The articles excerpted on this site report on the state of the industry as seen by mainstream media, and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the officers of the ILWU Coast Longshore Division.

Bernie Sanders rallies to feature progressive U.S. Senators on May 3

U.S. Senators Tusli Gabbard and Bernie Sanders

U.S. Senators Tusli Gabbard and Bernie Sanders

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) and U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) are coming to Oregon on Tuesday, May 3 for a series of organizing meetings. Join us for a conversation about the issues that matter and meet with members of Congress who care:

Portland Rally with U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley
Tuesday, May 3 at 12:00 pm
The Park Blocks
1050 Southwest Park Avenue
Portland, OR 97205


Eugene Rally with U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley
Tuesday, May 3 at 4:00 pm
Bernie 2016 Eugene Office
2809 Friendly St.
Eugene, OR 97405


Salem Rally with U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley
Tuesday, May 3 at 6:30 pm
Oregon WWII Memorial
Court St NE & Cottage St NE
Salem, OR 97301


These events are free and open to the public. Doors open an hour prior to each event. Tickets are not required, but an RSVP is strongly encouraged. Admission is first come, first served.

Across the country, thousands of people are coming out to be a part of the Bernie Sanders movement. Together, we are uniting to say, “Enough is enough. It’s time to take back our country from the billionaire class.”

Source: Oregon for Bernie


Farm, ranch groups ask Congress to reject Trans-Pacific Partnership

One hundred sixty-one food, farm, faith and rural organizations have sent a letter to Capitol Hill urging lawmakers to reject The Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact.

“The main beneficiaries of the TPP are the companies that buy, process and ship raw agricultural commodities, not the farmers who face real risks from rising import competition. TPP imports will compete against U.S. farmers who are facing declining farm prices that are projected to stay low for years,” the organizations wrote.

The White House has promoted the TPP as an export-boon for farmers to generate support for the agreement, but past trade agreements have not always delivered on export promises, the letter noted.

“The TPP places the interests of international corporations ahead of American farmers and consumers,” said Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance Executive Director Judith McGeary. “Our laws should be decided by our elected officials, not unelected international bureaucrats who have already said that we don’t even have the right to know where our food comes from.”

The letter and complete list of signers can be read at http://fwwat.ch/1qQ3Ux0.

More at the Mineral Wells Index


New study raises safety concerns over new Panama Canal locks

[Para leer en español, seleccione aquí]

An independent safety study into the Panama Canal expansion, which was commissioned by the ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) and released this morning at a press conference in Panama City, has raised pressing concerns about the canal’s new locks.

The ITF commissioned the study, which was carried out by Brazil’s Fundação Homem de Mar (FHM), in response to safety concerns raised by its Panamanian member unions (see http://goo.gl/TdcK5Y). FHM was tasked with preparing a mathematical model, using a Manoeuvring Simulator Class A, to recreate the new locks, a neo-Panamax vessel and the tugboats that would assist its manoeuvres.

The concerns raised by the unions centred on the Panama Canal Administration’s refusal to engage in dialogue on matters such as training, as well as the technical and construction issues that have led to delays in the operation of the new infrastructure. They have been borne out by the study’s simulation exercises. These, using a neo-Panamax model vessel and two tugboats, concluded that the safety of manoeuvrability is compromised due to several factors:

  • The locks’ dimensions are too small for safe operation (with both gates closed);
  • There are no refuge areas for the tugboats inside the locks, leaving no room for failure (human error, miscommunication, broken lines or engine failure);
  • The bollard pull is insufficient;
  • In terms of manoeuvrability in the locks, the control of the vessel was compromised under the average environmental conditions present in that geographic area (data provided by the contracting party). The main reasons were the low power of the tugboats and the required bollard pull. With milder conditions the exercise was concluded safely.
  • The study recommends that a complete risk analysis and special training should be carried out to avoid any accidents that may result in loss of life or pollution.

