The First of Shell's Fleet Heads for Dutch Harbor as 9th Circuit Court Rules in Favor of the Oil Giant's Spill Response Plans

Thursday, June 11 2015

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Thursday in favor of the Department of Interior’s approval of two oil spill response plans for Arctic drilling put forward by Royal Dutch Shell.  The company plans to explore for oil in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas this summer.


A handful of environmental groups brought the suit.  They claim the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement didn’t do enough to review Shell’s plans.

With Matson Acquisition Final, Horizon Lines No Longer Exists

Tuesday, June 02 2015

The finalization of a deal to acquire Horizon Lines’ Alaska operations means the nation’s largest Jones Act shipping company no longer exists.  But the Matson Navigation Company isn’t planning any major changes to shipping service in the state.

For decades, Horizon Lines provided regular shipping service between Tacoma, Washington and Anchorage, Kodiak and Unalaska.

M/V Redeemer Heads for Scuttling, After Decades of Salvage Work

Wednesday, May 13 2015

Dan Magone stands in the wheelhouse of the salvage vessel Redeemer. (Annie Ropeik/KUCB)

A legendary Western Alaska salvage vessel has reached the end of its life. Salvager Dan Magone is getting ready to sink his old tugboat, the Redeemer.

It means he’s also getting ready for the next phase of his own storied career.

These days, even getting onto the Redeemer is a bit of an adventure. The tug is separated from the dock in Dutch Harbor by two other Dan Magone projects -- old vessels in disrepair.

Shell Oil Gets Conditional Approval for Arctic Drilling

Monday, May 11 2015

The Noble Discoverer in Unalaska in 2012. (KUCB file photo)

Shell has gotten another green light for its oil exploration season in the Chukchi Sea this summer.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management gave conditional approval for Shell’s exploration plan on Monday morning.

The conditions include getting permits from other federal agencies to actually drill for oil, work around marine mammals and discharge wastewater.

Shell spokeswoman Megan Baldino says they’re hoping those permits will be ”usable,” and will come through in time for a full summer season.

Seafood Plants Offset Wage Hike Through Room & Board

Friday, May 08 2015

A machine slices Pacific cod at Alyeska Seafoods while processors create fillets. (Annie Ropeik/KUCB)

In the next few weeks, thousands of seafood processors will return to Unalaska for pollock B season.

They’ll be earning more money, thanks to the state’s minimum wage hike -- but they’ll also be paying more to live. 

Added room & board costs are just one way processing plants are hoping to offset the wage increase.

Buffers Proposed for Shell Oil Fleet in Unalaska, Kotzebue

Thursday, May 07 2015

The Noble Discoverer in Unalaska in 2012. (KUCB file photo)

Final approvals for Shell Oil’s exploration season in the Chukchi Sea are expected in the coming days.

And while the company is struggling to secure a home port for its ships in Seattle, they’re still set to head north by June. 

Now, the Coast Guard in Alaska is proposing a set of navigational buffer zones for when fleet arrives.

The zones would cover oil support vessels near Unalaska and Kotzebue.

Nissui Sets Aside $21M for UniSea Dock Renovation

Wednesday, May 06 2015

UniSea runs the biggest processing complex in Unalaska. (Annie Ropeik/KUCB)

Unalaska’s biggest seafood processor is getting ready to start a $100 million renovation for its docks and factories.

In late April, UniSea got the green light and the first of that funding from its Japanese parent company, Nissui. They’ve earmarked $21 million for a new cod and crab dock in Unalaska.

UniSea president Tom Enlow says their current dock predates the company itself, and is basically condemned.

To Plan Port's Future, City Looks to Current Users

Thursday, April 30 2015

A diagram of the proposed upgrades includes wider crane rails (black dotted line), new piling and reshaping (blue shaded area) and larger vessels that might use the facility (outlined in water). (Courtesy: City of Unalaska)

Unalaska is preparing to spend tens of millions of dollars to upgrade the aging Port of Dutch Harbor. The hope is to serve bigger ships and more of them.

But the companies that use the dock right now aren’t so sure that big changes are needed.

They weighed in on the upgrades they do and don't want to see at a planning meeting on Wednesday night, as the city gets ready to remodel the port for the future.

State Lawmakers Echo Calls to Limit Halibut Bycatch

Wednesday, April 22 2015

Alaska lawmakers are adding their voices to the chorus seeking new limits on the Bering Sea trawl fleet.

A dozen representatives and senators from around the state have sent a letter to the chair of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council. They’re asking for a 50 percent reduction in the amount of halibut that trawlers can take as bycatch.

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