Governor Moonbeam gets involved in maritime affairs

Nov 15, 2012, 2:26AM EST
California's governor seems to recognize that the industry must be kept in good shape

Maritime professionals are pretty impressed by the interest that California’s governor, Gerry Brown, is taking in the industry. (The timing of this blog is deliberate, to coincide with the election fever. Brown is in for about another two years. )

First, he has stamped on a proposal to make the California Air Resources Board bankroll 90 percent of select cold ironing (shoreside power). The measure was Senate Bill 234 and declared that ports pay for the costs immediately and then get back the state’s contribution in quarterly payments.

“Allowing only a 10 percent withholding does not afford the necessary insurance that the state’s seaports have the commitment and resources necessary to see the project to completion,” he wrote.

Instead, he is allowing the 80 percent of costs “provided the equipment owner expends their portion of match funding for each berth first and is in compliance with its contract.” His next words are somewhat ambivalent. “In those situations where a small port of less than 10 berths may experience difficulties meeting these conditions, I further direct the board and those ports to work closely and cooperatively to develop a path forward to ensure project success.” Some people have translated them as “Good luck with that, folks,” but the general reaction has been positive.

Governor Brown has also got involved in the San Francisco Bar Pilots secluded world. He has approved a law (Senate Bill 1408) that imposes stricter safety controls on pilots, such as making the Board of Pilot Commissioners establish enforceable rest periods and hours of service, make explicit basic drug and alcohol prohibitions, and require the Board of Pilot Commissioners to be notified of pilot DUIs.

“We are very pleased that Governor Brown continues to help support safe navigation and commerce at our state ports,” said Mike Jacob, Pacific Merchant Shipping Association vice-president. “Improving the safety of our state pilotage system is a win-win for California; it protects the environment and our maritime economy without any cost to taxpayers.”


Filed under: Air, Board, California, pilots, Resources
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George Livingstone

Thank you for keeping the reader informed on the world of piloting in San Francisco Bay. The question of competence and expertise is legitimate; who are these pilots and what marine transportation expertise/qualifications do they have?

Capt. George H Livingstone
1980 graduate California Maritime Academy
San Francisco Bar Pilot
SFBP 'professional development committee'
United States Coast Guard Designated tow examiner
Harbor Safety Committee San Francisco Bay (member)
Board Member Governing Council Nautical Institute, London
Author "Tug Use Offshore" (London, 2006)
Writer/speaker on international marine transportation issues
11/15/2012 10:52:26 AM