Tag Archives: cargo ships

Ships lying off Manchester generate a question – again

The in basket: Goolsbee Snitworthy, a tongue-in-cheek pseudonym for a Manchester reader, e-mailed in February to say its time for me  to “put on your water wings and morph from the Road Warrior into the ‘Water Warrior.’   Perhaps you could do a short item exploring why bulk cargo ships are anchoring in Puget Sound in front of Manchester.

“Last winter it was container ships and this winter it is bulk cargo ships.   Last winter it was because of labor problems at the Port of Seattle.    I have not heard or read anything about labor problems this year.   So why are these ships anchoring where they are?”

The out basket: Lt. Dana Warr, public affairs officer for the 13th Coast Guard District, replies, “In consultation with the Puget Sound Pilots and Harbor Safety Committee, the Coast Guard recently changed the fall/winter anchoring procedures to shift vessels from the Smith Cover West anchorage and some from Tacoma to the Yukon Harbor anchorage (near Blake Island).

“This shift to an existing federal-regulated anchorage was for a variety of reasons.  The most important is the Coast Guard observed that vessels were dragging anchor due to less favorable bottom conditions in Smith Cove.  With the prevailing winds, the vessels tended to drag anchor towards jetties and land fall.

“To reduce the risk of grounding and subsequent potential environmental damage, the Coast Guard shifted the vessels to the more protected, better holding grounds in Yukon Harbor. The Yukon Harbor anchorage typically has (fewer) vessels anchored in the summer months.”

Smith Cove is the northern part of Elliott Bay in Seattle.