The full study can be seen at a http://goo.gl/17QF2K. A video of a simulated transit can be seen at https://youtu.be/yBQNtQLAdkg and below.

The study’s conclusions were released this morning at a press conference in Panama City attended by leading representatives of trade unions, safety and maritime organisations, as well as government representatives.

The ITF, like its Panamanian member unions, has previously offered to work with the Panama Canal Authority (PCA) to ensure that the safety concerns of those who will work on the new infrastructure are addressed, and is making the study available to the PCA.

Speaking from Panama City, ITF general secretary Steve Cotton said: “I wish I could report that the study gave the new locks the all clear. Sadly, I can’t. Instead we face a situation where those working on the canal, and those passing through it, are potentially at risk. That will have to change.”

“The study was based on the PCA’s original plan to use one forward tug and one aft tug. We understand that compensatory alternatives are being examined, which we welcome.”

He continued: “The issues identified in this study will not be a surprise to workers on the canal. Unfortunately their expertise and experience have up to now been snubbed. Thankfully they’re still on offer. Those who’ll be working these locks have to be brought into the process, while there’s still time to fix the defects.

“We share our affiliated unions’ concerns and we can assure that The ITF and its canal affiliates want the new canal to be safe and to work. The Panama Canal is crucial for the international maritime industry. We offer our full support to make this important maritime route safe for all those who transit it or work on it, and for a positive engagement between unions and the PCA.”

He concluded: “We believe that this is an issue where there is common ground with shipowners, insurers and others in the maritime industry, so we will seek to engage them in the discussions and strategies for improvement in this crucial area and may also consider updating the simulation to cover new manoeuvring alternatives in co-operation with the PCA, as well as other shipping industry representatives.”

Source: ITF news release


Un nuevo estudio suscita preocupación por la seguridad de las nuevas esclusas del canal de Panamá

[To read in English, click here]

Un nuevo estudio independiente sobre la seguridad de la ampliación del canal de Panamá, —encargado por la Federación Internacional de los Trabajadores del Transporte (ITF) y que se acaba de hacer público esta mañana en una conferencia de prensa celebrada en la ciudad de Panamá—, suscita una apremiante preocupación por las nuevas esclusas del canal.

La ITF encargó el estudio a la fundación brasileña Fundação Homem de Mar (FHM), para dar respuesta a las preocupaciones señaladas por sus sindicatos afiliados de Panamá (véase http://goo.gl/oFOo2K). La FHM ha elaborado un modelo matemático, utilizando un Simulador de Maniobras de Clase A, que permite realizar una recreación de las nuevas esclusas, con un barco de la clase neo-Panamax y dos remolcadores que le ayudan a realizar sus maniobras.

Los sindicatos manifestaron sus preocupaciones cuando la Administración del Canal de Panamá (ACP) rehusó mantener con ellos un diálogo sobre cuestiones como la capacitación, los aspectos técnicos o los problemas en la construcción —cuestiones que provocaron ya varios retrasos en la puesta en marcha de la nueva infraestructura—. Dichas preocupaciones han sido avaladas por los ejercicios de simulación realizados para elaborar este estudio que, utilizando un barco modelo neo-Panamax y dos remolcadores, concluye que la seguridad de la maniobrabilidad se ve comprometida debido a varios factores:

  • La dimensión de las esclusas es demasiado pequeña para operar de manera segura (con ambas puertas cerradas).
  • No existen zonas de refugio para los remolcadores dentro de las esclusas, lo cual no deja lugar a fallo alguno (error humano, falta de comunicación, corte en las líneas o fallo de motor).
  • La tracción a punto fijo es insuficiente.
  • En términos de maniobrabilidad en las esclusas, el control del buque se vio comprometido debido a las condiciones medioambientales promedio características de esa zona geográfica (datos suministrados por la parte contratante). La escasa potencia de los remolcadores y la tracción a punto fijo requerida son las principales razones para ello. Bajo condiciones más benignas, el ejercicio fue concluido de manera segura.
  • El estudio recomienda realizar un análisis de riesgo completo y ofrecer una capacitación especial para evitar accidentes que puedan provocar la pérdida de vidas humanas o contaminación.

