Ship Breaks Loose at Port of BellinghamPermalink +
Tue, Dec 09, 2014, 1:31 pm // John Servais
Snappy NWCitizen photography correspondent Doug Starcher provides these photos. He said it was a slow motion train wreck - with the ship breaking away mid morning in the high winds and slowly twisting on its stern lines to be broadside to the wind and nudge up against the bottom of Bellingham Bay.
According to the Bellingham Herald article, the cause was the ripping out of the wharf of the cleats the ship's mooring lines were attached to.
Two tugs arrived late morning and started pulling the bow of the ship off the bottom. While winds were officially measured as 67 mph at the airport, which means the wind was over 70 mph at the ship and possibly hurricane strength of 74 mph. By late morning, the wind and gusts were down to 20 and 30 mph, making the pulling of the ship more feasible.
By one pm, it appears the ship is again moored to the wharf.
A bit of information and commentary on this ship and pier.
We have wondered for years why this empty ocean freighter stayed tied to this pier. I learned recently that the company uses it as a cheater to slip through a loophole in U.S. shipping laws - known as the Jones Act. As this ship was built in the United States, it counts toward their fleet which has foreigh built ships. U.S. laws are slanted toward firms that own U. S. built ships. So this old rust bucket with no service life left in her has been rotting at our Port of Bellingham pier for over 5 years now - and counting. But the shipping company can claim her as a member if its fleet of ships.
Because the waterway has not been dredged in decades, the ship rests on the bottom of the shallow shipping channel during low tides. I won a nice bet with a port commissioner on that little factoid. They don't like to admit to such idiocy at the port. Also, the wharf itself is a rotting mess, with patchwork repairs over the decades. In 1992 I was amazingly appointed to the "2015" committee of the port, which was tasked with studying and recommending what capital improvements were needed. After a few meetings we became aware of how decrepit this wharf was and the port proceeded to disband the committee before any further embarrassing facts were revealed.
One of the problems we learned was that if the channel were to be dredged to its proper and original depth, then the pier would fall over into the channel. Back 10 years ago, when an occasional ship did dock here to pick up cargo, it had to be towed away from the dock to deeper water when the tide was low. This became very expensive for shipping companies - moving a ship in and out once or twice a day. So - the port took the quiet easy way out. They stopped using the pier for ships. And this hulk showed up to occupy the now useless for shipping pier.
What looks like a fine ocean going freighter at a fine cargo dock - is actually a totally useless ship at a useless pier. But, as can be seen from the screen shot of the Port of Bellingham website today, the port continues to use photos of the ship and dock to imply that Bellingham has an active shipping terminal.
Tue, Dec 09, 2014, 1:31 pm // John ServaisThe Horizon Lines ship - the many year resident of the Port of Bellingham - broke loose this morning due to failure of some system. A few photos.
3 comments; last on Dec 10, 2014
Tue, Jan 14, 2014, 3:19 pm // Guest writerDo we actually need to say that we, as citizens, want accurate information from government officials?
1 comments; last on Jan 14, 2014
Paper Dreams in Fairhaven
Fri, Dec 20, 2013, 4:56 pm // Wendy HarrisA Port of Bellingham internal memo tries, but fails, to justify changes in cost estimates for alternative marina sites.
5 comments; last on Dec 22, 2013
Sat, Dec 07, 2013, 1:33 pm // Wendy HarrisLocal activist calls on Bellingham City Council to table the unpopular waterfront plans and engage in meaningful public process
2 comments; last on Dec 08, 2013
Thu, Dec 05, 2013, 12:58 pm // John ServaisThe Political Junkie has posted a 3 minute video showing Bellingham City Council members explaining their idiocy for all of us to watch.
2 comments; last on Dec 06, 2013
Wed, Dec 04, 2013, 11:53 am // John ServaisBellingham City Council and Port of Bellingham finalize the waterfront plan. In his weekly Gristle, Tim Johnson blasts the corrupt public process.
4 comments; last on Dec 05, 2013
Fri, Nov 22, 2013, 10:01 pm // Wendy HarrisIf the port can not construct the airport safely, should it be entrusted with dangerous waterfront cleanup work?
Tue, Nov 12, 2013, 11:21 am // Riley SweeneyRiley crunches the numbers on Renata and McAuley's races to find answers
2 comments; last on Nov 13, 2013
Tue, Nov 05, 2013, 9:21 pm // John ServaisWith lots of outside county money flowing in to our local races, this election is weird. But real - and we county residents have spoken.
11 comments; last on Nov 09, 2013
Sun, Oct 20, 2013, 8:07 pm // John ServaisKen Bell has my vote over Mike McAuley for port commissioner. And Renata Kowalczyk has it over Dan Robbins.
8 comments; last on Oct 30, 2013
Wed, Oct 02, 2013, 6:40 am // Riley SweeneyRiley uncovers how the Coal Industry is funding conservative candidates in Whatcom County
11 comments; last on Oct 03, 2013
Sat, Sep 28, 2013, 6:05 pm // Wendy HarrisThe city and port have not addressed wildlife impacts from waterfront development and this should be done before a waterfront plan is enacted.
