March 09, 2017 Allen Bushnell, Fish Rap: Steelhead season closes, with promise for next year
Steelhead fishing season in our area closed Tuesday. For steelhead anglers, the season was rather slow in terms of actually catching fish. Some might consider our rainfall totals as too much of a good thing. The local streams ran high and muddy most days.
There is a silver lining around this cloudy winter however. The much-needed rain has filled our reservoirs, recharged the aquifers and scoured the local creeks and streams to create great gravel spawning grounds and deep pool habitat for juvenile steelhead. In the long run, the big waters of 2017 will serve to preserve and ideally increase the population of our native steelhead trout.
As we dry out, the ocean is getting cleaner and more productive. Todd Fraser at Bayside Marine in Santa Cruz reports, “The weather is nice here and perch fishing is getting good. …The harbor mouth is open and it should be a nice weekend. The crab fishing has gotten better.” Chris Arcoleo in Monterey proved that point this week, especially regarding Dungeness crab. Chris’ Fishing Trips in Monterey sent the Check Mate out Friday and Saturday. The anglers aboard returned with full limits of Dungeness crab both days, and counted 400 to 450 sand dabs, respectively.
Now that we’ve had some relief from the incessant storms and big swells of winter, Santa Cruz Small Craft Harbor workers are finally getting ahead of the drifting sand that essentially closed the harbor entrance in January. In their March newsletter, Harbor officials said, “The Port Commission directed staff to enter into a contract with Pacific Tugboat Service to bring in the vessel Sammy G to assist with dredge operations while Dauntless’ engines are replaced. Dauntless’ starboard engine unexpectedly broke down, and Commissioners elected to replace both of its engines.”
While depths are still shallow directly outside the harbor entrance, the inside channel is as deep as 20 feet, according to the latest soundings. Care should still be exercised when transiting the harbor mouth, but it looks like this crisis has been resolved.
Clean water and dramatic sculpting of the long beaches of southern Santa Cruz County and northern Monterey County bodes well for anglers competing in the Sand Crab Classic Perch Derby this weekend. We have received consistent reports of very good fishing for barred surf perch on both high and low tides from the big beaches. On Wednesday, 9-year-old Wyatt Dixon took his grandfather Dennis Smith to one of the beaches below Seacliff. Both Dixon and Smith caught multiple barred perch measuring up to 13 inches, as well as one undersized striped bass that put up a great fight.
Pier anglers are catching perch in Capitola as well. Mike Hicks from Capitola Boat and Bait reports anglers putting shrimp bits on the “two-hook wharf rig,” and using #6 or #8 hooks have caught quite a few black perch this week. Anglers are also catching and releasing quite a few juvenile leopard sharks lately, according to Hicks.
Feb 17, 2017 Shawn Styles climbs aboard the Harbor Commander tugboat
SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) – Tugboats have been working on San Diego bay for decades but how many people get to go along for the ride?
CBS News 8’s Shawn Styles climbed aboard the Harbor Commander tug recently as it guided a San Diego research vessel to dock.
“We’re out here at three in the morning,” said Capt. Eric Blocker. “There’s lot going on around the bay when everybody’s sleeping.”
It’s an early call for the crew of the Harbor Commander, part of the Pacific Tugboat Service fleet on San Diego Bay.
“It has 800 horsepower and it’s very maneuverable,” said Blocker.
“We assist a lot of the Navy vessels in and out of the shipyards and they’re not on any power of their own at all,” Blocker said.
On this day, we’re headed out to meet a Scripps research vessel called the FLIP.
The floating instrument platform ship is being towed back to San Diego from the open ocean. Our sister ship, the Harbor Mate, will help us bring the FLIP to dock.
The vessel is towed in the open ocean by larger tugboats. Once it arrives in the bay it is handed off to smaller harbor tugs.
A harbor pilot climbs aboard the FLIP and directs the two harbor tugs over the radio all the way back to the dock.
“The pilot gives the commands coming in but the captain’s responsible for whatever happens no matter what,” said Blocker.
It’s a pretty tight squeeze for a 350 foot vessel at the dock but the tug boat team makes it look easy.
San Diego Bay is one of the nation’s top 30 container ship ports. It brings in 3 million tons of cargo and a quarter million passengers annually.