Adjuntamos el estudio, que puede también consultarse en la página web http://goo.gl/17QF2K. Pueden ver un video con una simulación del tránsito a través del canal en https://youtu.be/yBQNtQLAdkg y también abajo.

Las conclusiones del estudio se hicieron públicas esta mañana en una conferencia de prensa convocada en la ciudad de Panamá a la que asistieron destacados representantes sindicales y de organizaciones marítimas y de seguridad, así como representantes del gobierno.

La ITF, al igual que sus sindicatos panameños afiliados, ya ofreció su colaboración a la ACP para abordar las preocupaciones manifestadas por quienes trabajarán en la nueva infraestructura y ha puesto a su disposición el nuevo estudio.

Desde la ciudad de Panamá, Steve Cotton, secretario general de la ITF, ha declarado: “Ojalá pudiera decir que el estudio da luz verde a las nuevas esclusas. Lamentablemente, no puedo. Nos enfrentamos a una situación de riesgo potencial para quienes trabajan en el canal y para quienes lo transitan. Esto tendrá que cambiar”.

“El estudio se basó en el proyecto original de la ACP de utilizar un transbordador de popa y un transbordador proa. Según tenemos entendido, ahora se están examinando alternativas compensatorias, lo cual acogemos con agrado”.

Y añade: “Los problemas identificados en este estudio no sorprenderán a los trabajadores y trabajadoras del canal. Lamentablemente, su experiencia y conocimiento han sido menospreciados hasta ahora. Afortunadamente, los trabajadores y trabajadoras siguen tendiendo la mano. Es imprescindible que se cuente con las personas que van a trabajar en estas esclusas mientras aún hay tiempo para solucionar las deficiencias”.

“Compartimos las preocupaciones de nuestros sindicatos afiliados y podemos asegurarles que la ITF y sus afiliados del canal quieren que el nuevo canal sea un lugar seguro para trabajar. El canal de Panamá es crucial para la industria marítima internacional. Ofrecemos todo nuestro apoyo para garantizar la seguridad de esta importante ruta marítima para todos los que la transitan o trabajan en ella, y para que haya una colaboración positiva entre los sindicatos y la ACP”.

“Creemos que los armadores, aseguradoras y otros actores de la industria marítima tienen un interés común en solucionar este problema, por eso intentaremos que se involucren en las discusiones y estrategias para mejorar la seguridad; podríamos también considerar ampliar la simulación para cubrir nuevas alternativas de maniobrabilidad, en cooperación con la ACP y con otros representantes de la industria naval”, concluye.

Fuente: ITF


Search team finds El Faro’s missing voyage data recorder

From gCaptain:

El Faro NTSB photo

El Faro NTSB photo

The National Transportation Safety Board says a search team has located the El Faro’s missing voyage data recorder in 15,000 feet of water about 41 miles northeast of Acklins and Crooked Islands, Bahamas.

The find is likely going to be a major breakthrough in the investigation into the loss of the American cargo, assuming the VDR can be recovered and data about the ship’s final voyage can be retrieved from the device.

The 790-foot, U.S.-flagged, cargo ship sank October 1, 2015, during Hurricane Joaquin while sailing from Jacksonville, Florida, to San Juan, Puerto Rico. All 33 crewmembers aboard were killed in the accident.

More at gCaptain


Exporters aim to capitalize on Oakland port’s stronger rail link

From the Journal of Commerce:

Exports in the first quarter of 2016 increased 19.9 percent compared with the first three months of 2015, according to statistics published on the port’s website. As is normally the case, Oakland’s exports were higher than imports.

