Minutes: Forum #119

18 December 2019

International Marine Terminal

454 Commercial Street

Portland, ME 04101


Introductions and Administration:

        Administration The meeting was called to order at 10:00 by the Port Safety Forum Co-Chair Jon Nass representing the Maine Port Authority with Captain Brian LeFebvre as the Co-Chair representing the Coast Guard. A quorum was comprised of 45 individuals.

        Introductions – Mr. Nass briefly explained that the Port Safety Forum is returning to its original chartered format and introduced the Forum’s Executive Committee per the By-laws as follows:

PSF Executive Committee

PSF By-law Designated Leadership/Representatives

        Co-Chair, US Coast Guard, Capt. Brian LeFebvre

        Co-Chair, Maine Port Authority, Jon Nass, CEO

        Maine DEP, Jeff Squires, Director Response Services

        New Hampshire DES, Jason Domke, Planning & Preparedness Manager

        Maine Harbormaster’s Association, Daryen Granata


        Following introduction of the Executive Committee, Mr. Nass facilitated introductions of the full body of attendees.

        Review and Approval of the September 24, 2019 Port Safety Forum Meeting Minutes Hearing no objections to the content of the September 24, 2019 minutes, Mr. Nass accepted the minutes as approved.

        Amendments or Additions to the Agenda Hearing no amendments or additions to the agenda, Mr. Nass accepted the agenda as presented.


Port Activities Update

International Marine Terminal Upgrades

Jon Nass, MPA & Michael Carter, SoliDG

        In 2019 a new IMT building was constructed at 254 Commercial Street. The new building contains office space (primarily for Eimskip operations) on the front side (street side) of the building. The front side of the building also contains a 50 seat conference area. The rear part of the building (yard side) houses a large commercial maintenance facility. A new clerking booth was added to Gate 1 which serves as the main commercial truck access point (and check-in/out clerking functions). A new reconfigured facility foot-print has provided for better parking for employees of the terminal.

        The iconic old maintenance building (adjacent to the pier) was demolished earlier in 2019. Long term plans include filling more of the pier area to provide more cargo handling space on the pier.

        The facility also recently added a new LiebherLHM-420 Mobile Harbor Crane which will increase the facility’s capacity to handle containers.


NOAA Update Office of Coast Survey

Colleen Roche, NOAA


       NOAA is conducting survey operations East of the Portland “Papa” buoy. The surveys will fill a long existing gap from the existing 1835 lead-line data which will be updated with a modern high-resolution survey data. The survey will be facilitated by the NOAA ship Ferdinand R. Hassler sometime in 2020.

        Recently, NOAA announced the start of a five-year process to end traditional paper nautical chart production. While NOAA is sunsetting its traditional nautical chart products, it is undertaking a major effort to improve the data consistency and provide larger scale coverage within its electronic navigational chart (NOAA ENC®) product suite. Over the next five years, NOAA will work to ease the transition to ENC-based products, such as providing access to paper chart products based on ENC data. The online NOAA Custom Chart prototype application enables users to create their own charts from the latest NOAA ENC data. Users may define the scale and paper size of custom-made nautical charts centered on a position of their choosing. Users may then download, view, and print the output. The application is an easy way to create a paper or digital backup for electronic chart systems.

        NOAA will present a webcast to provide an overview of the sunsetting process and a live demonstration of the NOAA Custom Chart prototype, including a discussion of the improvements that are planned for the prototype.

        Date and time:  Thursday, January 9, 2020, at 2 p.m. (EST)

        How to register: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7410207397804043779

Army Corps of Engineers Update

Bill Kavanaugh, ACOE

        Mr. Kavanaugh briefed the Forum on current and planned Army Corps of Engineer projects in the region including:

        Isles of Shoals – The Corps is planning a breakwater project to repair damage to 3 breakwaters, with contractor solicitation expected next fiscal year.

        Kennebunk – The Corps is planning repairs to damaged East & West Jetties and retaining wall with contractor solicitation expected this fiscal year.

