« ForrigeFortsett »
As will be observed from the following table, showing the foreign trades served by vessels calling at the Port of New York, the greatest number of vessels were engaged in the United Kingdom and Northern Europe trade with 1,251 arrivals during the year 1976. Matching the same figure as during the year 1975.
Ships serving the Port of New York by flag
2 Liberian. 2, 370 Malaysia.
7 Netherland Antilles-
3 Saudi Arabia.
7 31 28 61 28 145
2 17 50 112 26 1 2 20
6 27 46 8
falls Tecte that
M M N
Mr. CRETAN. I will make this brief.
I am Nick Cretan, executive director of the Maritime Association of the Port of New York, a 104-year-old trade organization dedicated to the promotion and development of the Port of New York.
Association membership represents the broad cross-section of over 800 related port interests, including steamship lines, chandlers, stevedores, and public and private pier facilities.
I wish to thank the chairman and members of the subcommittee for the courtesy of allowing me to add my brief comments on bill H.R. 362.
The importance of an effective and well-equipped marine firefighting capability to the bi-State port, and all other American ports, cannot be underestimated. In 1976 alone, the marine division of the New York City Fire Department, although undermanned and underequipped due to Gotham's seemingly perennial fiscal crunch, battled some 241 blazes of all types, ranging from pier and waterfront to vessel fires. Despite manpower and equipment shortages, the division has also repeatedly responded to requests for aid from New Jersey communities, expending nearly $20,000 in operating costs since 1972 not yet recovered from the State of New Jersey.
Such expenditures heavily tax the already strained resources of the dedicated waterborne firefighters of the marine division. For although a recent federally sponsored study of the marine firefighting facilities of Seattle, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and other U.S. ports by FDNY officers found New York's marine division to be among the best equipped harbor fire units in America, much of that division's strength exists only on paper.
In 1964, the marine division employed some 500 firefighters. Today, that complement has been reduced to 160 men.
Officially, the division is equipped with some seven large fireboats with a total pumping capacity of some 84,000 gallons per minute and one fireboat tender with a capacity of 2,000 gallons per minute. In fact however, only one of these large boats is fully manned for immediate response. In order to employ others to combat blazes the division is forced to utilize "personnel from land-based fire companies,” according to a spokesman, thus stripping sorely needed manpower from FDNY's busy regular units. In addition, funds for maintenance on two of the marine division's large reserve fireboats have been cut back, presenting the possibility that they will be unavailable for use in time of emergencies.
The probability of such emergencies grows daily in the bi-State port, with the ever-increasing flow of vessel traffic via New YorkNew Jersey.
In 1976 some 7,730 vessels arrived here, with nearly 4,000 logged by June 1977.
Of these 1976 ship arrivals, some 2,387 were tankships bearing cargoes of petroleum, liquid nitrogen (LNG), kerosene, naphtha, and sundry other chemical substances.
Due to continuing waterfront replacement of rotting wooden piers, sheds, and other constructions by steel and concrete facilities, vessel fires and explosions have become the No. 1 future concern of FDNY's marine division. Sufficient resources to deal with such potential disasters will be needed by the division in order to secure the continued safe growth of the bi-State port.
At this point, Mr. Chairman, I wish to thank you for your efforts in support of modifications of the Newark Bay drawbridge. Hopefully, with all possible speed, that navigational hazard will be corrected. It presents a constant danger to port commerce and safety that concerns us deeply.
Mr. Biaggi. Well, the funds are there. I think we are doing the job. Mr. CRETAN. I hope so.
Now in regards to proposal H.R. 362, the Maritime Association of the Port of New York endorses fully legislation to provide Federal funds to aid ports in upgrading marine firefighting capabilities.
However, in reflecting the views of various members of the maritime community, we will endorse this legislation only if grant moneys provided are channeled directly through existing port authorities or local governmental agencies already in existence to the local fire departments or port authority units already established, Mr. Chairman, to provide increased port fire protection.
That is in sum and total, Mr. Chairman, of my brief remarks on this bill.
I think, Mr. Chairman, that your summary of fire hazards facing our port was excellent. And I believe that everyone concerned with American foreign trade, within and without our particular industry, shares your interest in providing the best possible fire protection for all American ports.
Mr. Biaggi. Thank you very much.
Mr. CRETAN. I have also brought one copy of a document totaling ship arrivals in the Port of New York since 1947. It gives one some idea of the substantial changes through those years. In 1957 there were some 15,000 arrivals, dropping to our present levels. However, of course, the vessels have become much larger.
Mr. BIAGGI. Where is that?
1947. 1948 1949. 1950. 1951. 1952. 1953. 1954. 1955. 1956. 1957 1958. 1959. 1960. 1961.
Total arrivals at the Port of New York from 1947 through 1976
Arrivals 12, 838 12, 448 12, 289 11, 546 12, 115 11, 462 10, 395 10, 110 10, 338 9, 066 9, 347 9, 093 8, 375 7, 832 7, 730
Mr. BIAGGI. At this time I would like to introduce into the record a statement by Congressman Joshua Eilberg, who is the author of this legislation; Hon. Baltasar Corrada, the Resident Commissioner from Puerto Rico, and also from the American Association of Port Authorities.
[The following was received for the record:) STATEMENT OF Hon. Joshua EILBERG, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM
THE STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA Mr. Chairman, I welcome this opportunity to submit a statement to the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Navigation, in connection with your public hearings on H.R. 362, which would provide for Federal grants to port authorities to assist them in planning for and dealing with a major threat to public safetymarine fires in our nation's busy port cities. .
