NEWCLIPS FOR MONDAY JANUARY 14, 2008
Search ends for photographer who fell into ocean
DEPOE BAY, Ore. - Authorities on Saturday called off the search for a Salem man who fell off a cliff while taking pictures near here a day earlier.
According to Oregon State Police, Brian Albert Wells, 43, had stopped at Rocky Creek State Park wayside,
located about two miles south of Depoe Bay, with his 54-year-old wife and 62-year-old friend to take some snapshots about 6 p.m. As Wells was leaning over the edge of the cliff to take a picture, he lost his balance and fell 60 feet onto rocks and water, his wife and friend told investigators.
They last saw him in the water.
A number of agencies, including the U.S. Coast Guard and state police, searched until 11 p.m. Friday. The search resumed Saturday morning but Wells was not found and the search was called off, said Lt. Gregg Hastings, a state police spokesman.
Delays ahead for Vashon Island ferry passengers
SEATTLE - Expect backups starting Monday morning on the Fauntleroy - Vashon – Southworth ferry
The Chelan is heading to dry dock for a month for its yearly maintenance. That leaves only two ferries instead of three to transport the thousands of commuters on that route until mid February. 34 trips each day will be lost.
There's no other ferry to replace it, since several other smaller ferries are out of commission, undergoing emergency repairs that have been ordered by the Coast Guard. It's not welcome news to commuters. "That's ridiculous," said Britany Calder, ferry passenger. "We have more people on Vashon than ever before. For the commuters especially, it's not good at all."
"There are going to be a lot of people who are going to be spending more time waiting in line," said James Cottrell, ferry passenger.
Ferry officials say it will swap an 87-car boat which normally operates the route with a 124-car vessel that runs the Bremerton run to help ease the pinch. But it also means the Bremerton commuters will be impacted while the ferry system inspects the Chelan.
Officials say they're also adding two, passenger-only runs between Vashon and Colman Dock in Seattle. It was one month ago when Governor Gregorie was shown first-hand how bad the damage had become on three of the aging, steel electric boats.
With other ferries needing their normal tune-ups during the slower winter season, that's put even more pressure on the entire fleet. Another problem: A simple lack of dry dock space where the boats can be worked on. Most of the ferries head to Todd Shipyards in Seattle or Dakota Creek Shipyards in Anacortes, but that space is so limited right now, the ferry system is even checking in Canada to see if there's help to be found up there.
Ferry officials will reportedly ask the Coast Guard for a possible extension this week to allow more time to get regularly scheduled maintenance completed, but the emergency work will still have to be finished on that select group of older boats.
Another recommendation for those on Vashon Island: Drive south and take a ferry into Tacoma. Finally, the ferry system is encouraging people to form three-person carpools, which get preferential loading treatment over single-occupancy cars.
Columbia River ports wary of LNG plans
The shipping vessels that travel the Columbia River can cost as much as $60,000 each day to operate, said Larry Paulson, the Port of Vancouver's executive director. The companies that own them, he said, are not fond of delays.
So, if the Columbia River becomes known for hold-ups, Paulson said this week, those shipping firms could abandon ports along the Columbia for more reliable west coast destinations.
That's why Paulson and other officials overseeing the region's ports remain concerned about a Houston company's plan to build a liquefied natural gas terminal on the Columbia River.
The ports haven't said they oppose the plan. But they want to know more about strict security measures surrounding the LNG vessels that would visit Northern Star Natural Gas's plant, proposed for Bradwood, Ore.
At issue are the Coast Guard's rules for LNG carriers on the Columbia, which were announced in February of last year. The Coast Guard, which is responsible for the vessels' security, said the LNG ships will be allowed to pass other vessels only at certain points on the river.
LNG vessels, the Coast Guard said, also will be protected by a 500-yard "exclusion zone." Other ships will be allowed through the zone at the Coast Guard's discretion.
But federal officials have kept the bulk of the plan secret, citing national security concerns. How, the port officials wonder, will the strict security measures affect their customers? And what can be done to assure the ports that their business interests will be secure?
"We are needing to better understand the impact of that vessel traffic on our existing customers," Ken O'Halloren, director of the Port of Longview, said this week.
"Clearly, the intention here is not to create any delays," he said. "We have some questions. We are anxious to have those answered."
Josh Thomas, a spokesman for the Port of Portland, said late last year, "Our primary concern is that it not impact the ability to get ships up and down the river without undue delays or obstructions."
And Lanny Cawley, the Port of Kalama's executive director, said his port also wants to know more about how the terminal would affect shipping traffic.
NorthernStar expects as many as 11 LNG carriers would navigate the 38-mile route up the river each month and dock at its terminal, across the river from Puget Island.
Chuck Deister, a NorthernStar spokesman, said the company has developed a "traffic management plan" with the help of shippers, river pilots and the ports.
"Our ships will not be a burden on the system," he said.
And even if the LNG terminal were running at full capacity --- which NorthernStar says would be unlikely --- traffic on the river would "still be below historic highs," Deister said.
In addition, NorthernStar provided an excerpt from a report, commissioned last year by the company, that downplays the possibility of delays on the river.
"There has been significant and understandable concern about the potential for disruption to 'routine business' and scheduling that LNG carriers may introduce," said the report, by Parsons Brinkerhoff, a consulting firm with offices in the United States, Asia, Europe and the Middle East.
