Industry News And Updates:
Story 1) Mississippi River maximum draft increases to 48 feet for certain sections - January 14, 2022

Story 2) October 2021 PMSA Issues Status Report - U.S. West Coast - selected articles - October 29, 2021

Story 3) Fire In Vancouver B.C. Halts Rail Service. Delays To Vessel Loadouts Expected. - July 06, 2021.

Story 4) Draft Reduction on Lower Mississippi River - 46 Feet - May 05, 2021

Story 5) New Invasive Moth Species Identified By U.S. Customs - March 19, 2021

1) Mississippi River Maximum Draft Increases to 48 Feet for Some Sections
  • by  Vince Addington

For those who do not already receive our daily River Report from GenSteam/New Orleans, please note that the controlling maximum recommended draft of the Lower Mississippi River from Mile 150.00 to Southwest Pass is now 48 feet (14.63 meters)

Broken down by pilotage region, the current draft restriction for the Lower Mississippi River is as follows:
1. BAR Pilots – SWP to Pilottown (Mile 1.9 AHOP) Draft Recommendation: Max FW Draft is 49'
2. Crescent Pilots – Pilottown (Mile 1.9 AHOP) to Mile 104.7 AHOP Draft Recommendation: Max FW Draft is 48'
3. NOBRA Pilots - Mile 90.5 to Mile 150.0 AHOP: Max FW Draft is 48'.
3. NOBRA Pilots - Mile 150.0 to Mile 233.5 AHOP: Max FW Draft is 45'. Mile 180.0 to Mile 232.1 AHOP: Max FW Draft is 45’.
4. Federal Pilots (US Flag vessels) – SWP to Mile 233.5; Max FW Draft is 45’.

This one foot increase in the maximum recommended draft for this section of the river is the result of dredging by the US Army Corps of Engineers (US ACOE) as part of an expected four year project to increase the depth of the Lower Mississippi River from Southwest Pass to Baton Rouge to 50 feet. Further dredging to achieve that goal is expected.

2) October 2021 PMSA Issues Status Report - U.S. West Coast - selected articles
  • by  Vince Addington

OCTOBER 2021 The following is a limited selection of reports courtesy of the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association (PMSA).


Winter Anchorage Protocols at the Ports of LA and Long Beach
Last week the Marine Exchange of Southern California, US Coast Guard Sector LA/Long Beach, PMA and PMSA held a meeting with ocean carriers to discuss the need for changes to the anchorage protocols. The Marine Exchange advised everyone there were 109 total vessels at anchor. Of the 109 vessels, 79 are containers vessels (35 physically anchored plus 44 in holding areas). Due to the recent oil spill incident in Southern California, the Coast Guard is very concerned about safety and risks of another spill/incident due to heavy vessel congestion. The record level of vessels at anchorage/holding area is unsustainable and with winter weather arriving changes must be implemented to reduce the vessels in the harbor. Winter weather in Southern California usually starts November 1st and brings increased wind events of over 35 knots. The Marine Exchange and Coast Guard want the vessels to move outside the harbor area approximately 150 nm for safety. They also plan to reduce the number of anchorages to increase the distance between the vessels. During the meeting, ocean carriers expressed their concerns about vessels rushing into the San Pedro Bay to pass the 40 nm mark be in the queue for labor allocation. The Marine Exchange and Coast Guard want industry to find another method for vessel queuing and only allow vessels in the harbor if they have a berth assignment or pilot orders. A general consensus during the meeting was that a new process should be developed. The goal of this process is to have a fair and transparent method, monitored by a neutral 3rd party, optimize the vessel voyage saving fuel, reduce air emissions by not having vessels at anchor, and reduce the safety risks associated with congestion in the harbor. PMA Board set up a working group of experts to develop a solution. No changes to the existing process for allocation of labor will occur until the methodology is agreed upon.