Thu, Sep 19, 2013, 7:08 am // Riley SweeneyRiley examines who is donating to which candidates
Fri, Jun 28, 2013, 7:29 am // Riley SweeneyRiley Sweeney examines Sen. Ericksen's legislative methods
Fri, May 17, 2013, 5:44 pm // John ServaisTuesday morning and nothing in today's Bellingham Herald. Nor online. We provide the basics to fill in this latest omission by our "daily" newspaper.
9 comments; last on May 23, 2013
Tue, Mar 26, 2013, 9:59 pm // Wendy HarrisThe City Planning Department has included a technical document in the waterfront proposal without disclosing important impacts.
1 comments; last on Mar 30, 2013
Tue, Feb 19, 2013, 10:40 pm // Wendy HarrisAn "Updated Preferred Alternative" reduces the number of waterfront jobs and expands the boundary of the waterfront district.
Sun, Nov 04, 2012, 10:21 am // Paul deArmondThe Whatcom county Voters’ Pamphlet containing misleading and untrue statements by unregistered, unaccountable and anonymous front groups.
3 comments; last on Nov 06, 2012
Wed, Oct 31, 2012, 8:29 am // Riley SweeneyHere's your shot at fame and glory as a political pundit
4 comments; last on Nov 02, 2012
Tue, Oct 02, 2012, 12:07 am // Guest writerHarriet Spanel and Ken Hertz on why we should vote YES to increase the Port of Bellingham to 5 commissioners.
3 comments; last on Oct 05, 2012
Mon, Aug 20, 2012, 9:00 am // Riley SweeneyRiley sits down with Matt Petryni with Power Past Coal to get the latest scoop
Sat, Aug 04, 2012, 12:18 am // John ServaisGraphics projected on building each night in effort to bring attention to threatened building
3 comments; last on Aug 11, 2012
Wed, Jun 27, 2012, 1:46 pm // John ServaisA special - short notice - Port of Bellingham Commission meeting on Thursday, June 28 starting at 8:30 a.m.
6 comments; last on Jul 03, 2012
Sun, Jun 17, 2012, 9:52 am // Paul deArmondPort Commissioner Scott Walker and attorney Frank Chmelik get caught ballot-rigging again
20 comments; last on Jun 21, 2012
Mon, Jun 04, 2012, 5:51 pm // John ServaisPort Commissioners plan to change their Port Expansion resolution on Tuesday - based on advice from port attorney Chmelik. No notice of this item on the agenda.
6 comments; last on Jun 05, 2012
Wed, May 16, 2012, 4:15 pm // John ServaisIn today's Cascadia Weekly, Tim Johnson analyses the Port Commissioner meeting and the shenanigans of Walker and Chmelik.
Mon, May 14, 2012, 6:07 pm // John ServaisPort Commissioners McAuley and Jorgensen voted to put on November ballot the question of expanding commission from 3 to 5 members.
5 comments; last on May 15, 2012
Wed, May 09, 2012, 6:11 am // John ServaisToday's Cascadia Weekly rips the Port staff on changed waterfront plans and sees 5 commissioners as possible solution to poor decision making.
2 comments; last on May 10, 2012
Thu, May 03, 2012, 9:23 pm // John ServaisThe Joe Show had John Servais on the air for a full hour on Thursday - and we link to the pod cast.
3 comments; last on May 05, 2012
Tue, May 01, 2012, 10:24 am // John ServaisBellingham Port Reform has a Facebook page, courtesy of Tip Johnson.
1 comments; last on May 02, 2012
Tue, May 01, 2012, 9:34 am // John ServaisPort of Bellingham signed lease a month ago to hoopla and now the boat builder is exiting for Anacortes.
11 comments; last on May 08, 2012
Mon, Apr 30, 2012, 10:54 pm // John ServaisSeveral people will be urging the Port of Bellingham commissioners to place the question of expanding to 5 commissioners on the ballot.
Sat, Apr 28, 2012, 10:09 am // John ServaisA county wide initiative will allow voters to decide whether to expand the Port of Bellingham commission from 3 to 5 commissioners.
1 comments; last on Apr 28, 2012
Tue, Apr 24, 2012, 9:25 am // John ServaisToday's Bellingham Herald carries an article from Sheldon, with facts, falsehoods and his perspective on his forced resignation as Executive Director of the Port of Bellingham.
Wed, Apr 18, 2012, 12:28 pm // John ServaisA 26 minute video of the port commissioners explaining their positions on the firing of executive director Charlie Sheldon is posted.
7 comments; last on Apr 19, 2012
Tue, Apr 17, 2012, 12:51 pm // John ServaisAt 3 p.m. today - Tuesday, April 17 - the Port of Bellingham meets. Let's attend and support rehiring Charlie Sheldon.
