By Bill Marhoffer, Captain, USCG (ret)

1.  USCG Training Center Yorktown now offers a Waterways Management course.  Mr. Mark Ogle is the course coordinator.

2.  Sector Maryland/NCR (Baltimore) is burning out boat crews providing safety and security zone enforcement for frequent bulk LNG cargo transfers at Cove Point.  75% of transfers are exports of North American LNG; 25% are imports.  State & County LE partners have dropped out of providing patrol vessels due to the excessive workload.  If the USCG establishes a safety or security zone, we have to be prepared to patrol and enforce it.

3.  USCG IT systems:  GIS access posture is being addressed by NAVCEN & OSC.  Units need to “show red” to demonstrate need.  We need to be able to back up Navigation Risk Assessments with data, and GIS can be valuable in enabling that.

4.  Sector Staffing Model is being “twilighted.” 

5.  MISLE allows entries for sub-activities.  There can be multiple sub-activities for one event (like America’s Cup).  Note:  Sector San Francisco handles 11,000 marine event permits per year, in addition to handling the highest number of SAR cases in the Coast Guard.

6.  CGHQ will restart periodic WWM teleconferences with Districts and Sectors.

7.  Kevin Oditt:  “You have to build partnerships before the events.” 

8.  RADM Paul Thomas, D8(d):  There are Triple Wicked Challenges to Maritime Governance:

            (1) Grow capacity (info systems, rule sets);

            (2) Reduce environmental impacts (all waste streams, ATON, resulting safety problems);

            (3) Increased complexity (cyber security, safety & environmental management systems)

            Regulations are an imperfect tool; used to level playing field, set a safety floor, rigid, reactive.

            Need to be proactive to address novelties:  LNG as fuel; cyber security.  Don’t wait for regulations to address your cyber threats!

              Review USCG Maritime Commerce Strategic Outlook.  Three USCG Lines of Effort: (1) Facilitate lawful trade; (2) Modernize ATON & marine information systems; (3) Transform workforce capacity & partnerships.

            11 USCG missions, but one purpose:  Maritime Governance = “Influence behavior of all stakeholders to maximize benefit to maritime domain and MTS to our nation.” 

            USCG Commandant ADM Schultz, “We are in the influence business.”

            Sweet spot is “Prevention through Collaboration.”  Harbor Safety Committees expand that sweet spot, enhancing MTS resilience.

            U.S. regulates by market failure in order to show need/benefit of regulating.  We need to develop rule sets in advance that can be incorporated into regs as consensus standards.  Example:  D8 Waterways Action Plans – non-regulatory, industry-driven, for high and low water levels on Western Rivers.

            Going forward, HSCs need to engage with issues across the board, not have a singular safety focus. 

            It’s all about keeping commerce moving! 

Session 1:  Future of Navigation & Shipping

CMTS:  Over 25 federal agencies engaged in the MTS

USACE MG Scott Spellman:

– 163 levee breaches so far this year
– How does USACE design flood control & navigation systems to deal with unprecedented floods and droughts?

CG-5P, RDML Rich Timme:  Industry will be tech early adopters.  Government will have to catch up.

– Focus on sustainability in maritime realm:  IMO 2020, IMO 2050 emission regs

NOAA RADM Shep Smith:  Developing HD electronic charts within ports

– Will have surface current flow forecasts days in advance.

AWO:  Involved in non-regulatory Waterways Action Plans for Western Rivers.

– Jones Act is a good filter for safety & security in the U.S. MTS (see book “Failure of Imagination”).

PVA:  Sharing waterways & congestion is a constant challenge; HSCs can be a key forum to address.

– Nationwide growth in illegal charter operations.

– Industry experiencing shortage of mariners.  PVA members are partnering with maritime academies.

NTSB:  Normally experience ~30 Major Marine Casualties per year; currently at ~50, due in part to high water on Western Rivers.

– Need to improve mariner info systems, make real-time & predictive, provide overlay on electronic charts.

– Need ships to provide real-time weather info back to NWS forecasters.

NOAA:  Best NOAA info can’t be transmitted to ships due to comms carrier limitations.  Need common data platform incorporating cybersecurity.

– Challenge of info delivery to maritime workforce.

– US navigation info system may be outdated, but it is the least outdated in the world (better than all others).

NTSB:  CLIA, PVA, AWO do a good job promoting standards among members.  A typical NTSB question is whether an operator is an industry association member.

