Home > Uncategorized > Of cruise ships and other fishiness

Of cruise ships and other fishiness

redwood-marine-planThe Humboldt Bay Harbor Commission is so excited about the latest Marine Terminal plan that it’s holding a meeting to hear from the public — on Friday night.

Friday night?  Sounds suspicious.  Maybe they hope no one will come.

The Times-Standard isn’t too impressed with the fanciful plan or the out-of-touch consultant, TranSystems:

[T]he consultant depends too heavily on a gigantic spike in cruise ship traffic to make the project profitable. In the first version of the study, TranSystems estimated that the port would draw 43 cruise ships. In this revision, the consultant says 30 to 40.

When the Port of Humboldt Bay has only brought in one to two cruise ships per year over the past decade, it’s hard to imagine Eureka is suddenly going to become the next big thing for West Coast cruise ships.

Read it and reel:

  1. Final Draft Redwood Marine Terminal Business Plan Oct 31, 2008 – (3.3 MB)
  2. Executive Summary Final Draft Redwood Marine Terminal Business Plan Oct 31, 2008 – (2.8 MB)
  3. Public Comments Final Draft Redwood Marine Terminal Business Plan Oct 31, 2008 – (336 kb)
  1. November 13, 2008 at 12:40 pm

    30-40 cruise ships for Humboldt Bay when San Francisco gets 59? Don’t think so.

  2. someone who actually attends
    November 13, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    They had to change the meeting dates for the most recent meeting and the upcoming one due to conflicts — it was discussed at one of the October meetings if I recall correctly. Maybe if more people showed up on a regular basis, they wouldn’t get “suspicious” when the district follows up on plans set.

  3. someone who actually attends
    November 13, 2008 at 12:50 pm

    (My defense of their meeting date should in no way be taken as support of TranSystems’ business plan. Simply correcting any notion that the Friday meeting was somehow set up on the sly.)

  4. November 13, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    Fair enough. Thanks for the clarification.

  5. November 13, 2008 at 12:54 pm

    If we got smart and decriminalized pot here in Eureka and Humboldt we might get some cruise ships stopping here. Can any one say cannabis tourism?

    Wouldn’t they come here just like they visit the fine wine regions?

    have a peaceful day,

  6. Anonymous
    November 13, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    Maybe they could tour the shoe factory too.

  7. Emerald Hexagon
    November 13, 2008 at 1:09 pm

    How about a grow scene version of a dude ranch? We could charge tourists a ridiculous amount of money, dress them in camo, make them sleep in makeshift hide out camps and dig holes, run water lines, and chase deer. Then we could get someone to fly over and scare them with helicopters. We could charge a premium for the Sept.- Oct. Harvest season because they would then get the pleasure of learning the lost art of trimming weed. Wrap the whole year up with a Reggae show and I think we have a viable business plan.

    Dang, I shouldn’t have given that gem away…

  8. Anonymous
    November 13, 2008 at 1:09 pm

    People WILL show up, but it will be to no avail. We have three idiot commissioners, and David Hull is a complete idiot as well. Basically the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District is FUBAR. They will continue to squander money until the next election.

  9. Anonymous
    November 13, 2008 at 3:14 pm

    I’ve been accused of naysaying too much, so I’ll say yay! The Marine Terminal plan is glorious, and we should all embrace it like we would embrace a chance encounter with a friendly woman on second street. I’ve got $36 million in my pocket and, yes, I am happy to meet you.

  10. Jonathan
    November 13, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    There is a better plan floating around that seems more scaled to our Bay. Those of you who are interested may want to review the following. Not sure if all will buy in, but worth consideration.


    Mr. Pepper, the CEO, has sent out an invitation to the Harbor District and to the City of Eureka to investigate taking part in a west coast SSS network.


  11. November 13, 2008 at 8:55 pm

    Emerald Hexagon, that’s hilarious! I was reading the post and the responses, thinking, “Who would want to go on a cruise… to Eureka?” When I got to your comment, I laughed out loud.

  12. November 13, 2008 at 9:03 pm

    The container on a barge concept for local access to regional markets is worth hearing more about. Makes sense on several levels. Price, carbon footprint, energy security, low volume compared to grandiose major port schemes with lower impacts on the bay… Addresses many business concerns about the 101 corridor…

    What are the downsides? Shipping turnaround times? Still too high an impact on the bay / risk of spills etc.??

