By Rick Smeriglio for SCN -
At its meeting on March 19, Port and Commerce Advisory Board unanimously passed a resolution that city of Seward fund the design of an 8-ton, stationary crane at the end of I-dock in the small boat harbor. PACAB recommend that funds come from the raw-fish tax collected from commercial fishers. A design by the engineering firm Moffatt and Nichol would cost about 30,000 dollars. A complete project from design through installation would cost about 300,000 dollars. City of Seward could save money by using city workers and equipment for installation. Users would pay to use the crane. Resolution 2014-01 merely recommends funding a design. City Council must decide whether to proceed with the crane or pursue other harbor needs such as replacing aging docks.
Currently, the small boat harbor has no crane for general public use. Vessel owners not associated with commercial fisheries make their own arrangements for heavy lifting. Seward Fisheries privately operates boom trucks and three cranes primarily for its own use. Capacities range from 4 to 14 tons. The Seward Fisheries plant stands between T- and I-dock at the harbor’s north end. In addition to unloading fish, cranes work to load engines, skiffs, fuel drums, building materials, and other gear too heavy to lift with muscle.
The seven-member board debated where to locate the crane. PACAB, after consultation with harbor staff, vessel owners, and Seward Fisheries management, chose I-dock because of good access by land and sea. I-dock probably would require structural reinforcement to accommodate a crane. The travel-lift bulkhead, while suitable, lacks the sea room of I-dock. T-dock, site of a fatality involving a boom truck in 2012, becomes busy and crowded during fishing season.
Two fishing-vessel owners spoke in favor of the crane. Rhonda Hubbard of F/V Kruzof said that she wanted a crane independent of the fish-buyer’s cranes. She said that skippers feel awkward when they don’t sell locally, but still need to use a crane. Arne Hatch of F/V Miss Melody said that he could accept any location, but expressed disappointment that the board had considered a crane as small as 1.5 tons. Board member Bruce Jaffa quipped that such a small crane was next to having no crane.
In other business, representatives of the Railroad, Chamber of Commerce, City of Seward, and harbor staff reported several items of interest to PACAB. A barge load of building supplies has arrived and off-loading has started. Oil-spill response training will occur on April 14 and 15. Workers have completed harbor restroom upgrades. Restrooms at the south end of the small boat harbor will remain open year around. Preliminary cost estimates for a proposed breakwater at the Seward Marine Industrial Center have gone down to 24 million dollars. The mariners’ memorial will have landscaping installed this year. A raffle for a quilt, now on display at Breeze Inn, will raise funds for the memorial. Harbor workers have discovered that some flotation billets under the newly replaced D-float have missing plugs. Water has infiltrated into the floats. The contractor will have to solve the problem.