San Pedro Bay Ports Convene Clean Air Action Plan Implementation Meeting
The topics for the recent Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP) stakeholder advisory meeting included the status of technology demonstrations, overview of current OGV Strategies and an update on the Clean Truck Fund Rate. The draft 2021 Feasibility Assessments for Drayage Trucks & Cargo Handling Equipment were also discussed, which will be an update to the initial 2018 Reports. With a timeframe of 2021-2024, progress was alluded to on many zero-emission (ZE) and near[1]zero emission technologies. While first targeting to release the final Assessments by the end of the year, the draft Assessments will now be released in Q4 2021. PMSA members, especially those involved in demonstrations, are encouraged to provide comments on first-hand experience with the pre-commercial technologies.

CARB Outlines Possible New Regulatory Measures for GHG Reductions
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) hosted a workshop to discuss possible measures for the 2022 State Implementation Plan (SIP). For vessels, CARB identified areas of State focus and areas of federal focus. Without much detail, areas for future State incentive or regulatory measures included cleaner engines or fuels than those required by EPA and IMO, at-anchor emissions reductions, reduced sailing speeds in California waters, and at-berth reductions from bulk and general cargo vessels. CARB also identified areas of federal focus: EPA advocacy for more stringent IMO emissions standards, coupled with national standards for clean fuels and clean vessels and a national vessel speed reduction program.

California Adopts Federal Ballast Water Discharge Standards
The State Lands Commission has adopted regulatory amendments that will implement the IMO/EPA D2 ballast water discharge standards for vessels calling California ports, which will become effective on January 1, 2022. Amendments include altered compliance dates, recordkeeping requirements and expands Commission rights for compliance assessment. An overview of amendments and access to the regulatory language is available here. The Commission will be holding two webinars on the new requirements, and is an opportunity to engage with staff, the first being November 18th. Interested parties should contact to register.

Port of Los Angeles Releases 2020 Air Emissions Inventory
The Port of Los Angeles (POLA) has published the latest annual Emissions Inventory Report for 2020. Last year saw a reduction of all emissions (DPM by 1%, NOx by 3%, SOx by 1% and GHG by <1%) compared to 2019. Over 9.2 million TEU’s were reported, down by 1% year-to-year. Compared to the standard EI baseline year of 2005, all of the 2023 emission reduction standard goals have been met ahead of schedule, while TEU’s are reported to have increased by 23%, producing impressive efficiency metrics.

For the first time, likely under pressure, POLA broke down vessel activities, including container, cruise and tankers, by month, comparing vessel calls of 2020 to 2019 in order to depict how Q4 2020 operations impacted emissions. The analysis showed a significant increase in vessel anchorage emissions. POLA also highlighted CARB’s emissions impact ‘analysis’ recently published, the very same report that organizations use to quote the adverse impacts the congestion has created. The ports are apparently working with CARB to further quantify impacts from anchorage emissions. As a result, pressure from environmental and community groups are growing over the perceived impact vessel emissions at anchorage, with increased calls for regulatory action.

The 2020 Emissions Inventory Report was not available for public consumption prior to the Board Hearing, but is now available at Air Emissions Inventory | Air Quality | Port of Los Angeles

Port of Long Beach Releases 2020 Air Emissions Inventory
The Port of Long Beach (POLB) has published the latest annual Emissions Inventory Report for 2020. Last year saw all of the 2023 CAAP Clean Air Goals achieved ahead of schedule. Emissions were reduced by 90% for DPM, 62% for NOx, SOx by 97% and GHG by 10%, compared to the baseline year of 2005.

For the first time, POLB included emission comparisons to the previous year, broken down to category. Overall, most emissions decreased compared to 2019. Total throughput was reported at 8.1 million TEU, an increase of 6%, while total vessel calls were down 11% and containership arrivals were up 2%, compared to 2019. Fifteen Tier III vessels called POLB in 2020. Some of the major impacts related to COVID-19 in the 2020 inventory were, expectedly, increased anchorage, less shore power usage, largely by cruise vessels, and the increased cargo throughput.