  13. Anonymous
    November 13, 2008 at 10:49 pm

    What are the downsides?


  14. November 14, 2008 at 2:37 am

    A Friday meeting! That’s lame. I would be suspicious of any public business conducted on a Friday night. We should all keep our eyes focused on this meeting’s happenings.

  15. Jonathan
    November 14, 2008 at 7:22 am

    Time isnt a downside as most the infrastructure is in place. There is a letter circulating to all the papers, government folks and Greenwheels and Baykeepers. Takes a lot of carbon out of the air from the trucks it takes off the corridor and I dont see anywhere that it ties into the RR.

    Seeks MARAD involvement -marine highway- utilization that the Feds are trying to set up, and Callifornia 1B partnership.

    Seek and ye shall find.

  16. Just another citizen
    November 14, 2008 at 7:53 am

    Heelllooooo – Friday night was the only night the Wharfinger Building was available – it’s okay people, change in plans do not equal giant conspiracy – or are the others voices telling you something else?

  17. Short Sea Shipping
    November 14, 2008 at 8:09 am

    As you will notice from reading the plan, the container on barge proposal mentioned above and brought forth by Humboldt Logistics, is a huge part of the plan. Interesting idea.

    The expansion will only start if certain obstacles are overcome, such as the railroad and economic justification.

  18. Anonymous
    November 14, 2008 at 8:41 am

    Container-on-barge shipping would likely be much faster than the railroad for a number of reasons:

    1) It can be done now, without having to rebuild 300 miles of railroad plus numerous bridges and tunnels.

    2) The trains’ speed would be limited by the railroad’s rating, it’s condition and it’s layout. The trains would likely roll at 15-25 mph for much of the trip, and would make numerous stops. A barge would be very competitive.

    3) The ocean doesn’t get shutdown by seasonal landslides and doesn’t require constant and ongoing maintenance.

    4) The railroad would only be viable in combination with the container shipping port, and the container freight would have first-priority for use of the trains. Any local producers or manufacturers wanting to ship their products would be subjugated to the international container freight, and may not be served well if at all. Barging would almost excluively serve local producers.

  19. neomoderate
    November 14, 2008 at 8:47 am

    Barging would make the RR irrelevant.

  20. Regular Entrance User
    November 14, 2008 at 8:59 am

    8:41: “The ocean doesn’t […] require constant and ongoing maintenance.”

    Are you serious? Maybe the ocean doesn’t, but I can’t even keep track of the millions of dollars spent to keep the harbor entrance open, not to mention the dredging required to maintain the marinas. Inconceivable quantities of sand and mud must be moved in order to keep the channel open for what traffic we already have. Bringing in ever larger ships will only increase the demand for such work, bringing bigger costs and who knows what other unintended consequences. With our notoriously dangerous ocean conditions and a notoriously dangerous harbor entrance, the additional risk of shipwreck and catastrophic oil spills are unacceptable.

  21. November 14, 2008 at 10:01 am

    I like the barging idea. It’s not without its restraints, though. As noted above, this isn’t a real ship or barge friendly bay although we regularly receive our gasoline via barge.

    I actually called Renner Petroleum and asked about that once. Yes, most of the gas is brought in by barge, but sometimes the Coast Guard won’t let the barges into the bay if the sea is too rough. I got the impression that doesn’t happen often, though.

  22. neomoderate
    November 14, 2008 at 10:21 am

    The barging idea doesn’t require larger ships – the Harbor commission’s pipe dream does.

  23. November 14, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    This coastline is far too dangerous to expand our port. What a ridiculous idea!

    Have any of you ever watched the Coast Guard try to escape the Bay through the jettys during a storm? It takes them a few trys sometimes to get up enough speed to break through the massive waves in the channel, waves that sometimes pull people off of the jettys. These waves can even dump huge OG logs on top of them. If the Coast Guard has trouble getting out, why would we allow chemical laden vessels into our Bay?

    Why is the cruise industry even a consideration? I was hoping that it woud completely collapse with the cost of fuel.

    Who would dredge the Bay? The Army?

    This is the most ridiculous scheme lately and I hope most of you decide to put the Friday night festivities off until after the sales pitch.

  24. anonymous
    November 14, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    Did your foil hat slip again?

  25. November 14, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    Who needs a foil hat for recognizing the dangers of the Lost Coast?