RDML Timme:  What makes the USCG effective is the trust & confidence of the public & Congress in our organization.  If we ever lost that, we’d have real trouble performing our missions.

Panel on Innovative Technologies & Maritime Safety

Sea Machines developing autonomy command & control for commercial vessels.

– Autonomy necessary precursor to operate unmanned.

– Smart Oceans 2025 plan with global implications

– Incorporate preventive technology to prevent costly casualties

– Comprehensive vessel situational awareness & control

– Machine vision:  RGB & IR; LIDAR; RADAR; AIS

– Digitally-augmented navigation data

MSD Port Canaveral, LCDR Jason King:  Novel industry technology:  LNG bunkering, SpaceX remote control DP rocker booster recover barge.

– No USCG standards.  Using risk-based approach to novel marine operations.

USACE:  Using AIS ATON = virtual ATON = e-ATON.  Shore transmits ATON or wreck location to ships’ electronic chart system.

– Weather can be transmitted to vessels via AIS, lock queue.

– Enhance USCG/USACE IT connectivity via USAIMS for establishing e-ATON.

Eagle Energy LNG Partners, Matthew Fisher:  Owned by Ferus Natural Gas Fuels; working small-scale LNG for marine bunkering.

– Delivering LNG via ISO tanks for Puerto Rico utility power.

– Supplying Crowley ConRo ships in Jacksonville.

– Purpose-built infrastructure required for marine bunkering.

– 400,000 gallons/1500 cubic meters transferred to Crowley ships every 5-9 days.

– HAZOP study using thermal & dispersion modeling

– NFPA 59A compliance for USCG Letter of Acceptance

– Crowley operates in U.S. Emission Control Area with 0.1% sulfur cap

– 90% of LNG-fueled ships operate outside of the US; only 10% to call in US ports

– Consider waterside & shoreside delivery options; short-term vs long term; CAPEX & OPEX considerations

– “In LNG space, best way forward is communicating your plans.”

– Use trusted authorities in community:  Port Canaveral Fire Chief, Harbor Safety Committee

Resilient Path Forward for the MTS

“It is a new normal, a new reality, it stinks, and we have to deal with it.”

Disaster Resilience Lessons From 2017 Hurricane Season:

Resilience Integrated Action Team (RIAT) of the CMTS; input from 12 federal agencies.

Best practices:

– Established coordination/communication networks

– Hurricane season kickoff meeting of all waterways users/stakeholders

– Interagency effort for navigation channel reopening

– Rapid ATON verification/restoration

Areas for Improvement:

– Pre-staging of port survey teams & equipment

– Evaluating port status (ability to move cargo intermodally) vs. channel status

– Aid port employees returning to work

Goal is Absorb/Resist => Rapidly Recover => Adapt to Changing Conditions

MTS depends upon supporting community infrastructure (electrical, water, comms, roads) 

CG-FAC-2, CDR Chuck Bright, on MTSRUs:

– 2018 LL:       New policy for MTS Recovery Plans

                        Enhancements to CART (restricted distribution due to security protocol)

– 2017 LL:       Pre-identified virtual e-ATON

                        CG-11410A MTS Facility Status Form

Research into Predictive Port Resilience Tool to assess regional impact of hurricane (or any MTS disruption.  Addressed 6 southeast port; based on Hurricane Matthew.

Disaster resilience requires relationships and joint governance

Don’t think “AMPD disaster” – must consider Hell Unleashed!

Isolated/Island Community Priorities:            1. Meet basic human needs

                                                                        2. Restore critical infrastructure

                                                                        3. Restart MTS

In Haiti, SEABEES built a temporary port facility from scratch; this could occur in a US port.

“Procrastination is the arch-enemy of crisis management.”

Designation of “safe harbor” areas for various vessel types.  Statement that FL & HI law prevents forcing vessels to leave a safe harbor area.  Need to verify this for Hawaii fishing vessels.

CISA, Dr. Sandra Pinel, Building Capabilities to Support Port System Infrastructure:

– DHS 16 critical infrastructure systems

– Ports are critical & complex, requiring supporting infrastructure

– Opening the port is critical but insufficient; cargo & disaster response priorities can conflict with recovery needs

– USACE ERDC-CISA Port Resilience Project (builds upon RRAP)

Harbor Safety Committee Best Practices

– NY/NJ:         New Subcommittee on LNG for Marine Fuel

                        Carnival LNG-fueled ships coming in 2020

– Lone Star (Houston/Galveston):  Working more on challenging waterways efficiency issues than straightforward safety issues.