        Cape Porpoise, Kennebunkport – The Corps is finishing a dredging project that was scheduled between November 2019 and 15 March 2020. As of December 11, the project had removed about 34,000 cubic yards of material and is near completion.

        Wood Island Harbor, Biddeford Pool – The Corps is planning a dredging project to remove (48,000 cubic yards of material between an anticipated window of 01 November 2019 – 31 March 2020. The dredged sand will be placed nearshore Camp Ellis; with silt taken to Saco Bay Disposal. This project has a significant eelgrass impact.

        Kennebec River – The Corps is conducting dredging on the Kennebec River in support of U.S. Navy needs for access to Bath Iron Works. The project is planned to run for about 2-4 weeks in a window between December 2019- March 2020. This project is part of a 3 year dredging cycle.

        Kennebunk – The Corps is planning to address severe shoaling at the entrance of the Kennebunk channel and is expected to remove approximately 15,000 cubic yards of material. The project is anticipated to start in early January 2020; finish in 2-3 weeks (working 24hrs). 

Cruise Industry Presentation

CruiseMaine – Sarah Flink, Director, CruiseMaine


        CruiseMaine promotes the State of Maine as a whole to the cruise ship industry. The organization is run by the Maine Office of Tourism and is affiliated with the Maine Port Authority. Cruising is growing as an industry. By 2030, experts expect that number to be 50 million cruisers / year. World-wide the cruise ship fleet expansion between 2017-2026 is estimated to be over 100 vessels.

        Maine’s Cruise ship arrivals continue to trend upward with a 5-10% growth. In 2019 Maine hosted 408 distinct cruise ship arrivals which disembarked approximately 423,000 passengers throughout the state (mainly in Portland and Bar Harbor). 58 of the arrivals originated in foreign ports. The market accounts for an approximate 5-10% annual cancellation rate due to weather and other operational reasons. In 2020 Maine is forecasted to host 458 distinct cruise ship arrivals which will disembark approximately 499,000 passengers throughout the state.

        The global outlook on cruising is strong with cruise ship construction continuing in most ship classes, noting 115 ships ordered for construction in 2019. As a market, it appears that mid-size ships (1,000-2,500 passengers) are trending downward with companies capitalizing on smaller “boutique” cruise ships (100-1,000 passengers) or very large cruise ships (2,500-4,000+ passengers).

 Cyber Security

ABS Group – Admiral Roy Nash USCG (Ret)

        Admiral Nash, as a contractor with American Bureau of Shipping Group, provided a detailed presentation regarding cyber-security. In order to achieve business goals and assure success, employees and network users must have secure and reliable access to mission essential systems, networks, and information resources. He referenced a growing reliance on information systems and the vulnerability of electronic data as evidenced by the 2017 Maersk Shipping cyber attack/data breach. He also referenced a recent cyber attack on an MTSA regulated facility which was chronicled in Marine Safety Bulleting 10-19 (December 16, 2019). The presentation reflected guidance offered by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework which aligns with the Coast Guard’s draft Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular 5-17 Guidelines for Addressing Cyber Risks at Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA) Regulated Facilities. The NIST model follows a basic foundation from which to build a cyber-security plan:

        Cyber security Breaches should be reported to the National Response Center (NRC) at (800) 424-8802.

 USCG Sector Northern New England Update

Sector Northern New England – Captain Brian LeFebvre, USCG (COTP)

        Captain LeFebvre, Captain of the Port, provided a general overview of Coast Guard operations followed by topic specific briefings as follows:

        S/V Dove Sector NNE responded to a scanty mid-November 911 call from the vessel which was said at the time to be about 20 miles off Mount Desert Island. The nature of emergency wasn’t fully clear but necessitated the launching of a significant search which involved assets from both the U.S. and Canadian Coast Guards. The search continued for several days with no results. Eventually the vessel was located in a safe haven on Long Island (NY), when it was confirmed that there had not been an initial distress situation. The vessel again sought Coast Guard assistance days later when it suffered a broken mast off the coast of Virginia. The Coast Guard coordinated a rescue utilizing a cargo ship to evacuate the three occupants safely into port.