May 3, 2016 Port of San Diego to Host Free Public Tours of Working Waterfront for ‘Maritime Month’
The Port of San Diego will honor San Diego’s deep ties to the maritime industry this month with a series of events, including free public tours.
Dubbed “Maritime Month,” the Port of San Diego says the educational, month-long celebration is meant to recognize the industry’s role in job creation and economic prosperity in America’s Finest City and to give the public an inside look at what it’s like to work the waterfront.
To that end, two free public bus and four boat tours will take place throughout May with bus tours departing from Pepper Park in National City (3299 Tidelands Ave.) and boat tours departing from Broadway Pier in downtown San Diego (1000 North Harbor Drive).
The Port says the tours will feature detailed narrative on San Diego’s working waterfront including cargo operations, cruise facilities, shipyards, and associated vessels calling on the Port.
The bus tours are set for May 17 and May 24 – both at 10 a.m.
The boat tours are scheduled for May 14 and May 21, with two tours taking place on each of those days. The first boat tour on May 14 boards at 9:30 a.m. and departs at 10 a.m. and the second tour boards at 12:30 p.m. and departs at 1 p.m. The first boat tour on May 21 boards at 10 a.m. and departs a half-hour later, and the second tour boards at 12:30 p.m. and departs at 1 p.m.
The Port says the theme of Maritime Month is “Ships Bring Prosperity,” which highlights why San Diego Bay’s deep water makes it an ideal location for cargo terminals to import and export goods from around the world.
Common cargo that passes through San Diego includes bananas, automobiles, steel, lumber, cement, soda ash and project components. This type of cargo, according to the Port of San Diego, has significant impact to the region’s economy.
“In San Diego, industrial and maritime commerce and related industries around the Port contribute $3.5 billion to the region’s economy and generate 12,800 waterfront jobs,” the Port said in a press release Tuesday.
Port tenant Pacific Tugboat Service will also sponsor a “Name That Tug” contest for Maritime Month in which four vessels in the company’s fleet will be renamed after local military heroes. The contest is set for May 20 at Cesar Chavez Park and will include 150 local middle school student participants.
Nationally, May 22 is recognized as National Maritime Day, as first declared by the United States Congress in 1933.
April 23, 2014 Ports to power a new kind of cleaning crew
A new war on air pollution in the twin seaports of Los Angeles and Long Beach is about to be launched.
An armada of pelican-shaped barges with 100-foot-tall towers and booms could soon be navigating the ports, connecting their sleeves of ductwork to smokestacks of berthed container ships, and vacuuming out an alphabet soup of poisonous gases through a huge scrubber.
The first 165-foot-long barge is a prototype and is nearly done being constructed.
“We continue to raise the bar with our cleanup technologies so that we can stay competitive against the Panama Canal and other ports in Prince Rupert (Canada) and Mexico. It takes 10 minutes to connect and disconnect,” said Ruben Garcia, founder and president of Carson-based Advanced Cleanup Technologies Inc., and the technology’s developer.
In recent weeks, welders, electricians, crane operators and others have been busy at Berth C-58 in Long Beach, building the first of ACTI’s eventual fleet of barges that will be loaded with hulking scrubbers once designed to clean coal-fired plants.
The process of how the scrubbers work is simple. They use ductwork – similar to a heating ventilation system in a house – that runs up the neck of the tower, to the beak-like boom where it then twists and turns to reach out over the container ship to the smokestack, Garcia explained.
The ductwork has an endpiece that locks into any sized smokestack and captures superhot gases and sooty particulate matter. The scrubber technology is designed to replace – or enhance – cold-ironing shore power.
On Jan. 1, state smog regulators began requiring major container ships, refrigerated cargo and cruise ships to plug in to shore power while at berth to reduce air pollution.
However, the shore power regulations only apply to about 100 of the Port of Long Beach’s 300 vessel calls each month.
Shore power uses big electrical cords unfurled from a ship and plugged into underground power vaults on a dock.
The scrubber-carrying barges could provide an alternative to shore power, allowing ships to run their engines to produce the power they need for lighting, communications, pumps and refrigeration without plugging in. The scrubber technology cleans up the air as well as if shore power were used, Garcia said.
“Two-thirds of the vessels that fall under no regulations (in California), and that call on the port every month, could use this system,” said Rich Cameron, the Port of Long Beach’s managing director of environmental affairs and planning. “This is not just a Port of Long Beach technology. This has never been done before and could be used elsewhere.”
