- Message from the U.S. Coast Guard to DWTC members:
In the first 5 months of 2009 ANT Crisfield has spent $6,000 dollars on ATON gear to fix damaged and missing aids in the Pocomoke River. This may not sound like a lot of money but when you add up the cost over the year for how often the ANT has to go out and re-position aids, replace day boards, etc., the money adds up. And we simply are not funded to continue operating in such a fashion. Owners, agents, masters, operators, and persons in charge must notify Sector Baltimore immediately following a marine casualty, a potential marine casualty, and when a hazardous condition is discovered; and we will aggressively enforce these requirements to deter violations. Operators are reminded they are required to report allisions with aids to navigation to the Coast Guard per 33 CFR part 70.05-20 and 46 CFR part 4.05-20, "Reports of Accidents to Aids to Navigation." Thanks for your help in getting the word out! LCDR Amy M. BeachChief, Waterways Management DivSector Baltimore
We had a VERY successful Spring & Fall General Membership Luncheons in 2011. Thanks to all our featured speakers. A special Thanks to our special guests. Delegate James Mathias, Delegate Norman Conway, Wicomico County Executive Rick Pollitt, Linda Procaska Field Representative for Senator Barbara Mikulski , Lee Whaley Field Representative for Senator Ben Cardin. Also attending was members of the Salisbury Fire Dept, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Coast Guard, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Delmarva Water Transport Committee, area leaders discuss challenges facing industry
By Greg LatshawStaff Writer Daily Times
SALISBURY -- Navigating a barge that is 285 feet long and 54 feet wide through twists and turns of the Wicomico River is a nerve-wracking experience, even for a seasoned captain."I don't care how long you've done this, how many times you've done this, you can get sweaty palms in this area," said Mason Keeter, general manager of the Port of Norfolk, Va., shipping point for The Vane Brothers Co.His fleet shipped 4 million barrels of petroleum into Salisbury last year. Obstacles along the Wicomico River include shallow depths in spots, private piers jutting out and the occasional water skier who falls in the path of a barge that with fair winds requires the distance of three football fields to stop.On Friday, Keeter joined others in the maritime industry, officials from the U.S. Coast Guard, and state and local elected officials at a meeting called by the Delmarva Water Transport Committee.Calling on the DWTC to band together to meet challenges, DWTC Executive Director Becky Robinson said the lack of federal funding to dredge waterways is a top concern.Typically, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will deepen river beds to depths that can accommodate barge traffic. The port of Salisbury, for example, is the second busiest in Maryland. It is the main hub for the petroleum and grain products that feed commerce across Delmarva, Robinson said.Reading off statistics, Robinson said one fully loaded barge carries the same amount of materials as 150 tractor-trailers. She also said Lower Shore residents owe gasoline prices that are lower than the national average to barge traffic.However, nationwide river commerce is threatened by insufficient funding for dredging and difficulty local governments have in finding suitable space to store the dug-up materials. It's up to a county to find a spot within two to four miles suitable to hold the materials for a period of seven years, Robinson said.In the fall, the Army Corps will carry out a $1.3 million project to deepen a section of the mid- to lower riverbed of the Wicomico River. Wicomico County has enough space to store materials for that site, but must find more land in the future.Keeter said additional challenges facing his industry are new federal regulations. By 2015, all barges carrying petroleum must be double-hulled -- a requirement that drives up costs.The Vane Brothers Co. has a contract with Chesapeake Shipbuilding Company in Salisbury to build their next generation of tugboats. Tugboats are the smaller vessels that direct the barges along the river. The first of six under construction in Salisbury, the Sassafras, is nearing completion."She is stout. She is well-built, and the craftsmanship of people in this area is superb," Keeter said.