        Hoax Calls Captain LeFebvre reiterated the dangers of hoax calls in that each call received by the Coast Guard requires a vigorous response. Hoax calls tax agency resources and put people and assets at risk. He urged anyone with knowledge of hoax calls to report them to the Coast Guard.

        Port Security Grants Sector NNE had eight Investment Justifications (or grant requests) in 2019 of which funding for two were approved. The two grants that were fully funded, both came from New Hampshire Port Authority (Portsmouth Harbors Division).

Waterways Analysis and Management System (WAMS) study

        Sector Northern New England recently conducted a WAMS study in collaboration with various port partners in Portsmouth and Seacoast New Hampshire. WAMS is a tool the CG uses to plan and implement Aids to Navigation Program (ATON) and better manage the waterway.   WAMS are conducted periodically on each Federally designated “Navigable Waterway.” The USCG seeks to identify what may be done to enhance the safe navigation upon a waterway and secondly, they use the data to anticipate and plan the navigation safety budgeting process, at both the regional and national levels. In conducting a WAMS, the Coast Guard’s Waterways Management Division partners with local agencies and waterway users to complete the study. The report detailed several recommendations including light and buoy modifications. The Coast Guard has already started to execute the modification plan starting with the removal of an old Coast Guard mooring buoy.

        Eagle Visit – In recognition of Maine’s 200th anniversary of statehood, the Coast Guard Cutter Eagle, has slated multiple Maine ports on its 2020 training operations itinerary, although specific ports of call have not yet been announced. Also known as America’s Tall Ship, the cutter is used to train future officers of the United States Coast Guard.

Reestablishment of the PSF Charter & Membership

Maine Port Authority – Jon Nass, CEO, Maine Port Authority

        The Forum is structured as an umbrella organization with an interest in all aspects of port and waterway safety and environmental protection in and near the coastal waters of Maine and New Hampshire.

        It is meant to act as the approving body for resolutions and recommendations forwarded to it by its working groups and subcommittees. The Forum provides an open and cooperative process to identify, measure and monitor risk of loss from, and response to, events and contingencies in the marine and coastal environment of Maine and New Hampshire. The Forum shall recommend actions to mitigate or eliminate risk and improve response capability in order to enhance safety, support industry, and preserve the environment.

        In addition to the executive committee, which is formed through the Forum’s charter, the group also includes voting members representing all facets of the regional maritime industry and interests. In order to include the State’s submerged lands interests, Mr. Nass also appointed Mr. John Noll, of the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands (Submerged Lands Program). Voting member, nominees were elected by the Executive Committee at this meeting as follows:

        Shipping Agent – Sean Petty, Moran Shipping

        Environmental Organization – Ivy Frignoca, Friends of Casco Bay

        Pilot (Representing Midcoast and Downeast Maine) – David Gelinas, Penobscot Bay Pilot

        Pilot (Representing Casco Bay and Portsmouth) – Dick Holt, Portsmouth Pilot

        Terminal Operator (Representing Midcoast and Downeast Maine) – Tim Winters, Sprague

        Terminal Operator (Representing Casco Bay) – Nick Mavodones, Casco Bay Lines

        Terminal Operator (Portsmouth) – Grant Nichols, NH Port Authority

        Towing and Tug Operators – Mark Morrissey, Winslow Towing

        Spill Response Organization – Eric Wyman, MSRC

        Recreational Boating / Marina Operators / Marine Trades Industry – Bill Morang, Yachting Solutions

        Commercial Fishing – Laurin Brooks

        Public Seat #1 – Sarah Flink, CruiseMaine

        Public Seat #2 – Dennis Damon, Maine Port Authority (Board of Directors)

        Reserved MEMA – Peter Roger, Acting MEMA Director

        Reserved Maritime Law Enforcement – Sgt. Matt Sinclair, Maine DMR

IMT Tour

        Jon Nass and Mike Carter, MPA.

Old Business/New Business