Garcia will test his first barge in a few weeks on container ships owned by Zim Integrated Shipping Services Ltd. in the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Another shipping line, Hapag-Lloyd, wants to test the barge at the Port of L.A.’s TraPac terminal.
If all goes well, ACTI, whose parent Advanced Energy Group plans to move its headquarters to Long Beach this summer, will begin ramping up, according to Garcia.
He has partnered with San Diego-based Pacific Tugboat Service to operate dozens of yet-to-be-built barges with scrubbers – at $8 million a piece.
Garcia has plans over the next three to five years of building dozens of these barges for the ports of Long Beach and and Los Angeles, then San Diego and Oakland and San Francisco. He sees more getting built at all ports on the West Coast, in the Gulf of Mexico and along the East Coast.
But before this happens, ACTI is working with the Port of Long Beach and the South Coast Air Quality Management District, a smog control agency in L.A., Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, to demonstrate that the technology really works
The Port of Long Beach has been working with ACTI since 2006 in demonstrating the technology. An earlier, wharf-mounted version was often called “sock on a stack” because of the large bonnet that was placed over the smokestacks to capture emissions. The new system is mounted on a barge and uses a direct connection to a vessel’s exhaust outlets.
The demonstration project, technically known as the Advanced Maritime Emissions Control System, or AMECS, received a $2.06 million contract from the port.
Garcia’s company has been around since 1992, though ACTI nearly went under as a result of cleanup work it performed for the Federal Emergency Management Agency during Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Over the years, ACTI has been paid millions to clean up everything from oil spills in the Santa Clarita River following the 1994 Northridge Earthquake and to thousands of gallons of spilled diesel fuel from the 2008 Metrolink crash in Chatsworth, which took 25 lives.
At its peak, before Katrina, it had several hundred employees, was generating $48 million in annual revenue and had branch offices from one end of the state to the other.
After Katrina, ACTI brought 15 trucks of gear to Louisiana to help.
“It was a war zone. You could still see power lines and transformers popping several days after the storm,” Garcia said.
FEMA took until 2010 to reimburse ACTI for its Katrina work, forcing the company to draw on its entire credit lines, and take out all of its cash, just to stay afloat.
“It gutted us out,” he said.
ACTI has since shuttered many offices, employs 40 and generates $5 million in annual sales.
Its big hope to regain its stature may be the millions it invested over the past decade in the scrubber technology and other advanced projects to help clean up air in the maritime and railroad industries, Garcia said.
“The idea from day one has been to put this on a barge,” Garcia said. “You come as you are, and we take care of the rest.”
Feb 20, 2013 San Diego Tugboat Fleet Converts to Shore Power
Pacific Tugboat Service, a member of the Port of San Diego’s Green Business Network, has converted its fleet of 20 vessels.
Shore power, also known as cold ironing, is the process of switching from a ship’s onboard diesel power supply to shore-based electrical power while the ship is at the dock. This process reduces polluting air emissions and noise levels from idling engines.
“I think the Green Business Network taught us is that we’re not just a small business trying to make a living on the Bay, but we’re a neighbor,” said Pacific Tugboat Service Vice President Stephen Frailey. “We have a park near us, we have a neighborhood near us. Our contribution back to that neighborhood is to try to improve the environment.”
The conversion was part of a $3 million overall upgrade the company’s facility at the Crosby Street Pier , located at the Port’s Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal. About $500,000 went to installing charging stations and retrofitting vessels so they could plug in.
The project was made possible by San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), which helped upgrade power to the charging stations, and a funding grant from the County of San Diego’s Air Pollution Control District.
Frailey said the immediate benefits are air quality and noise pollution, since the engines are shut off.
The company’s vessel fleet now includes more than 20 tugs that divide time between the San Diego headquarters and offices in the Long Beach-Los Angeles area. Pacific Tugboat Services has several large contracts, including jobs with the Navy, pile driving, and crane services for both land and sea.
As part of its role as an environmental steward, the Port of San Diego established the Green Business Network. It’s made up of 67 tenants businesses, including Pacific Tugboat Services, working to reduce energy consumption, water use, waste, and prevent pollution.
The Port of San Diego also utilizes shore power at its B Street Cruise Ship Terminal and the Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier.