Here They Come!
- The big ships are, indeed on the way. As previously advised, the NYSA and the PANY/NJ have collaborated to fund a training/simulation program for our Port Pilots in anticipation of the arrival of the Post Pamamax vessels which will be calling our Port now that we have achieved a 50 ft channel, and we are nearing completion of the Bayonne bridge reconstruction to give us a 215 ft air draft clearance. After successfully modeling a simulation environment, visiting US West Coast Ports to observe operations, and making repeated simulator evolutions, it was considered “timely” to examine local operational procedures and what impacts the large vessels may have on operational routines and guidelines. Accordingly, on 6 Dec 2016, a meeting was convened in the NYSA offices which included NYSA BoD members, Terminal Operators, Port Authority of NY/NJ, and MAPONY/NJ representatives.
Key discussion/presentation points included :
- This meeting is only a “preview” for NYSA BoD members. A full NYSA membership meeting will be held in FEB 2017 to make a more complete/formalized presentation.
- All current assumptions and projections are only “best estimates” and subject to refinement as the simulator training and then “real-time” experience is fully evaluated.
- ALL pilots are being scheduled for MITAGS simulator training. To date 2 classes have been completed, and 7 more classes will be completed between FEB-MAY, 2017
- The Pilots requested that the 14K ships be placed in rotation BEFORE the introduction of the 18k vessels to allow some “adjustment” time to observe real-time vessel handling.
- Noted that simulators are NOT real-time, and there will need to be possible adjustments to any plans should real handling expose any variances from simulator projections.
- 2 Pilots (1 SHP and 1 Docking) will be required at all times (including any movements to/from anchorage)
- Vessels will NOT be cleared for passage when: Visibility is less than 1.5mi @ Bergen Point/ Wind is more than 20kt @ Bergen Point
- Vessels will be able to transit during two 4 hour windows i.e.,1 hr on either side of slack tide @ Bergen Point
- PANY/NJ is working with NOAA and USACE to replace the KVK current meters that were in place during dredging.
- It may be decided that possibly only 2 Mega ships may transit during each window.
- It is estimated that inbound transits may take almost twice as long as present due to the need to travel at speeds of no more than 5 kts in the KVK
- Expected that no meet/pass zone will be enforced @ Bergen Point
- There will be particular problems at narrow channels (i.e. between Maher and PNCT/ Port Jersey, etc)
- Speeds will be limited to no more than 5 kts to avoid surge impacting other traffic, and possibly pulling berthed vessels off moorings
- In narrow areas, bunkering barges may be banned/restricted
- Crane arms must be bunched at mid-ships position to avoid collision with bow or stern flare if making an angled approach
- Longer lead lines are anticipated , thus impacting berth plans
- Berth bollards should be tested for adequate strength
- Pilots currently anticipating a need for 4 tugs per vessel/ 2 tractor tugs plus 2 conventional tugs-with 3 hooked, one standby/loose
- Noted the lack of adequate deep draft anchorages/pullout areas/turning basin.
- PANY/NJ, as the “private partner” in the 50 ft dredge project must conclude a post-project study, and then consider initiating a new dredge proposal and obtain funding to expand anchorages/pullout areas/turning basins, etc. It was noted that the original 50ft dredge project was initiated many years before the new generations of Mega-ships was designed or operational.
- It was noted that there will need to be extensive, detailed communications and procedures impacting all components of the port operations in order to successfully handle the operational exigencies required by the big ships. Delays could result in missed sailing/arrival windows/ unused labor/gang hours/ interrupted operations due to any need to raise crane arms/ movement of bunker barges to allow passage to inner berths/ etc.
- It is expected that a “HarborMaster” function may be necessary to ensure equitable decision making, and cost-sharing procedures. The HarborMaster function needs to be fully explored to determine: functionality/staff requirements/scope of authority/ funding methodology/ location/ and controlling body.
- It will be necessary to engage all operational partners in creating a full-harbor plan. It will be necessary to engage non-container vessel operators and terminals, bunker providers, longshore labor, tug operators, husbandry agents, chandlers, etc.
- A more developed concept will need to be discussed prior to the scheduled NYSA full-member meeting in FEB 2017.
Hudson River Anchorage Proposal
- On Dec 6, 2016, the public written comment period relating to the Hudson River Anchorage Proposal covered by the USCG Advance Notice of Proposed Rule Making Docket 2016-0132 was closed. Over 10,000 comments were filed.
MAPONY/NJ has been a very active and outspoken proponent of this proposal, and we have filed written comments in support, have written many letters of support to politicians and concerned citizens, have attended multiple legislator hearings, public hearings, and other organizational meetings ( On Monday, 21 Nov, 2016, I made a presentation to the Admiralty Attorney Committee of the NY Bar Association, in Manhattan, to a group of 21. On Tuesday, 29 Nov, 2016, I made a presentation to the Hudson River Boat and Yacht Club Association (HRBYCA) at the Newburgh Yacht Club in Newburgh, NY. The HRBYCA is an association of 35 boat and/or yacht clubs on the Hudson River between Yonkers and Albany. There were about 65 members in attendance.)
