Large Containership Towing Capabilities Tested in San Francisco Bay

The U.S Coast Guard Sector San Francisco personnel working in collaboration with CMA CGM, the third-largest shipping group, San Francisco Bar Pilots, Starlight Marine Services, Foss Maritime and AmNav, tested the Bay Area’s capability to tow ultra-large container ship during a drill Wednesday, May 21.

The ship used for this drill was CMA CGM’s Centaurus, an 11400 TEU container ship measuring 365 meters, or approximately 1,200 feet.

Centaurus is among the largest ships calling on California ports. The tugs that successfully took the ship under tow were Ahbra Franco of Starlight Marine, and Marshall Foss of Foss Maritime. They were assisted with control of the ship by Revolution, of AmNav.

The towing drill tested the capability of the tugs which normally operate within San Francisco Bay to connect to and tow an ultra-large container ship in case of an emergency either in the Bay or in the approaches to San Francisco.

The Coast Guard said that “by all accounts, the drill was a success which reinforced the maritime community’s confidence in its ability to avert disaster in a break-down scenario for a large ship.”

Large Containership Towing Capabilities Tested in San Francisco Bay1

The drill marks the first attempt to simulate emergency towing of a ship of this size in the United States. This collaborative effort was a learning experience for all of the entities involved, and builds on the knowledge gained during discussion-based exercises and planning over the past year.

Coast Guard Sector San Francisco was involved in the drill throughout the planning stages, and provided the security necessary to ensure the tow could be conducted safely within the Bay.

“The Coast Guard is excited to be a part of this successful groundbreaking drill,” said Capt. Gregory Stump, commander of Coast Guard Sector San Francisco and Captain of The Port of San Francisco. “Ships calling on California ports continue to get larger, and we are working with our port partners to ensure we are ready to respond to an emergency.”

USCG, May 23, 2014

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