As bigger and bigger containerships are now calling on U.S. ports, the U.S. Coast Guard, along with the San Francisco Bar Pilots, local tug workgroup members and global container shipper CMA-CGM performed an exercise yesterday in San Francisco to evaluate the capability of the region’s capability to respond to an emergency involving an ultra-large containership.
This was the first drill of its kind conducted in the United States and was organized by the San Francisco Bay Harbor Safety Committee, which provided the framework for the maritime community to come together and plan such a drill.
“The Harbor Safety Committee is dedicated to maintaining a safe maritime transportation system,” said Capt. Lynn Korwatch, Chair of the San Francisco Bay Area Harbor Safety Committee. “I am proud of the local maritime community’s efforts to take this innovative step toward improving readiness.”
On hand to support the exercise was CMA CGM’s Centaurus, an 11,400 TEU container ship measuring 365 meters, or approximately 1,200 feet.
For the drill, crews tested two different towing configuration: the first was with a single tug off the bow; second was with two tugs off the bow. Tug companies who participated included Starlight, Foss and AmNav.
In an area like San Francisco Bay where thick fog, strong currents and big breeze are a frequent occurrence, conditions for yesterday’s drill were benign. “This was a walk-before-you-can-run exercise,” commented Cmdr. Jason Tama in a phone call this morning, “and it all went very well.”
Cmdr. Tama gave strong praise to CMA CGM for the time they took from their schedule to participate in the exercise as well as to the tug operators who volunteered to participate.
“The Coast Guard is excited to be a part of this groundbreaking demonstration,” noted Capt. Gregory Stump, commander of Sector San Francisco and Captain of the Port of San Francisco. “This is a prime example of the forward-leaning posture of the San Francisco Bay Area Harbor Safety Committee and a testament to the commitment of our maritime community to safety and environmental protection.”