- Additionally MAPONY/NJ has been supportive in the media, having made supportive comments on several TV clips, and many newspapers.
- In consideration of the extensive comments, it is expected that after the USCG reviews all written comments, ther will be a public hearing schedule which might be expected to occur in 4-6 locations within the “impacted” area, presumable in the Spring of 2017 due to Federal Register filing requirements.
- MAPONY/NJ will continue a positive and supportive outreach program until this proposal is resolved.
- We are pleased to advise that during the week of Nov 1418, 2016 MAPONY/NJ hosted our SHIPPING 101 Fall session.
- 15 students from diverse organizations and backgrounds attended.
- Our THANKS go out to NYSA/ILA for allowing us to use their NYSA/ILA Training Room at 1210 Corbin Street, and to the folks at Global Container Terminal who once again conducted an on-site terminal tour of their state-of-the-art facility.
NYC City Council Waterfront Cttee Hearing
On Monday, 5 DEC 2016 I attended the New York City City Council Waterfront Cttee Hearing regarding “Boating Safety’.
The meeting was held at 250 Broadway, and commenced at 1300hr and concluded at 1450 hr.
The meeting was chaired by NYC Citycouncilwoman Debi Rose, and during the course of the hearing, the following other members of the Waterfront Cttee were present:
- Daniel Garodnyk
- Chaim Deutcsh
- Corey Johnson
- Joseph Borelli
The Chair opened the hearing with a statement that the purpose of the hearing was to explore ways to improve boating safety in NYC waterways. The Chair made specific mention of the recent incident involving a NY Waterway ferry and a group of 10 kayakers.
There were 7 parties who testified during the hearing:
- NYCEDC, representing City-Wide Ferries
- NYC DOT representing the Staten Island Ferry (John Garvey)
- NYC Parks Dept
- Waterfront Alliance (Roland Lewis)
- NY Water Trail (Rob Buchanan)
- MAPONY/NJ (Ed Kelly)
- Downtown Boathouse (Graeme Birchall)
Several of the main topics/concerns were as follows:
- NYCEDC made comments that the plans for the City-Wide Ferry were inclusive of contractual commitments for their provider, HORNBLOWER, to meet all required safety criteria, and that there were established procedures, standards, and reporting requirements that would ensure safe operations. They noted that the ferry involved in the cited incident was NOT a NYCEDC contracted vessel. They were highly favorable to the MAPONY Harbor Safety, Navigation and Operations Cttee HOPs) , and the underlying Passenger Vessel, and Harbor Education sub-committees.
- NYCDOT discussed the safety standards of the SI Ferry. They also highly regarded HOPs and the underlying sub-cttees.
- NYC Dept of Parks discussed their programs to allow access to the waterways. They gave statistical info regarding their launch permits, storage, etc. They advised that they posted “appropriate” notices at their launch sites, but that they did NOT require any proof of proficiency, licensing, registration, or other safety compliance certification.
- Waterfront Alliance gave their “usual” presentation advocating increased access to waterfront property and waterways, but did NOT endorse the need for recreational boater licensing/certification, but instead said that boaters should rely on safety “training” from boathouses, etc.. WA also was very complimentary to HOPs, and the sub-cttees. WA also cited the “SHARED HARBOR TOUR” that was conduced by our HOPs Harbor Education sub-cttee and utilized a NY Waterway ferry to host a 4 hour tour for approx 140 persons (included USCG/NYCEDC/Professional Mariners/Recreational boaters) which toured the Battery and lower East River area with discussions regarding safety, conflict area, communications, security zones, etc
- NY Water trail tried to discuss the NY Waterway/ Kayak incident, but was refused due to the pending investigation of that incident. He also did NOT endorse the need for recreational boating licensing/certification, but instead felt that it was sufficient to have boathouses, etc conduct safety training. He also asked for funding for the various boathouses, and the HOPs Harbor Education sub-cttee. (which he strongly praised)
- Downtown Boathouse is a free, kayaking organization which claims to have had more than 350,000 persons kayaking with their organization. He was very supportive of safety training for novices, but did NOT endorse licensing/certification. He was very supportive of increasing launch/landing locations, and recommended beach instead of hard surface or docks. He was very supportive of restricted areas for novice kayakers.
- The Chair noted the absence of the USCG, but recognized that the USCG would not be able to discuss any pending investigation. The Chair stated that it would be hoped that USCG would be involved in any continued effort to enhance waterway safety.
MAPONY/NJ Comments were as follows:
- Intro of MAPONY/NJ organization, membership, and mission to advocate for the Safety of marine navigation, Security of marine assets, Sustainability of the marine environment, and Competitiveness of our marine services.
- Discussed vessel traffic, i.e. in 2015 4298 deep draft arrivals (combined almost 8,600 arrival/departure transits) and USCG VTS reporting over 440,000 harbor transits per annum.
