Crew member warns of dock safety in wake of sailor’s drowning

by Tim Flanagan on November 30, 2011

JOHN GILLIE has the story in the Tacoma News Tribune:

The Port of Tacoma plans to spend some $1.5 million to deepen water adjacent to one of its main containership terminals because sediments have restricted the terminal’s use.

Puget Sound pilots guiding ships into Husky Terminal on the port’s Blair Waterway warned the port in the summer of 2010 that several high spots on the waterway’s bottom were making it difficult to berth ships at the terminal. Later tests confirmed the pilots’ reports.

Those tests showed that sediment flowing from the nearby Puyallup River and scoured from the Blair channel by tugboats’ propellers and the bow thrusters of the ships passing down the waterway had reduced the depth along Piers 3 and 4 significantly.

The port’s lease with containership operator “K” Line requires the port maintain a water depth of at least 51 feet at low tide to allow the ships to tie up.

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STEVE MAYNARD has the story in the Tacoma News Tribune:

The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department wants to purchase a new saltwater patrol and rescue boat to replace its last one, this web
The Reliance, Hemorrhoids
which sank over the summer.

The new boat would be larger, illness
faster and more expensive. The price tag: $730,000.

Talk about sticker shock.

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JOHN GILLIE has the story in the News Tribune:

Tacoma longshore workers say they’re taking a cautious approach to potentially explosive shipping containers that are arriving at the Port of Tacoma.

The International Longshore Workers Union and shipping lines have agreed on a procedure coast-wide to screen out those containers after three workers in Vietnam and Brazil lost their lives this year from explosions in the containers’ refrigeration units.

Those explosions appear to have been caused by contaminated refrigerant used to recharge those containers’ refrigeration units at a Ho Chi Minh City, side effects
Vietnam, container maintenance facility. That refrigerant is corrosive to the refrigerant units’ parts and explosive if exposed to air.

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Deborah Bach has the story at Three Sheets Northwest:

[Boats moored at Blakely Island Marina on Nov. 11, pfizer
2010, pharm
the night Don Mierzeski died. Photos courtesy of Colin Wahl]

A crew member on the boat whose owner died at Blakely Island Marina earlier this month is warning fellow boaters about a danger that is easily overlooked.

Colin Wahl was crewing on the J/35 Shirker, decease owned by 42-year-old Don Mierzeski of Bellingham. Mierzeski and his crew were at the marina in preparation for the Round the County regatta the weekend of Nov. 12 and 13. But Mierzeski died sometime late Friday night when he fell off the dock after an alcohol-fueled argument. An autopsy concluded that he died from accidental drowning.

Wahl said Mierzeski’s death tragically underscores the need to be careful on docks. Boaters will wear life jackets while out on the water but typically take them off after landing at a marina. And after being out on the water, particularly in challenging conditions, it’s easy to forget that marinas present their own hazards, Wahl said.

“When you’re in harbor, it’s like you’re safe and you don’t have to worry about anything,” he said. “We start to treat a dock like a sidewalk. If you fall off a sidewalk and hit your head, you’re not going to drown. But if you hit your head on the dock and fall off, that might be it.”

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