Frank Allen of Astoria, Oregon is quickly becoming one of my heroes.
He is proposing a ship breaking facility in Astoria. Recycling ships can be toxic, and in countries without regulations life-threatening. But leaving ships to degrade and rot (which we have in our waterways everywhere) is a travesty to the waters, the materials, and the history of a working vessel.
We wish Frank Allen the best of luck in his quest.
By EDWARD STRATTON
“What we’re proposing is not shipbreaking,” said Frank Allen, a partner with Scott Fraser in Blue Ocean Environmental, standing at the front of a packed Port of Astoria Commission meeting Tuesday night.
During a presentation, he talked as much to the audience as he did the Port commissioners.
The abnormally large crowd gathered in anticipation of Blue Ocean’s proposal for recycling the metal from derelict vessels at the Port’s North Tongue Point facility. Several previous applications for shipbreaking on the Columbia River have been rejected in recent years because of widespread fears that toxic materials would pollute fragile salmon areas.
The Port and Blue Ocean had a nondisclosure agreement that was recently lifted.
“I have a job,” said Allen, adding that he works in the international seafood trade. “This is just something that bothers me.”
There are 300 derelict vessels in Oregon and 400 in Washington deteriorating and polluting the environment, said Allen. Thousands are being disposed of without any environmental concerns, he said.
He said the two options with this issue are to be proactive or do nothing.
“There’s a lot of hurdles to doing this right,” said Allen, who offered to rent a space in Astoria for multiple town halls to discuss how his company wants to recycle vessels. “The true thing is to do this very slowly, very carefully.”
His operation would start with a small, 60- to 70-foot vessel at North Tongue Point. Blue Ocean would bring in specialists to remove the toxic substances, recycle the metal and ship it by barge to Seattle. Steel firm Nucor Corporation (www.nucor .com) will take it for what Allen said would currently be about $19 a ton and reprocess it for use in the U.S.
“We’re working directly under the EPA,” said Allen, adding that the operation’s primary environmental monitor reporting to the state would be the Maul Foster & Alongi engineering firm of Portland. The U.S. Coast Guard would also be involved in permitting Blue Ocean to tow any vessels in.
“We’re doing it to prove a point: that it can be done,” said Allen, adding that it’s going to build up over a number of years and not be a moneymaker to start. He asked for a chance to try the process on a small, possibly local vessel, after which Blue Ocean, the Port and the public could go over the results and decide whether to keep Blue Ocean around.
“The good thing for the community about this … it’s so labor intensive,” said Allen. “It takes so much manpower to get this done. And they’re not minimum-wage jobs.”
Along with a willingness to give three or four public presentations, Allen said he’ll look into creating an email account specifically for people with questions about his proposal and will provide information to the public that isn’t proprietary. Blue Ocean doesn’t currently have a web site.
“Years down the road, we’d like to work on larger vessels,” said Allen, adding that he sees Tongue Point being able to handle 50 vessels a year at full capacity. “Someone’s got to address this. It can’t keep going the way it’s going.”
Oregon or Washington native? You will want to read the entire article via Shipbreaking is ‘recycling,’ Port is told – Daily Astorian: Free.