- Referred to recently completed USCG PAWSA, and although awaiting final report recognized that our harbor is: Congested, Mixed Use, and Physically challenging due to estuarine currents, geography, and extensive cross-traffic
- Confirmed our belief that “There is Room for Everyone”, but that SAFETY must be a paramount concern.
- Explained that Waterways are very similar to Roadways, in that BOTH systems require well-understood and respected RULES, and knowledgeable and responsible operators.
- Explained that Rules of the Road are legal requirements, and not just “guidelines”.
- Noted that ALL commercial mariners are required to have TWIC cards, and have valid USCG licenses, ratings, and certifications
- Noted that ALL commercial vessels are subject to stringent safety and integrity standards, and are routinely inspected by USCG
Explained the dire need for better NY State recreational boater training and licensing/certification. Reviewed the current NYS requirement that only applies to those born after 1996 who operate motorized craft.
- Explained that in a manner similar to Roadway requirements, vessel rentals should also require proper licensing/certification (similar to Hertz and Avis requiring a valid operator’s license in order to rent vehicle). Stated that the only exception should be when rentals are operated in supervised, restricted areas.
- Postulated that it would be optimal to have a written RULES test, and a practical “water” test wherein potential operators could demonstrate operational capability, and possibly demonstrate an ability to adequately handle such phenomena as tide calculations, surge, wakes, etc.
- Offered the possibility that such licensing could be coordinated between NYS DMV and “qualified” boathouse personnel, thus creating “local” input, and possible revenue streams for boathouse-type organizations.
- All parties expressed interest in enhanced boater safety in the Harbor, with primary focus on recreational boaters.
- All parties concurred on the need for adequate safety training, although recreational boaters resisted any formalized licensing/certification program, while commercial mariners promoted the idea.
- The Maritime Association of the Port of NY/NJ sponsored Harbor Safety, Navigation and Operations Cttee and the Passenger Vessel and Harbor Education sub-Cttees were roundly praised.
- The Chair will take all comments under consideration and after evaluation, will decide what if any, future steps may be taken to enhance boater safety.
- There were several “stakeholders” in the hearing room that did NOT testify, including NY Waterway, Hornblower, and Andrew McGovern of the Sandy Hook Pilots.
Port Environmental Listening Session
- On the evening (1800-2100hr) of Dec 8, 2016 the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Port Authority of NY and NJ (PANYNJ)conducted a Port Environmental Listening Session at the Hilton Newark Penn Station Hotel.
- The objective of the meeting was to solicit input from members of the public and all port industry, environmental and community partners to help form the latest framework of a collaborative plan to reduce port-related air emissions and improve air quality conditions in the port area.
- MAPONY/NJ attended the meeting
- Opening comments were made by Catherine McCabe, Deputy Regional Administrator, EPA Region 2; Molly Campbell, Director, Port department, PANYNJ; NJ State Senator Lesniak, and NJ State Assemblyman Wisniewski. All comments imparted a sense of cooperation and constructive planning.
- The session identified 3 steps: (1) Identify Concerns; (2) Find Possible Mitigations; and (3) Establish Next Steps
- EPA McCabe made comments regarding: the value of clean air:the continued improvements seen since the Clean Air Act was introduced; that there are still significant pockets of low quality air; and the need to listen to, and promote the needs of Environmental Justice Communities.
- PANYNJ Campbell made remarks regarding the success of greatly deceasing airborne pollutants while increasing cargo volume by 13%; Steps taken at PA properties;, and the PANYNJ objectives and Clean Air Strategy of reducing marine-related air emissions while experiencing continued port growth; striving to attain an annual net decrease of 5% in greenhouse gas; continued stakeholder engagement; and the listing of achieved Clean Air Strategy Implementation Project actions.
- Noted that realized Clean Air Strategy actions include:
- Brooklyn Cruise Terminal Shore Power
- Clean Vessel Incentive Program
- Low Sulfur Fuel Incentive Program
- Vessel Speed Reduction Program
- Truck Replacement Program
- Truck Phase Out Program
- Increased Marine Highway and Rail options
- Cargo Handling Equipment CHE) Replacement
- CHE alternative power demonstration projects
- Switching locomotive retrofit program
- Harbor Craft Engine replacement/Retrofit program
- It was recognized that although major progress has occurred, more progress is needed.
- EPA noted the focus on Ozone and particulate matter; the improved cleanliness of newer trucks; and the need for additional replacement and retrofit of older equipment
- Public comments from a combination of organizations and individuals included: Possible adoption of US so Cal standards and regulations: continued/increased funding for truck replacement; reduced truck idling in long lines; employment of on-dock scrubbers and/or shore power installations (similar to PSW); the need to increase funding to local communities; forcing payments by cargo interests; demand input from local communities; reduce terminal lines by extending work hours; handling trucks during “non-traditional hours”; create grant programs to promote LNG/LPG power options; create fund for air filter availability for local homes, schools, and facilities; plant more trees in local communities; Teamster proposal to unionize truck drivers so they can afford new trucks; and various other ideas (virtually all of which required additional funding by PANYNJ.
All parties agreed to continue listening sessions, and seek practical opportunities to work together to improve air quality.