2011-04-21 / Letters to the Editor

Anchorage not an LNG issue

As a native islander, I employ great effort at every opportunity to read our Jamestown Press, even while overseas as a merchant marine officer. Ironically, however, as I read the “Viewpoint, (April 14, 2011),” I sit in the very anchorage Mr. Dick Lynn would have you afraid of.

I am a third officer of the S.S. Energy Enterprise, and I currently sit idle in a supposedly horrifying, informal anchorage, which Mr. Lynn considers a danger to Jamestown and other surrounding communities.

On a serious note, I take it as an affront to myself and to my profession for people who think they know, yet have no idea, to continuously create and distribute false information. I’d like to begin with Mr. Lynn’s assertion that formalizing this area as an anchorage would lead to LNG tankers making constant, undesired and unannounced appearances. The statement has its origins in another universe. Firstly, without a facility to accommodate these ships, why on earth would they anchor here? It also bears noting that construction of the facility, along with any other legitimate maritime use of Narragansett Bay, has been effectively squashed by the requirement for 25 feet of clearance under each bridge — a ridiculous requirement made nowhere else in the world.

Simply formalizing the area as an anchorage without adding a single port facility would most assuredly change the density of ship traffic by exactly 0 percent, let alone the density of LNG traffi c for a non-existent dock.

As I have repeatedly noted, these ships will not arrive unannounced. The captain of the port will have 96 hours notice before any ship arrives at this anchorage, even the dreaded LNG. If you qualify for the “need-toknow” list, you will also be made aware of such an arrival, LNG tanker or coal carrier.

Recently, Energy Enterprise steamed to Salem, Mass. For those unaware, to arrive in Salem, vessels must first buzz the shore of Gloucester. With a little homework, and one look at the chart of the area, it becomes painfully obvious that the offshore berths are nowhere near 20 miles from land, as Mr. Lynn claims. In fact, the true measure is 6.1 miles.

I must admit, as someone with a college education, I am embarrassingly perplexed by the direction this debate is taking. I was under the impression that “if Hess would move this offshore, there would be no problem.”

Here we find ourselves reading about the possibility of an anchorage being taken out of the very waters LNG opponents worried would not be shared. It’s being moved a number of miles offshore and it’s still not good enough. All the while, with no dock, there’s no reason for LNG’s to even use the anchorage.

This is not an LNG issue. This is an anti-shipping issue, its very foundation consisting only of misinformation and extreme hyperbole. Quite frankly, it’s disgusting.

Shawn D. Ouellette

Pemberton Avenue

Jamestown

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