    Have you ever seen the memorials for the lost at sea in both Eureka and Trinidad Harbor?

    Are you a future drowning victim, Anonymous 12:30, if that’s your real name? Watch out for those sneaker waves, that’s what the aliens have told me, foil blocks their special messages from Jesus. :)

  26. Not A Native
    November 14, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    My quick interpretation of the report’s financial summary is that it showed even the unprecedented level of cruise ship and cargo traffic the report predicts wouldn’t generate enough port revenue to pay for the multipurpose berth costs. See figure 1-5 and table 1-3 of the executive summary.

    The financial viability of the multipurpose berth comes from potential barge type traffic, a new potential business. In any event, the optimistic timeframe to construct the berth is 6 years, with the first two years mostly devoted to finding barge and cruise customers.

    I’d say the Harbor District should take a realistic look at the current economic situation, especially with the loss of pulp mill traffic, and decide to give low level support for a detailed study of the economics and market for barge shipping. I’m sure they’ll be hearing proposals from the people of the website mentioned here already.

    But if the District is truly heading toward bankruptcy, exacerbated by the loss of pulp mill traffic, they have an immediate need to reduce costs right now.

    The multipurpose and container terminal concepts are too rediculous to comment on other than the project time line is “10 years or more”, with little detail.

  27. HumRed
    November 14, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    Muskshit go back to where ever you came from as you are full of shit. Go back to the trees where you seem to belong, even though you are not from here you want to tell us all how to live. Most of your opinions lack fact and are based on bias information.

  28. November 14, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    The Harbor District loses $40k a month in income while the pulp mill is closed. That income was for fees from the one ship a month to the mill. They are also paying $140k a year to each of the two bar pilots needed to escort ships over the bar.

  29. November 14, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    I love you too, HumRed :)

    Looks like I struck a nerve or something.

  30. Anonymous
    November 14, 2008 at 4:15 pm

    That’s 140K plus benefits and expenses. More like 200k a year, each. Don’t forget the marketing guy, he’s another 150K with all his perks. Adds up fast.

  31. Anonymous
    November 14, 2008 at 4:42 pm

    Humred, I bet you have been searching for love your whole life. You are one sorry sad sack.

  32. Snickerdoodles
    November 14, 2008 at 4:42 pm

    Anon 10:49 has a good point … a lot of the trucks rushing between here and there are carrying perishable goods. Trucks can get to Truckee in a day. A barge will take two to three days passage to the SF Bay (provided there’s decent weather).

    As one who’s floated a bit along our coastline — it’s hairy out there folks — huge container ships routinely lose a portion of their deckside cargo.

    I’d be wary of any panacea — but the idea still intrigues me.

    Say, anyone catch the legal notice in the NCJ about expanding riverbed gravel extraction — where’s Carlos Quilez when you need him?

  33. olphart
    November 14, 2008 at 5:37 pm

    Chemical laden vessels into the bay – – or you can call that gasoline. Let us spread the fear far and wide.
    When in trouble
    When in doubt
    Run in circles
    Scream and shout!
    The fucking ocean is cursed right off Humboldt Bay. It is sunny, warm and light breezes everywhere else. Why, oh why, are we cursed?

  34. olphart
    November 14, 2008 at 5:39 pm

    Gravel needs to be extracted from the lower Eel River. It would alleivate flooding and created fish habitat. Or, as the fishermen call it, deep cold fishing holes. That gravel could be extracted all the way to Rio Dell and not harm the river. For years and years. Oh shit, I did it again and am for natural resource extraction. How evil.

  35. The Monitor
    November 14, 2008 at 10:57 pm

    I would expect 30 ships a year, of all types, would be somewhat realistic. If that doesn’t pencil out then build a less expensive facility. There is such a thing as being grounded in reality. I’ve seen nothing that convinces me that the figures are real. Also, there will be little or no traffic until the economy turns around and that certainly is not in sight at the moment.

    There is something else that is going to be hard to overcome with cruise ships. Maritime law only allows ships, of other than US registry, only two ports of call in California. It is a law passed before the 2nd WW to protect American Shipping. It has never been changed so why would a cruise ship stop here when they have San Francisco, LA, Long Beach, or San Diego available. I am sure someone knows about this sticky little problem.

  36. olphart
    November 15, 2008 at 6:44 pm

    They have the cruise ship stop in Ensenada to get around the law.

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