But, it said, data shows "that LNG carrier traffic will not impact the scheduling of vessel arrivals." It also said there are "mechanisms for efficiently integrating inbound LNG carrier traffic into existing and projected traffic flows."
Introducing LNG to the river, the report said, will amount to "business as usual."
Northern Star said the report's full text is not yet available.
Paulson, of the Port of Vancouver, said a final Environmental Impact Statement, expected sometime this year from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, may illuminate the matter further. But, he said, "How it works in practicality is going to have to be worked out likely after (the terminal is) done, if it's done."
Asked if that's a big gamble for a port to take, Paulson said, "Sure, and it worries me."
He said he believes NorthernStar representatives are "honorable folk" who will be "true to their word."
But, Paulson said, he also worries that the Coast Guard may change the regulations in the years to come if there were an accident involving LNG or another significant event like the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
In that case, he said, "You're stuck with the plant, and what are you doing to do with it? You're not going to shut it down. And other industry is going to have to adjust."
WA ferry officials scrambling for dry docks to complete repairs
Washington state ferry officials are having a hard time finding enough dry dock space for eight vessels that need maintenance and repairs within the next three months, a legislative panel has been told. Washington State Ferries is working with the Coast Guard on a plan that could result in extensions on some of the work, Paul H. Brodeur, director of vessel maintenance and preservation, told the Joint Transportation Committee on Thursday.
Without extensions, it will be difficult to maintain full regular service, Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond said.
After four 80-year-old Steel-Electric ferries were retired in November because of hull cracks and corrosion, the Coast Guard told the ferry system that its 14 remaining oldest boats needed to be inspected. The inspections were made in late December.
The Evergreen State, Kaleetan and Tillikum were found to need repairs or replacement of steel in their hulls within 120 days, and the Rhododendron must be fixed before it can return to service.
The Evergreen State is to be replaced on the San Juan Islands interisland route Wednesday by the Hiyu. The Kaleetan is currently on the Bremerton-Seattle run and the Tillikum on the Southworth-Vashon Island-Fauntleroy route. The Rhododendron, normally operated between south Vashon Island and Point Defiance, remains out of service.
Regular winter maintenance on four other ferries also requires dry-docking, Brodeur said. "That will challenge dry dock capacity in the Puget Sound," Brodeur said.
Six other ferries also need work that must be done in dry dock, but the time constraints are less pressing. The Spokane, Yakima, Kitsap, Walla Walla and Cathlamet need steel repair or replacement at their next scheduled dry-docking, and the Chelan needs additional inspection.
Fallen Coast Guardsmen Honored
SEATTLE - A Coast Guard Honor Guard renders a 21-gun salute at the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse in Ilwaco, Wash., during a memorial service honoring five crew members who lost their lives aboard the 52-foot motor lifeboat Triumph I, 47 years ago near Ilwaco.
The Triumph I was stationed at the Point Adams Lifeboat Station, Ore., during its service life. The Triumph I was lost while on a search and rescue case on January 12, 1961. On that date, two Coast Guard craft from the Cape Disappointment Lifeboat Station, Wash., CG-40564 and CG-36454, answered a call for assistance from the 38-foot crab boat Mermaid, with two crew members on board, which had lost its rudder near the breakers off Peacock Spit, Wash. CG-40564 located the Mermaid and took it in tow. Due to adverse sea conditions the crew of CG-40564 requested the assistance of CG-52301 Triumph, stationed at Point Adams Lifeboat Station, Ore., which took up the tow upon its arrival on scene. Heavy breakers capsized CG-40564 and battered the CG-36454 but the 36-foot motor lifeboat stayed afloat. The crew of CG-36454 then located and rescued the crew of the CG-40564 and made for the Coast Guard Columbia River Lightship. The crew of the CG-36454 managed to deposit safely all on board the lightship before it too foundered. Soon thereafter a heavy breaker hit the Triumph which parted the tow line, set the Mermaid adrift, and capsized the Triumph. The crew of the Mermaid then rescued one of the six crewman on board Triumph. CG-36554 and CG-36535, also from the Point Adams Lifeboat Station, then arrived on scene and the CG-36535 took the Mermaid in tow. Another large breaker hit, snapping the CG-36535's tow line and sinking the Mermaid. The Coast Guard cutter Yocona arrived on scene soon after Coast Guard aircraft from Air Station Port Angeles and began searching for survivors. Other Coast Guard aircraft arrived and began dropping flares. Foot patrols from the lifeboat stations searched the beaches as well and recovered one Coast Guard survivor. Ultimately five Coast Guard crewman, all from motor lifeboat CG-52301 Triumph, drowned, as did both of the Mermaid's crew.
The Coast Guardsmen who gave their lives in the line of duty that night were:
Petty Officer First Class John L. Culp
Petty Officer Second Class John S. Hoban
Seaman Ralph E. Mace
Petty Officer Third Class Joseph E. Petrin
Seaman Gordon, F. Sussex
Petty Officer Culp was awarded a Gold Lifesaving Medal. Petty Officer Hoban, Seaman Mace, Petty Officer Petrin, and Seaman Sussex were awarded Silver Lifesaving Medals.