3 comments; last on Apr 18, 2012
Fri, Apr 13, 2012, 5:47 pm // John ServaisFriday update: Herald reports Jim Jorgensen could change his mind on firing of Port of Bellingham Executive Director Charlie Sheldon
3 comments; last on Apr 17, 2012
Tue, Apr 10, 2012, 8:52 pm // John ServaisAn illegal serial Port Commission meeting should be investigated by the State Auditor, and two commissioners should be made accountable for their actions.
5 comments; last on Apr 11, 2012
Thu, Apr 05, 2012, 4:00 pm // John ServaisAn Online petition has been posted where citizens can sign on to request the Port Commissioners revote on Charlie Sheldon's termination.
5 comments; last on Apr 06, 2012
Wed, Apr 04, 2012, 3:16 pm // John ServaisState law allows us to pass an initiative and increase the number of port commissioners from three to five. Thanks to Harriet Spanel.
4 comments; last on Apr 05, 2012
Tue, Apr 03, 2012, 6:25 pm // John ServaisPort Commissioner Mike McAuley did everything he could do to change Jim Jorgensen's mind. Jim and Scott Walker forced Charlie Sheldon out.
6 comments; last on Apr 06, 2012
Mon, Apr 02, 2012, 12:35 pm // John ServaisThis morning, Charlie Sheldon, unexpectedly resigned as Executive Director of the Port of Bellingham.
10 comments; last on Apr 03, 2012
Tue, Jan 31, 2012, 9:36 am // Paul deArmondPort Commissioner Scott Walker and attorney Frank Chmelik get caught ballot-rigging again
Wed, Nov 09, 2011, 10:31 am // John ServaisWill close races shift to the other candidate? Just how many ballots are left to count? When will we know for sure?
1 comments; last on Nov 09, 2011
Wed, Oct 19, 2011, 9:16 pm // John ServaisCharlie Sheldon shifts Port staff to help economic development of private business and to support needed infrastructure.
4 comments; last on Oct 23, 2011
Wed, Oct 19, 2011, 1:13 am // John ServaisBellingham Port Commissioner Scott Walker motioned for the port to ask Executive Director Charlie Sheldon to resign.
5 comments; last on Oct 20, 2011
Thu, Sep 08, 2011, 10:37 am // Riley SweeneyLook at the title, it spells it out.
6 comments; last on Sep 12, 2011
Thu, Jun 23, 2011, 8:30 am // Wendy HarrisTime is running out for public comment on the Port's proposal to use toxic waste as a cap at waterfront re-development site.
5 comments; last on Jul 02, 2011
Wed, Jun 01, 2011, 5:32 pm // Guest writerGuest writer Mark Flanders' call to action for June 1 flash mob at coal port meeting
7 comments; last on Jun 09, 2011
Fri, Mar 25, 2011, 5:00 am // John ServaisCoal trains will probably pass Lynden on their way from Sumas to Cherry Point, after coming across on the Canadian rail roads.
16 comments; last on Aug 14, 2011
Thu, Feb 17, 2011, 7:30 pm // Guest writerGuest writer Doug Karlberg follows up with report from Tuesday's Port Commission meeting
7 comments; last on Feb 20, 2011
Mon, Feb 14, 2011, 7:35 pm // Guest writerWhy the price of moorage matters to all Whatcom County. A guest article by Doug Karlberg.
5 comments; last on Jun 30, 2011
Fri, Jul 16, 2010, 3:30 pm // John ServaisIn a surprise development, the Port of Bellingham is starting over again in their search for an executive director. Position now vacant for over a year.
1 comments; last on Jul 18, 2010
Wed, Apr 21, 2010, 6:29 pm // John ServaisBellingham Herald reporting is skewed to foster desired opinions and hide facts
4 comments; last on Apr 23, 2010
Tue, Jan 05, 2010, 1:17 am // Tip JohnsonPort of Bellingham in the news
Wed, Nov 25, 2009, 1:25 pm // Tip Johnson
Paul de Armond's recent article about Leonard Zeskind's new book, "Blood and Poli
3 comments; last on Nov 29, 2009
Tue, Nov 24, 2009, 6:12 am // John ServaisSeems like the offices of Frank Chmelik, the attorney for the Port of Bellingham, are becoming our defacto Port offices. Instead of conferences and meetings at the Port,…
2 comments; last on Nov 25, 2009
Thu, Nov 05, 2009, 5:21 pm // John ServaisHow to make heads or tails of the election results. Bill Knutzen and Ken Mann with the highest margins of the County Council winners. Mike McAuley, a newcomer…
20 comments; last on Nov 12, 2009
Wed, Aug 26, 2009, 9:00 am // Ham HayesThe challenger for the Port Commissioner District 1 seat, John Blethen, has an uphill race ahead of him.
John is certainly to be congratulated for an excellent…
1 comments; last on Aug 26, 2009
Thu, Aug 20, 2009, 9:38 am // John ServaisThe big loser in Tuesday's election was the Bellingham Herald. Its influence took a tumble. It ignored the Port commissioner races in general and pointedly refused to even…
1 comments; last on Aug 20, 2009
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