Oakland is proceeding with its multi-year plans to redevelop the former Oakland Army Base in the middle of the port into a logisticscenter for exports, imports and transload facilities, and is further expanding rail access to the site. Capital Feed, therefore, plans to expand its existing export operations and will also add to the types of imported commodities it ships through Oakland.

More at the JOC


20 tanker cars derail near Port of Tacoma; no spills or injuries

KOMO news photo of Tacoma rail car derailment

KOMO news photo of Tacoma rail car derailment

About 20 tanker cars derailed Friday morning near the Port of Tacoma, but there were no injuries or spills, officials said.

Firefighters responded to the scene, near Lincoln Avenue and Taylor Way, at about 9:15 a.m. Friday after receiving reports of a derailment.

Fire officials said about 20 ethanol tanker cars had come off the tracks and several had tipped over. The train cars were all empty at the time, and there is no threat.

A fire official at the scene said the cars had somehow derailed on a slow-speed curve.

More at KOMO News


Oregon longshore workers: Don't be left out of the primary; check your voting status online today

Don’t be left out of the primary election!

Oregon has a closed primary — that means only voters registered with a party may be able to vote in that party’s primary. If you intend to vote, know that April 26 is your last chance to register as a party member and vote on May 17.

Fortunately, it’s easy to register and update registration:

ILWU members and friends are invited and encouraged to attend the rally in support of Senator Bernie Sanders on May 3. Join us at the Park Blocks in Portland. See you there!

Bernie rally in Portland May 3


Panama Canal Authority takes reservations for expanded locks

Expanded Panama Canal locks to open in June 2016

Expanded Panama Canal locks to open in June 2016

Excerpts from the Wall Street Journal:

The Panama Canal Authority has started taking reservations for transit through the canal’s new wider, deeper locks, which are slated to open June 27.

Many of today’s oceangoing vessels are too big to fit through the 100-year-old waterway’s locks, some stretches of which taper to as little as 110 feet wide. In a statement Monday, the Canal Authority said the first reservation through the new canal was granted to a 120-foot wide liquefied petroleum gas tanker owned by Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha, known as NYK Line.

On the first day of accepting reservations, 25 mega-vessels that wouldn’t have fit through old locks were able to reserve passage through the new, wider canal.

More at the Wall Street Journal


Carnival Corp. to remain dominant through 2026

Carnival in Long Beach

Carnival in Long Beach

From Cruise Industry News:

Carnival Corporation will retain its leading market share going forward, with more than 40 percent of the global cruise market by 2026, but down from 44.3 percent this year, according to the 2016-2017 Cruise Industry News Annual Report. Meanwhile, MSC Cruises will double its market share.

The erosion of Carnival’s market share is due to the expansion of the industry with aggressive newbuilding programs by the other major cruise companies, and the entry of start-up Virgin Cruises.

Royal Caribbean, which has an estimated market share of 24.5 percent this year, will also erode slightly to 21.9 percent. MSC Cruises, however, will jump from 6.8 percent this year to 12.9 percent by 2026, attributed to its aggressive newbuild program. Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, which has a 9.1 percent market share this year, will stay relatively flat at 8.7 percent.

More at Cruise Industry News


Guatemala former President alledgedly accepted bribes from port terminal operator

From BBC:

Guatemala's former president Otto Perez Molina and his vice-president, Roxana Baldetti, took at least $25m in bribes from a Spanish port company, an anti-corruption commission alleges.

Guatemala’s former president Otto Perez Molina started the approval process for the $225m port project immediately after his election in November 2011.

Guatemala’s former president Otto Perez Molina and his vice-president, Roxana Baldetti, took at least $25m in bribes from a Spanish port company, an anti-corruption commission alleges.

The firm, TCB, won a contract to operate a new container terminal on Guatemala’s Pacific coast for 25 years.

Mr Perez Molina was arrested in September after standing down amid anti-corruption protests.