Contrasting from POLA recent inventory presentation, public commentary was largely quiet; of the two provided, one focused on the support of natural gas and deploying Low NOx trucks. Now that the San Pedro Bay Ports have published both of their inventories, it is expected that the next Clean Air Action Plan stakeholder implementation meeting will include a joint inventory presentation, presenting another opportunity for public and agency comments.

The 2020 Long Beach Emissions Inventory Report can be found at: Air - Port of Long Beach (

EPA Convenes VIDA Proposed Standards Meeting
The federal EPA convened an industry meeting on the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act proposed National Standards of Performance. With the change in administration, and perhaps pressure by certain sates and organizations to make the standards more stringent, there was a delay in finalizing the regulation in Q1 2021. The timeline for rulemaking will not be announced for another month or so. The rulemaking would streamline the various federal, state, and local requirements that currently apply to incidental discharges of commercial vessels. Once the EPA does adopt the National Standards of Performance, the Coast Guard will then be responsible to develop the implementation of and enforcement regulations for the standards prior to implementation.

Covid Relief Funding for California Ports
There is $250 million in COVID recovery funds for California ports impacted by the pandemic. Ports which rely on tourism will benefit most from this plan as they were impacted the hardest. State Lands Commission staff has worked closely with the department of finance to develop an application process and is now accepting recovery fund requests through November 8th. All application material has been provided to all 11 ports in California and is available online on the Commission’s website. The committee will consider initial disbursements at their next meeting December 8th.

State Board of Pilot Commissioners Continues to Work on a Rate setting Reform Proposal, Targets November for Completion of a Draft
The state Board of Pilot Commissioners (BOPC) ad hoc Committee to propose rate setting reforms continues to meet and has set a goal of reaching agreement on a submission of the recommendations to the full Board for a vote by its meeting in November. The Committee will propose to remove the state legislature from the rate setting process, but to replace it with a process that includes an Administrative Law Judge. Still left to be decided is the extent of the role and control to be exercised by the BOPC itself. Industry has proposed that any new process be completely administered independently of the BOPC. PMSA staff will continue to advocate for rates set by a neutral, objective, third party.

Washington State

Use of Anchorages Picked Up With Storms; Vessel at Entrance to Strait of Juan de Fuca Loses Containers and Catches on Fire
With the queue moved from the pilot station at Port Angeles to offshore based on terminal vessel call forecast of 3 to 4 weeks, vessels have decided to slow steam and/or drift offshore; that change has been successful in reducing pressure on anchorages but not when storms systems keep piling up. Multiple low pressures systems (offshore, in the Aleutian Islands, Mid-Pacific) with high winds generated significant seas and wind. Many vessels that were offshore made anchorage reservations and moved into safe harbor or into the calmer Strait of Juan de Fuca where the Vessel Traffic Service monitored vessels doing “racetracks”, slowly moving inbound and then turning back outbound. Some vessels remained at sea including several bound for Vancouver. One vessel lost over 100 containers just off the entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca, then caught on fire and required some evacuation and emergency response. PMSA has repeatedly called out the approaching weather months and need to make safety-based decisions which would lead to more anchorage use rather than remaining at sea. There are also two lay berths available in Seattle, but no carrier has opted for this yet despite potential modification of dockage fees (please contact Captain Moore with any interest in use of the lay berths PMSA (and the Coast Guard) continue to brief concerned citizens as well as interested federal and state members of Congress on this situation. Clearly, some constituents want elected officials to take action to limit the location/number of anchorages… PMSA remains fully engaged in this issue. PMSA participated in a media availability session providing a brief and answering media questions along with the Co-Presidents of the NWSA and the Captain of the Port.

2021 Election Update
Washington State’s all mail-in ballots are due by Tuesday, November 2nd. This campaign season has featured a number of important local races, including port commissioners in Tacoma and Seattle. PMSA is supporting all six incumbents in both ports.

The good news is the Seattle Times endorsed all three incumbent Seattle Port Commission candidates supported by PMSA. In particular, the endorsements came at a good time for Stephanie Bowman and Peter Steinbrueck who face tough opponents. The Ryan Calkins race is not competitive and his opponent is not campaigning or raising money.

