The U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Francisco personnel and CMA CGM – the third-largest shipping group – along with other local industry partners tested the Bay Area’s capability to tow ultra-large container vessels during an exercise Wednesday.
The vessel used for this exercise was CMA CGM’s Centaurus, an 11400 TEU container ship measuring 365 meters, or approximately 1,200 feet.
The purpose of the towing demonstration was to test the capability of existing tug assets within San Francisco Bay to connect to and tow an ultra-large container vessel.
This exercise marked the first such attempt in the United States. The demonstration was intended as a learning experience conducted within the confines of the Bay to enhance preparedness for emergency towing operations either in the Bay or in the approaches to San Francisco.
“The Coast Guard is excited to be a part of this groundbreaking demonstration,” said Capt. Gregory Stump, commander of Sector San Francisco and Captain of the Port of San Francisco. “This is a prime example of the forward-leaning posture of the San Francisco Bay Area Harbor Safety Committee and a testament to the commitment of our maritime community to safety and environmental protection.”
“There will be many important lessons learned from this exercise,” said Coast Guard Cmdr. Jason Tama with the 11th Coast Guard District prevention division. “It was a great example of the Coast Guard, Harbor Safety Committee, and maritime industry working together to ensure we are ready to respond to an incident involving an ultra large container vessel.”
Commenting on the operation, Marc Bourdon, President of CMA CGM America declared, “We are very proud to cooperate with the U.S. Coast Guard and the San Francisco Harbor Safety Committee for this drilling exercise, which illustrated CMA CGM’s strong commitment to safety and security.”
The CMA CGM Group is a leading and recognized industry player in the field of safety and security, and constantly aims to achieve the highest security standards at all times, Bourdon said.
Press Release, May 23, 2014; Image: USCG