Attorney General Thelma Aldana said Mr Perez Molina started the approval process for the $225m project immediately after his election in November 2011. There were no competing bids.

Mr Perez Molina and Ms Baldetti “formed a criminal group”, Ms Aldana added.

She made the announcement alongside the head of the UN-backed International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), Ivan Velasquez, who headed the investigation.

The Spanish executive in charge of the local branch of TCB (Terminal de Contenedores Barcelona), Juan Jose Suarez, has been arrested.

Note: APM Terminals has purchased TCB. See the APMT release here.

More at BBC


With Tacoma off the table, Chinese methanol plans focus on two Columbia River ports

From Natural Gas Intel:

Multi-billion-dollar plans for three natural gas-consuming methanol plants in the Pacific Northwest were scaled back Tuesday to two plants as the largest proposed facility at Port of Tacoma, WA, was scrapped by the developer, a China-based consortium.

Northwest Innovation Works (NWIW) officials said they were terminating their lease for a site on the tide flats with the port following the completion of a “careful review and evaluation” during a pause in the project’s environmental review earlier this year.

NWIW President Vee Godley said the methanol plant developer is still committed to developing its other two proposed sites in the region: Port of Kalama in Washington along the Columbia River, and a second $1.8 billion proposed plant at Port of St. Helens on an 83-acre site at Port Westward, on the Oregon side of the river.

More at Natural Gas Intel


China wants ships to use faster Arctic route opened by global warming

Northwest Passage

In 2014, Bulk Carrier Nunavik became the first cargo ship to make an unescorted voyage through the Northwest Passage. Image: Fednav

China will encourage ships flying its flag to take the Northwest Passage via the Arctic Ocean, a route opened up by global warming, to cut travel times between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, a state-run newspaper said on Wednesday.

China is increasingly active in the polar region, becoming one of the biggest mining investors in Greenland and agreeing a free trade deal with Iceland. In 2013, the Arctic Council admitted emerging powers China and India as observers.

More at Vessel Finder


Hapag-Lloyd to merge with UASC after secret talks with Gulf owners

Hapag-Lloyd is to merge with UASC. The news follows the Dubai-headquartered carrier being excluded from the new Ocean Alliance announced yesterday.

The merger was first reported online by German monthly business magazine Manager Magazin yesterday, saying “secret negotiations between the two sides are close to a conclusion”.

Hapag-Lloyd has a fleet capacity of around 920,000 teu, ranking it the sixth-largest global carrier, while UASC operates approximately 550,000 teu, ranking it tenth. Their combined fleet will propel the new entity fifth in the rankings, just behind Cosco.

More at The Loadstar


ITF top level board praises Panama papers release and exposure of injustice and wrongdoing

Commenting on the continuing furore over the release of the Panama papers, ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) president Paddy Crumlin said: “Cover up, silence, secrecy, zero accountability. Those are what these leaks have exposed. For those who have campaigned against flags of convenience (FOCs) in shipping, these new facts, shocking though they are, will not come as a total surprise.

“Since 1948 our organisation has fought against FOCs. Panama was the first of these. It’s now the biggest. The whole FOC system is based on a culture of secrecy and lack of accountability. It is a global system of pushing money around, using brassplate companies and tax havens, money laundering and tax evasion. Those who can afford the most are paying the least. The innocent are going unprotected, the guilty are going scot free.”

Mr Crumlin was speaking from a meeting of the ITF executive board in London, which joined him in stating the case against the lack of oversight and accountability enshrined in the FOC system and vividly underlined by the release of the Panama papers.

The executive board praised the exposure of institutionalised injustice and wrongdoing made possible by the release of the papers and condemned FOCs for their lack of the genuine link between a ship’s owner and the flag it flies (the genuine link is the central principle behind the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea). FOCs offer anonymity, a dangerous lack of transparency, cheap registration fees, low or no taxes and freedom from oversight.”

Source: ITF