– California Harbor Safety Committees are mandated by state law and funded for a secretariat.

– Dredging usually goes deeper but rarely goes wider; getting tough to get increasingly larger ships around turns in waterways.

– NY/NJ:  Harbor Ops Committee wants 2nm offset between traffic lanes and offshore windfarm turbine towers

NY/NJ Harbor Ops Committee Chair Andrew McGovern:  “We don’t get involved in pissing contests between members.”  (Kaneohe Yacht Club boat maintenance complaint raised to HOST??)

Luncheon Keynote Speaker, Dr. Jeff Payne, NOAA

NOAA initiative to Promote Safe, Shared Waterways and Grow the Blue Economy

– Requires management & sustainable use of ocean resources

– Categories include seafood, tourism, ocean exploration (GLOMAR EXPLORER?), marine transportation, and coastal resilience

– In USA, coastal counties account for 40% of national population on 10% of the nation’s land mass, and the 3rd largest economy in the world

– Seafloor exploration (Seabed 2030 initiative) & mapping EEZ for rare earth metals and biopharmaceuticals

– Predicting recurrent tidal flooding (NOAA’s fancy name for king tide flooding)

– In 2018 the US suffered $14Billion in disasters

NOAA has Navigation Response Teams & Regional Navigation Managers under the Office of Coast Survey for rapid deployment following a storm or other incident.  This capability should be part of our MTS Recovery Plans and tapped under ESF#1 for harbor assessment and establishment of temporary e-ATON.

– Ocean Reports Tool: draw polygon on electronic chart to assess proposed sites for fish farms, offshore energy facilities.

“Competent mariners react; superior mariners anticipate.” – Steven Nerheim, VTS Houston-Galveston

2018 Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (VIDA):  Federal preemption bill passed.

– AWO supports federal preemption or the industry loses its value proposition. 

– AWO wants one regulator for certainty and consistency of regulation.

– Look up AWO v. Massachusetts re: escort tug requirement in Buzzards Bay

Wind, Whales and Petroleum – Working Together?

– OCS Lands Act amended by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to add offshore renewable energy

– NREL renewable energy wind potential map

– Currently 15 commercial offshore wind leases

– Operator submits to USCG & BOEM a Navigation Safety Risk Assessment

NOAA has a Whale Sighting Alert smartphone app 

API:  40% of all US waterborne trade is petroleum or petroleum products.

USACE has $300B backlog and a $3B budget.  Inland Waterways Trust Fund is massively, chronically underfunded.

USCG Headquarters Office of Navigation Safety:  USCG role is to balance competing interests and “play referee”

Conduct PAWSA & Port Access Route Study (PARS) to justify creating or amending fairways, traffic separation schemes, limited access areas, areas to be avoided

Harbor Safety Committee Success Stories

– Lone Star HSC (Houston-Galveston) Anchorage Working Group achieved success from a common sense of ownership instead of the “tragedy of the commons”

-Risk of marine casualties increases with the proliferation of unmanaged use of waterways

– Chicago HSC:  Vimeo video at

– DOT Bureau of Transportation Statistics Port Performance Freight Statistics Report at  (Note that on Guam, “BTS” = Brown Tree Snake)

Mariner Training and Personnel Development

MITAGS-PMI (Pacific Maritime Institute) does operational simulation for LNG or bulk petroleum marine terminals

– 20 weeks of STCW classroom training for towing industry.  STCW allows and apprenticeship program; MITAGS-PMI conducts a two-year program)

– Workboat Academy

-Navigation Skills Assessment Program (NSAP) soon to be used by US Navy after multiple ship groundings and collisions

MARAD missions:  Support Maritime Academies; Ready Reserve Fleet, and Maritime Training Centers of Excellence

Army Watercraft Program (what will be left of it after divestiture of 70% of assets): John Stauffer

Maritime Pilots Institute, Covington, LA, George Burkley

– “All the tools and gadgets in the world pale in comparison to actual experience.”

– Simulation reveals mariner’s behavior, stress management, response in less than ideal conditions, situational awareness, and communication abilities

Women on the Water Conference will be held in November 2019 at Texas A&M University, Galveston

USCG Commandant ADM Karl Schultz:  Value of harbor safety committees is the commitment of involved, smart users who care not just about their own interests but the shared waterways.