I am proud to be the sponsor of this legislation, and I feel privileged that the distinguished Chairman of this Subcommittee has joined me in the introduction of this legislation.
As the Subcommittee is undoubtedly aware, the bill now under consideration had its genesis in other, and broader, legislation, introduced in the 94th Congress by our colleague on the Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee, the gentleman from New Jersey, Mr. Forsythe. I was a cosponsor of that legislation which had as its goal the establishment of a national marine firefighting program.
The first hearings on Mr. Forsythe's bill were conducted in the City of Philadelphia in June of 1976 by the Subcommittee on Merchant Marine, and I was privileged to chair those hearings.
The main thrust of that legislation was to help encourage the establishment of adequate shipboard firefighting procedures and equipment, and to train firefighters, police and seamen, to meet marine fire emergencies. But the Philadelphia hearings made it clear that our bill was deficient in one major respect-it simply did not deal with the reality of in-port fires, as opposed to fires aboard ship.
Witnesses from the Philadelphia Fire Department, the Delaware County, the Marcus Hook Fire Company, the Council for Emergency Operations on the Delaware River Basin, the Coast Guard's Fireboat Task Force, the Philadelphia Port Corporation, the South Jersey Port Corporation, and the City of Camden, N.J., all testified about the enormity of the problem which port areas face in dealing with marine fires.
The fact is that our major port cities are perpetually balanced on the knife edge of disaster. In the Philadelphia port area, which embraces port facilities in Southeastern Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey and Delaware, we have repeatedly faced major tragedies in recent years-collisions and fires aboard oil tankers and chemical-carrying vessels have been frequent, and twice in recent years our major oil refineries have been swept by devastating fires.
The port area to which I refer stretches 62 miles along the Delaware River, from New Castle, Delaware in the South to Morrisville, Pennsylvania in the North. The only marine firefighting equipment available for this vast area consists of three fireboats owned and operated by the City of Philadelphia. All three fireboats are more than a quarter of a century old. They should long since have been replaced, but the cost of replacement simply is beyond the economic capabilities of the City of Philadelphia.
I should make it clear that, although Philadelphia's three aging fireboats serve other port communities in Pennsylvania, and port communities in the neighboring states of New Jersey and Delaware, the $2 million a year cost of their operation is borne solely by the City of Philadelphia. The Philadelphia marine unit responds in humanitarian fashion to all calls for help along the 62-mile stretch of river, and it has neither sought nor received a penny's reimbursement from the neighbors it has served.
For some time, the City has searched for ways to modernize its marine firefighting equipment. Fire Commissioner Jospeh R. Rizzo has inspected surplus government fireboats, thinking they might provide some measure of updating our firefighting capabilities—but what few vessels the government had in its surplus property were, if anything, older and in less serviceable condition than those now patrolling the Delaware River.
I, myself, have met at length with the Honorable Bardyl R. Tirana, Director of the Defense Civil Preparedness Agency, to explore the possibility of obtaining help in purchasing new fireboats through that agency's equipment matching funds. Regrettably, Mr. Tirana informs me that the matching funds for obtaining equipment are limited, that they must be spread throughout the 50 States, and that, in any event, they are limited to the purchase of warning and communications equipment. It baffles me that the Defense Civil Preparedness Agency construes its mission so narrowly that the only equipment it has in mind are air raid sirens and shortwave radios. It depresses me that the agency cannot see the role that marine firefighting equipment plays in time of natural disaster or enemy attack, when you consider that our port cities are not only vital links in our national supply line but that they also contain extensive energy complexes on which our nation relies. But the fact of the matter is that the Defense Civil Preparedness Agency cannot help us with obtaining new equipment, and that all they can offer is the surplus property route, which Fire Commissioner Rizzo has already explored and found useless.
So we are thrown back on the legislation now pending in your Subcommittee. Early enactment of this legislation would make it possible for either the City of Philadelphia, or a special tri-State complex embracing the Delaware River area, to obtain modern marine firefighting equipment. The need is urgent, and grows more urgent each day. Oil tanker traffic is on the increase; more and inore ships carrying raw material for our chemical industry ply that 62-mile stretch of river; and proposals are going forward to establish facilities in the port area to handle liquified natural gas, which will mean still more tanker traffic, involving a highly volatile product.
Mr. Chairman, the Philadelphia hearings which did so much to focus on the dimensions of the problem facing our port area, are a matter of record and are contained in the volume of hearings, Serial No. 94-40, of the Subcommittee on Merchant Marine from the last Congress. I would ask that those hearings be formally incorporated in the record of these proceedings. It would be much less time consuming to incorporate those hearings into the record of these proceedings than to return to Philadelphia for a re-run of last year's session.
And time genuinely is of the essence. Every day, we face the prospect of another disaster in the busy Philadelphia-Delaware Basin port area; and every day, the City of Philadelphia's marine firefighting equipment grows older and less capable of dealing with a possible crisis.
I would urge the Subcommittee, upon completion of these hearings, to move quickly to mark-up on the legislation which the Chairman and I have introduced. I pledge to the Subcommittee my full and vigorous support for the legislation as soon as it is brought to the full Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries, and on the floor of the House of Representatives.
Mr. Chairman, we haven't a moment to lose.