US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists intercepted 146 destructive Asian Gypsy Moth egg masses on four ships recently in the port of Baltimore. One vessel alone was found with 126 egg masses. There has been a surge in the population of AGM this season and while the high-risk period is over in Canada, crew onboard vessels from Japan, Korea and China should continue to check vessels for AGM egg masses while en route to North American ports.
The Columbia River Steamship Operators’ Association has filed a lawsuit in federal court over the Port of Astoria’s $300 pier maintenance fee. They claim that the fee is unconstitutional as it applies to all ships over 250 feet regardless of whether the ship stops at the pier or not. The Port has charged about 250 ships so far, holding the money in a protected account controlled by the association. Once a legal decision is made on the fee, the money will go to the Port or back to shipping agents.
US Transportation Secretary, Elaine Chao, is under investigation for allegedly using her government posting to benefit Foremost Group, a shipping company owned by her father. The House Oversight and Reform Committee has requested documents, citing “troubling questions” over whether she used her office for personal gain. Chao has until the end of the month to send the requested documents.
The US Coast Guard has pulled four trapped men alive from a capsized car carrier by drilling into the hull’s steel plates. The M/V Golden Ray overturned in the US port of Brunswick with 24 crew members inside sparking a dramatic, successful rescue mission over the weekend. All four were described as alert and in relatively good condition and were taken to a hospital for further evaluation. Three of the South Korean crew members came out in the midafternoon. The fourth man, who was trapped in a separate compartment, emerged three hours later. With all crew members accounted for, operations will now shift fully to environmental protection, removing the vessel and resuming commerce. Brunswick is one of the busiest ports for vehicles. Nearly 614,000 vehicles and heavy machinery units move through the port annually. The cause of the capsizing remains under investigation.
A familiar sight to many here locally, the Houston Ship Channel was shutdown this week when 11 individuals affiliated with Greenpeace suspended themselves from the Fred Hartman Bridge. The danglers blocked ship traffic to and from five major oil refineries and other chemical and oil export facilities for 18 hours. Harris County Sheriff’s office stated that the demonstrators will face multiple charges including obstructing the roadway and obstructing the waterway. The office is checking with the area US Attorney's office about other possible charges.
Earlier this week, Greenpeace attempted to block the MV Indian Goodwill from docking at a coal terminal at Gdansk, Poland. Polish customs agents boarded Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior that evening, broke into her wheelhouse and detained her master on suspicion of violating maritime safety regulations. The Indian Goodwill's delivery was held up again later in the week by activists who scaled two unloading cranes at the terminal, hanging banners and blocking operation of equipment.
The US Army Corps of Engineers has indicated that the high water levels on the Great Lakes will continue into this fall. Data shows Lake Superior tied its record high in August. Lake Erie established a new record high. Lakes Michigan, Huron and Ontario were slightly below their record highs, but still very high compared to average. The data points to the possibility of high levels into the early winter months.
After devastating the Bahamas with 185-mph winds, Hurricane Dorian’s eye made landfall on the US mainland earlier today in South Carolina. The weakened Category 1 storm had maximum sustained winds of 90-mph and is was moving northeast at 21 mph. Yesterday the US Coast Guard released important information about what their crews have seen since beginning rescue missions. They report a high risk of debris in the water, sunken vessels and destroyed or missing aids to navigation and pier facilities. They also warn about the risk of chemical spills and topography in ports and marinas from the storm surge of the Category 5 hurricane. The Ports of Charleston and Savannah have reopened to deep draft vessels with restrictions.
Disney has committed to donating more than $1 million to help relief and recovery efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian in The Bahamas. This commitment includes a donation to non-profit relief agencies who will be undertaking recovery and rebuilding efforts, as well as the provision of to impacted areas. Additionally, Disney employees with immediate needs in impacted areas of the Bahamas will have access to a range of resources.
The US Federal Maritime Commissioners approved a set of recommendations today to bring about fairness in the way demurrage and detention fees are administered by ocean carriers and marine terminal operators. The FMC will soon publish a notice of proposed rulemaking to establish “interpretive” rules to address the following:
Disney Cruise Line has unveiled the name of its newest vessel, the Disney Wish. The vessel will be the fifth ship to be added to its fleet, and first of three newbuilds ordered from Germany’s Meyer Werft shipyard. The cruise ship is scheduled to be delivered in late 2021 and expected to set sail in January 2022. The three new ships will be powered by liquefied natural gas and, at approximately 144,000 gross tons and 1,250 guest staterooms, will be slightly larger than the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy.
The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor has announced plans to invest nearly $20 million over the next four years in a major expansion that will boost its cargo handling capacity. The port was pursuing five big projects, including two rail yards which will be equipped to handle unit trains, or block trains in which all cars carry the same commodity from the same starting point to the same destination. The projects will be funded in part by a $9.85-million federal grant.
The operator of the M/T Ocean Princess, Ionian Shipping & Trading Corp., and its owner Lily Shipping Ltd. were each fined US $1.5 million and placed on probation for four years for failing to comply the Emissions Control Area fuel requirements. The Master, Chief Officer, and Chief Engineer were also all sentenced to three years of probation and ordered not to return to the US on a ship during that time. The Chief Officer was also fined $3,000 for instructing the crew to provide false information to the inspectors.
China has announced that it will impose additional tariffs on $75 billion of American goods including soybeans, automobiles and oil, in retaliation for President Donald Trump’s latest planned levies on Chinese imports. Some of the countermeasures will take effect starting Sept. 1, while the rest will come into effect from Dec. 15. This mirrors the timetable the US has laid out for 10% tariffs on nearly $300 billion of Chinese shipments.
The Center for Biological Diversity and the Orca Relief Citizens' Alliance is suing NOAA Fisheries, saying the agency has failed to act on a petition it filed in 2016. The petition sought to bar vessels from a 26- to 31-square-kilometre area west of San Juan Island where the whales feed from April through September each year. NOAA Fisheries claims that it supports the already-existing voluntary "no-go" zone, announced by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, that extends 400 metres off the west coast of San Juan Island.
Port of Kalama Commissioners have sent a letter to the Port of Astoria approved a letter opposing a new fee that was implemented in March which charges any trade vessel 250 feet or longer a $300 fee, whether it docks there or continues upriver. The Port of Astoria has received similar letters from the Port of Longview and other nearby ports are reportedly considering issues letters as well. The Columbia River Steamship Operators’ Association said late last month it is prepared to sue the port because it believes the fee conflicts with the commerce clause of the US Constitution. Revenue from the fee is intended to fund the operation and maintenance of a wharf that provides an emergency berth to distressed vessels - a service many feel the port is not required to offer.
The port of Long Beach has welcomed the cleanest containership to travel to the US - the 14,436-TEU MSC Jewel, at Total Terminals International's Pier T facility. The vessel owned by Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) is powered by tier III diesel engines, which are 75 per cent cleaner than the International Maritime Organization's (IMO) tier II standard. In addition to its clean engine, all MSC vessels are shore-power equipped, enabling them to connect to the landside electrical grid to reduce emissions when berthed. The carrier will receive US$6,000 from the port of Long Beach's Green Ship Incentive Programme.
Ship-to-shore cranes and shipping containers have been removed for the US tariff list, which includes $300 billion in goods subject to tariffs. Had the 10 percent tariff on ship-to-shore cranes remained in place, port authorities would have spent about $1.5 million more on cranes. New shipping containers would have cost about $1,000 to $1,500 to domestic intermodal providers.