Container ships wait off the coast of the congested Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in Long Beach, California, U.S., October 1, 2021. REUTERS/ Alan Devall

Congresswoman Proposes Ship Anchoring Ban Off Southern California, Home to the Nation’s Busiest Ports

Mike Schuler
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October 13, 2021

With investigators eyeing a ship’s anchor as the cause of the pipeline oil leak off of Orange County, California, one Republican Congresswoman is calling for end to the age-old practice of anchoring in waters off the busiest port complex in the country.

Representative Michelle Steel (CA-48) represents California’s 48th District in the U.S. House of Representatives, which includes coastal communities from Seal Beach to Laguna, including the towns of Huntington Beach and Newport Beach on San Pedro Bay.

Under pressure from constituents to do something in response to this month’s catastrophic oil spill that soiled vast stretches of Southern California beaches, Rep. Steel has proposed a temporary ban on cargo ships from idling or anchoring off the coast. She disclosed details of her of “Stopping Hazardous Incidents in the Pacific Act of 2021, aka “SHIP Act” on Tuesday:

One glaring issue is that these waters are home to the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, two of the busiest ports in the country and responsible for approximately 40% of all containerized cargo imports into the United States each year.

These ports rely heavily on the federally designated anchorages and drift areas for the efficient flow of cargo. Banning ships from anchoring and idling would mark a fundamental shift in the way these ports handle inbound ships carrying just about everything from your Christmas presents and holiday items to medical supplies and even your morning cup of coffee.

Vessel Traffic Services in the area is jointly operated by the Coast Guard and Marine Exchange of Southern California, which work to assist in the safe navigation of vessels approaching the ports in an area extending 25 miles out to sea.

According to the Marine Exchange, there were 80 ships at anchor or in drift areas. So our question to Rep. Steel is this: where should they all go?

Real News: Biden Administration Outlines Efforts to Address Supply Chain Bottlenecks at Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach – Fact Sheet

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