City of Seattle Races – The Last Poll of the Campaign
A new poll of city races was released late this month from the Northwest Progressive Institute (NPI). The NPI has conducted several polls this year, including one prior to the August primary. The races they are polling are the Mayor of Seattle, 2 city council positions, and the city attorney. The encouraging news is that the polling shows movement towards the Center and against the more far left incumbents. And while NPI did not poll the county-wide port commission races, we are hopeful that a surge of Moderate votes will help Bowman and Steinbrueck.

Mayor of Seattle
The Moderate choice for Mayor, Bruce Harrell, jumped to a 16-point lead in the NPI poll – with 48% of 617 likely 2021 voters saying they were voting for Harrell, while 32% said they were voting for González. 18% said they were not sure and 2% said they would not cast a vote.

City Council Position 8
In a blow to incumbent City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, she is only getting 39% of likely voters in the poll against a challenger who nobody has ever heard of. Mosqueda is a favorite of organized labor and lefty politics in Seattle. But because everyone thought she would win easily they have focused their support on the mayor’s race and apparently left her vulnerable. Her challenger, Kenneth Wilson, is polling at 31%. That leaves a high margin of undecided voters at 26%, with 3% not voting.

City Council Position 9
This is an open seat because the incumbent, Lorena Gonzalez, vacated it to run for Mayor. The Moderate in the race, Sara Nelson, is leading with 41% of voters, while 37% said they were voting for the far Left candidate, Nikkita Oliver. Oliver wants to cut the police department by 50% and abolish all jails. This is an extreme position, even in Seattle. 21% of those polled are undecided.

City Attorney Race
This is another open seat as the incumbent was defeated in the primary. The story of this race is self-styled Abolitionist, Nicole Thomas-Kennedy. She believes all police should be defunded, all jails closed, and a halt to any enforcement of misdemeanor crimes. She won the primary but began to falter after a series of violent tweets attacking police officers and cheering for property destruction. The latest poll has her at just 24%. Her challenger, Ann Davison, a relative unknown and a Republican, is polling at 43%.

Tacoma Tideflats Industrial Zoning Passes Another Milestone
The Tacoma City Council and Mayor Victoria Woodards received a briefing from the planning staff this month on the progress of the Non-Interim Regulations development. The planning effort has from the start been seen as an opportunity by environmental activists to restrict any fossil fuel business expansion in the Tideflats. It is modeled after a successful effort in the north part of Washington State, Bellingham, to require conditional use permitting on any proposal to expand fossil fuel production, transport, and use. The concern of many in the business community has been that the conditional use approach would be politicized and thereby, unpredictable and opaque.

Staff briefed the Mayor and Council that the consensus was to NOT pursue the conditional use pathway but rather limit the growth by percentage – 15 percent. There are also a number of exemptions in the rules, including modernization and the needs of the military at Joint Base Lewis McChord (JBLM). JBLM is actually the largest single user of fuels from the Tideflats. It was a rather tense debate between councilmembers. During public comment, environmental activists also expressed their displeasure with the draft rules.

After the final vote, the city will work with the county and Puyallup Tribe to develop the Subarea Plan which will override the Non-Interim Regulations. While the process is long, the combination of labor and industry organized by the South Sound Manufacturing Industrial Council has been effective with the City Council.

PMSA Comments on Emergency Response Towing Vessel Study for Waterways Around San Juan and Gulf Islands
The Washington State Legislature is requiring a study to determine if a tug stationed near the San Juan and Gulf Islands would reduce risk. The Department of Ecology solicited comments on the scope of work. PMSA submitted comments highlighting the need to better assess the probability of a drift grounding in these protected waterways and full consideration of all the mitigation measures available now to include tugs of opportunity in the area of study and actions the master/pilot can take when a vessel has suffered reduction/failure in propulsion and/or steering such as using the momentum for better positioning or anchoring. These and other factors have not been appropriately considered in discussions around staging and funding of an ERTV in this area. The main waterways serve Canadian ports and U.S. refineries. Laden tankers are already required to have tug escorts so no need for an ERTV in addition to escorts for those vessels and the tugs providing the escort are in the area during escort duties and repositioning. Nevertheless, some are convinced that there should be a tug stationed in the area paid by industry or the government. PMSA will remain fully engaged in this issue.

