services and the National Guard.

“Supply chain workers have been on the frontline of this pandemic since the beginning,” said Long Beach Harbor Commission President Frank Colonna. “We need to vaccinate as many people as possible, and we’re pleased to see that vital work happening in our harbor. I’m so proud that Long Beach is doing so much to stop this pandemic by reaching out to mariners coming to both our port and the Port of Los Angeles.”

To date, 452 crew members have been vaccinated through the health department’s mobile unit, which regularly visits ships in the San Pedro Bay, the port said.

“It’s great to see our city helping these sailors who serve on the ships that carry the world’s cargo across the oceans and keep this industry moving,” said port Executive Director Mario Cordero. “These men and women are an important part of the supply chain, and they travel all over the world. We thank the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services for its foresight and efficiency in bringing the vaccinations to the ship crews.”

Port of Long Beach to Update Public on Pier B
On-Dock Project

The Port of Long Beach will update the public on the latest development on the Pier B On-Dock Rail Support Facility project in a virtual meeting planned for June 2.

Construction is expected to start in 2023 for the Pier B On-Dock Rail Support Facility, the cornerstone of the port’s $1 billion rail program, allowing more cargo from terminals to move by train instead of by truck. The port says moving goods by rail will help curb truck traffic and be faster and greener.

The port anticipates the project to be finished in 2032, with the first set of arrival, departure and storage tracks to be done in 2024 and additional tracks to be operational in 2030.

The June 2 meeting is planned for 10 a.m. To register, go to For those who can’t attend, the port will make a recording of the meeting available at

Call Veronica Quezada at (562) 283-7722 for help in registering for the event.