September-October 2012 EDITORIAL
I got a chance to see Manson Construction Co.’s safety culture in action when I visited its maintenance dredging project at the Port of Anchorage, Alaska on September 11. The Incident and Injury Free (IIF) mandate includes visitors, who go through a safety briefing before boarding the dredge.
For this trip, my friend and I were given personal location devices to hang around our necks, which would let rescuers know where we were if we fell into the water. A fast rescue would save our lives in the cold September Cook Inlet water. This month’s editorial picture shows me in the galley of Manson’s tug Gladys M, with the yellow PLD around my neck.
As always, it was good to see and talk to dredge people as they go about their jobs, and Don Johnson was an able tour guide on this unusual project in the only port in the U.S. where the federal government is responsible for maintaining depth right up to the dock faces. A number of other things make this project unique, and I invite you to read the article articles on pages 6 and 10 to get the full story.
I’d like to thank my friend Al Barrett, who lives in Anchorage, for driving me to Seward for the Pacific Chapter meeting, then to Kennicott Glacier and Valdez. We went on some great hikes and finished up with the visit to Manson’s project on the last day. You’ll see a lot of pictures from the dredge visit and the chapter meeting in this issue, and this coverage was much easier for having someone who knows the area driving me right to the locations.
The Pacific Chapter of the Western Dredging Association did a good thing by giving people a reason to go to Alaska for its meeting right after Labor Day. This was my first trip to Alaska since my visit to the North Slope in 1984, where I looked at five aggregate dredging projects being conducted by the North Slope Borough, and was able to get some interesting photos and stories about dredging in the Arctic. That story appeared in our July/August 1984 issue.
The meeting this year brought a lot of Alaska first-timers to the state, who were eloquent about the beautiful setting for the meeting, with a river and a mountain right across the road, and an inspiring drive or train ride to Seward from Anchorage.
In this issue, we report on a valuable new addition to the North American dredge fleet – Ocean’s new dredge Traverse Nord in Quebec, pictured on our cover. This is Ocean’s first dredge, and it didn’t stint on the design and dredging equipment. The dredge went right to work in the St. Lawrence River and will be a fixture there, removing infill throughout the season – the same sort of contract Manson is doing in Anchorage.
Great Lakes Dredge & Dock announces its new dredge in this issue, also, which is a tug and barge combination designed for use in land reclamation in Louisiana. We had scheduled an article on the restoration of two islands on the Gulf Coast for our Coastal Restoration feature in this issue, but Rachel Sweeney at NOAA wrote that they were dealing with Hurricane Isaac during the time she was to have submitted the pictures and information, so we will table that article for another issue.
And on the push for adequate funding for our marine highways, Barry Holliday wrote on September 7: “In August, we met with Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) staff and were encouraged that both sides are still interested in what can be done to resolve the need for increased funding for ports and harbors O&M. As a result of the expressions of concern from the Senate Appropriations Committee members during the MAP 21 negotiations, we were asked by EPW staff to work with members of the Appropriations Committee and consider alternatives for the HMTF issue. We have had meetings with some Senate Energy and Water (E&W) Appropriations members’ staff and have been told that they are working on a larger scale navigation funding initiative. It not only includes addressing maintenance dredging needs, but also, harbor deepening and inland waterway lock and dam construction as well. This is still being developed.”