Port of Grays Harbor

Harbor Safety Committee Meeting

June 21, 2016

Harbor Safety Committee Meeting 2016 – Meeting 3

The Harbor Safety meeting of June 21, 2016 was called to order by Co-Chair Mike Johnson at 10:00 a.m. at the Port of Grays Harbor Commission Chambers in, Aberdeen, Washington.

Those in attendance at the meeting were as follows:

Mike Johnson - Port of Grays Harbor
Elizabeth Chien - USACE
Fred Goheen - Jones Stevedoring
Ken Lawrenson - USCG Portland
Mandy Garcia - Pasha Stevedoring & Terminals
Marisa Yauch - Port of Grays Harbor
Garrett Dalan - The Nature Conservancy
Scott Ferguson - Department of Ecology
Larry Thevik - WDCFA
Linda Orgel - CCH
Steven Williams - Westway
Darren DeLoe - REG Grays Harbor
Doug Coburn - General Steamship Corp.

Items discussed were as follows:


From the Chairman
Mike Johnson, Co-Chair, completed roll call for all attendees present and over the phone.

Approval of February Minutes

Motion made by Doug Coburn, seconded by Darren DeLoe and unanimously approved, the meeting minutes from April 19, 2016 were approved.


Mike Johnson, Port of Grays Harbor, reported on upcoming dredging for the rest of 2016. Bids were sent out June 17th and should be awarded at the July Commission meeting. This will be for dredging of all 4 PGH Terminals will take place in two rounds, July/August and December/January. The Port is expecting at least one bid for the project. American Construction is in the area at this time so they will likely bid the work, but there may be additional bids.

Mr. Johnson reported that the Port is working to complete the Homeland Security Grant approved in 2014. The grant funding was 75% Federal and 25% Port, which will include a new guard booth, additional lighting, radios and bankline fencing. Completion of the project is required by August 31, 2016.

The Cascadia Rising exercise was held between June 7-10, which was a week to simulate a large earthquake and tsunami in order to prepare response teams for a major disaster on many levels. Westway Terminals and other businesses including Paneltech had their own simulations to prepare their employees. There was a lot going on this week and there were a lot of lessons learned for improvements in response should a disaster of this magnitude occur.

Scott Ferguson, DOE, reported on the risk work being completed in the Lower Columbia. The week of July 11th they will work to pursue the project in outreach mode as they gear up for the October 6th workshop. There will be a Lower Columbia HSC meeting on Wednesday, July 13th in Astoria and they will continue to work through many topics from the I-5 Bridge Westward.

They are also creating a pamphlet that will be distributed to the tribes and many stakeholders in the area. They plan to have this out by July 1st to keep the issue at the forefront for the week of July 11th where they will be working with the HSC and various entities.

GWU continues to work on the Puget Sound Vessel Risk Assessment. On July 19th they will meet at Federal Center South to identify additional risk mitigation measures. A reminder that the Salish Sea Workshop will be October 18th and 19th. Also, Department of Ecology will be looking for funding in the next biennium for risk work in Grays Harbor.

Washington State has been very involved in the train derailment issue and oil spill in Mosier, Oregon. They are working closely on this for cleanup and lessons learned.

Larry Thevik asked Mr. Ferguson about the recovery of the Privateer off of Ocean Shores. He heard there was no recovery of the diesel lost from the vessel and he feels there may be a large disconnect between the planning for a spill and the actual action in order to contain the fuel.

Mr. Ferguson recognized there were some challenges with this recovery. They had aggressive response initially, but bad weather and wave action made it difficult to recover fuel from the ship. They are looking at ways to improve processes. The case is still under investigation by the spills program at Ecology.

Coast Guard
Ken Lawrenson reported for the USCG marine in Portland. They worked with the Corps to determine that the vessel discussed at the last meeting which is submerged in the waterway has been determined to be a hazard. It has been marked with buoys temporarily and now will open the Corps up to be able to remove the obstruction.

Mr. Lawrenson also commented on the Privateer which ran aground a few months ago in Ocean Shores. Early reports say that it looks like the vessel hit the submerged portion of the North Jetty, but this is still under investigation.

Mr. Lawrenson also commented on the Cascadia Rising exercise. From his perspective, this exercise helped strengthen ties between folks on shore and those that would be in the water on ships. They were there to clear the way for humanitarian relief cargo on the water. An area where more planning could be done is how to get the supplies from the beaches to people further inland. He also realized that the area they had to cover was more than they could handle if this were a real emergency and they really had to focus on the lower Columbia River. They will be relying on FEMA for a lot more help if there is a major disaster.

September 13-15 will be the National HSC meeting in Portland, OR. It will be at the Red Lion Hotel in Jantzen Beach. Marisa Yauch will add the link to the HSC website.

Corps of Engineers
Elizabeth Chien, USACE, reported the Corps has recently completed a successful dredging session of the outer harbor. They removed just over 1 million cubic yards of sediment and had many areas which cleaned up nicely. 550 thousand cy were placed in the South Beach region and along that system.

Larry Thevik asked if there have been and sediment travelling studies conducted; does the Corps track that the sediment does go back to nourish the beach. Yes, studies have been conducted showing this is beneficial to the beaches. Strong funding and deepening allowed them to get more material out to South Beach which disperses South of the South jetty. This method is a little more passive than placing it in specific need locations, but it does work.

Another round of dredging will start in August. There are no specifics yet, but they plan to take care of some shoaling that has been bothering the pilots. Summer dredging will be minimal, but will turn around when American Construction starts deepening later this year.

Incidents / Communications Discussion

No incidents


No presentations

Old Business

Ken Lawrenson brought up the proposed language for the offshore anchoring of large vessels waiting to enter Grays Harbor. Some details of the additional verbiage were discussed and it was agreed that a bit more research on the exact vessel size and possibly a few changes to the wording about emergencies will be looked into before finalization.

New Business

Darren DeLoe brought up the kayak protest planned for July 8th. There is a large group planning to paddle in the harbor for a few hours mid-day to protest the proposed oil terminals. Mr. DeLoe wants to ensure that the waterway will not be impacted.

Ken Lawrenson mentioned there is a marine event permit for this event which opens communication between organizers so safety is ensured for all parties. Protesters will be launching from the 9th Street landing in Hoquiam.

Next Meeting

The next meeting will be held in the PGH Commission Chambers on Tuesday, August 16th, 2016.


Today’s meeting adjourned at 11:07 a.m.