PMSA Submits Comments on Expansion of Tug Escort Requirements in Washington State Waters
PMSA highlighted the need for any tug escort study to fully update and acknowledge marine safety advancements made over the decades to reduce the risk of incidents/accidents that might be mitigated by a tug escort scheme. Tug escorts are designed to provide immediate response to situations involving a reduction or loss in propulsion and/or steering and in order to assess the need for tug escorts the study would have to identify incidents to justify the need. With a robust tug escort scheme in place for laden tankers and recently expanded to smaller tankers for some waterways, the focus will be on further expansion to other waterways, and some would like to include non-tank ships. There has been no drift grounding caused oil spills in over five decades of data and with all the continuous improvements made to the safety system the probability of such an incident is extremely low. Additionally, the only tanker collision that we have had in these waters was a tanker colliding with its own escort tug. The point being that requiring a lot more tugs, tug transits, emissions and noise has negative impacts that need to be fully considered as well. The politics and emotions around these issues are still intense even though the safety record is the strongest in the nation.

PMSA Submits Response in Support of Petition by TOTE to Amend the Puget Sound Pilotage Tariff
Earlier this year, TOTE submitted a petition to the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) to ask for an amendment to the recently adopted pilotage tariff for the Puget Sound. The petition stems from a billing dispute with the Puget Sound Pilots (PSP), where they surprised TOTE with new rates applied against a new vessel tonnage calculation which was not disclosed to ratepayers or the UTC Commissioners prior to final tariff adoption. PMSA was also surprised by the billing change that will yield unexpected pilot revenues of around $750,000 over 2021-2022 that they did not ask for, disclose in advance, or provide any testimony to support. Needless to say, PMSA is opposed to PSP creating de facto rate increases by changing its billing methodologies without prior approval by the UTC and this Friday we submitted a response that supports the TOTE amendment request. If members are interested in more background on this issue please contact Mike Moore in the Seattle office.

Puget Sound Pilots Seek to Require Two Pilots on Bulker Assignments Out of Tacoma
The pilots briefed a Board of Pilotage Commissioner Safety Committee this week that the five hours allocated for prep and travel for a Tacoma outbound assignment means that slower bulkers, primarily grains ships, with a longer bridge time will exceed 12 hours for assignments involving nighttime hours. They are intending to modify their rules to require that a second pilot board the vessel in-stream off of Seattle to relieve the first pilot. PMSA provided alternative suggestions as did the U.S. Shipping Commissioner. However, it appears the pilots will proceed with the change. PMSA will document the opportunity to consider other options particularly given the implications of adding more assignments, call backs and delays when other options can mitigate many of these assignments.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Yesterday, October 28th, Puget Sound Pilots unilaterally changed their guidelines as follows: “ Bulk Carriers departing Tacoma, where any part of the assignment falls within the night period of 0100 to 0459, shall exchange pilots in Elliott Bay or that proximity. This includes any assignment with a call time between 1300 and 0459. Note: Call time is five hours prior to assignment time.”

3) Fire in Vancouver B.C. halts rail service. delays to vessel loadouts expected.
  • by  Evan Jones

Per our colleagues at Wheelhouse Shipping in Vancouver B.C.

Kindly note, due to a fire occurring in Lytton, B.C., (abt. 275 KM North of Vancouver), the main rail line supplying cargo to coal and grain terminals in Vancouver is currently inoperable. This supply line runs directly through the village of Lytton, which was completely destroyed in the fire.

Currently, there are a large number of trains waiting to arrive at the Port of Vancouver. Both CN and CP Rail are working closely with Transport Canada and onsite inspectors, to determine the necessary steps to resume safe rail operations.

With rail impacts on terminal operations, vessel delays and heightened anchorage demand are expected. The Port of Vancouver is closely working with container terminal operators, railways, and government officials to understand the impacts of these delays on terminals operations and to develop a recovery plan.

We will continue to monitor the situation and keep you informed on any new developments as they arise.

Further information regarding this matter can be directed to Wheelhouse Shipping in Vancouver B.C. Email: / Phone: 604.891.5555

4) Draft Reduction on Lower Mississippi River - 46 Feet - May 05, 2021
  • by  Evan Jones


Please see below notice on reduced draft restriction for the Lower Mississippi River:

[Quote] From CRPPA: ================================= From: Mark Nelson Subject: Max Recommended Draft Date: May 5, 2021 at 1:23:09 PM CDT Captain Ron, Per the Safe Navigation Committee of Louisiana state-commissioned river port pilots: • Based on the current conditions, the maximum recommended freshwater draft is 46 feet effective immediately. Thanks. Regards, Mark Nelson CFO/COO Crescent River Port Pilots’ Association 504.392.5016 ================================= [End quote]

The reported reason is shoaling in the MM 11-12 area. Therefore, the present controlling draft for ALL foreign flag vessels has effectively been reduced to 46 Feet from SW Pass up to MM 180 until further notice. Beyond MM 180, draft restriction remains 45 feet. Below are the draft restrictions broken down by pilot zone fyr:
1. BAR Pilots – SWP to Pilottown (Mile 1.9 AHOP) Draft Recommendation: Max FW Draft is 47 feet
2. Crescent Pilots – Pilottown (Mile 1.9 AHOP) to Mile 104.7 AHOP Draft Recommendation: Max FW Draft is 46 feet
3. NOBRA Pilots - Mile 104.7 to Mile 180 AHOP: Max FW Draft is 47 Feet. Mile 180.0 to Mile 232.1 AHOP: Max FW Draft is 45 Feet.
4. Federal Pilots (U.S. Flag vessels) – SWP to Mile 233.5 AHOP : Max FW Draft is 45 feet. We will provide updates as available.

5) New Invasive Moth Species Identified By U.S. Customs
  • by  Evan Jones


Please note the following information received from U.S. Customs Field Office Sacramento on March 19, 2021, regarding a new invasive moth species:

NATCU has begun to alert on a new pest risk coming from South America. We had a couple of ships last week that were tagged for the new Argentina Water Moth inspection, and some of you were asking for more information. Unfortunately, there isn’t much because this is still very new.

At this point, there are no certifications required...Do note that action will be required if any are found.

(Additional information below)

The Argentina Water Moth (AWM), Paracles Azollae, is a relatively new threat that has only gained attention this past year. Accurate information regarding its habitat, feeding habits, range of activity within South America and more importantly, Agriculture threat should it be introduced here, is hard to find regarding this species in standard Google searches. However, their egg masses are easily confused with Asian Gypsy Moth (AGM) and can only be identified through DNA testing of the collected egg masses. Ships that are found to be infested with the moth’s eggs are treated the same as those found to be infested with AGM.USDA has determined the moth is actionable when found.

To try to mitigate time and resources consumed, if your ships have visited Argentina or neighboring ports in South America from August through February (the summer months of the southern hemisphere), please ask the crews prior to arrival to check over the ship for the egg masses and remove any encountered.

Do not throw overboard as these are aquatic moths. While salt water may destroy them, the caterpillars actually thrive in freshwater and may hatch into our rivers. AWM Larvae live and feed on Aquatic Plants particularly the Hyacinth that fills are rivers here in California. However, like most tenacious caterpillars, they may adapt to other aquatic plants should they run out of their favorite food, potentially placing native species and even our rice fields in danger.

We will alert you if your ship has been flagged for AWM inspection by the NACTU. Below are the images of the Argentina Water Moth along with actually photographs taken from a ship here in West Sacramento that was found to be covered in egg masses just this past May 2020.

[End Quote]

We will update all vessel owners, charterers, and operators with more information regarding the AWM as released by USDA/US Customs.


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