Foss Sealift Helps Restore Power to Puerto Rico

One of 563 utility vehicles delivered by Foss to Puerto Rico rolls off a barge at the Port of Ponce.

Foss recently orchestrated a massive sealift to Puerto Rico, delivering 563 utility vehicles to the Port of Ponce as part of an on-going effort to restore power to the island that was devastated by back-to-back hurricanes in September.

The tug Corbin Foss and four chartered tugs towed seven bargeloads from Norfolk, Virginia, and Lake Charles, Louisiana, to the U.S. territory safely in less than two weeks, arriving in late January. A tight schedule and unusually cold weatherwere the major challenges.

“We were planning this over the holidays, so we didn’t have much time to outfit seven barges,” said Capt. Peter Roney, project manager for Foss. “And the unusually cold weather on the East and Gulf coasts was a hurdle for us.”

The shipment, from a coalition of 19 U.S. electric companies, included bucket trucks, line trucks, pickups, aerial lifts, CAT skid-steer loaders,digger derricks, and pull trailers.

More than 1,000 line workers and other personnel from participating electric companies flew in to meet the trucks and start work supporting the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to restore power.

“It was an amazing collaboration between Foss and the utility companies to help restore the power grid in Puerto Rico,” said Roney.“A lot of people are still without power,so we’re glad that we had the crews and vessels at the ready to help deliver these much needed resources to the island.

“Overall, it was a huge success.”

In addition to the company’s latest project shipping utility trucks, Foss has been working in conjunction with government agencies in support of relief and rebuilding efforts in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands for several months.

Foss’ involvement with the hurricane relief started in St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands on Sept. 24 with two accommodation vessels to provide warm meals and “floating hotels” for hundreds of first responders. They were moved to Puerto Rico Oct. 17 to support relief efforts there.

The company has also beencontracted to ship a load of power equipment and three loads of water to the island.

“Foss has proven once again that we have the capability and resources to accomplish a complex logistics operation under tight timelines,” said director of cargo operations Robert Wagoner. “We continue to enhance our ability to respond to natural disasters like Haiti in 2010 and Sandy in 2012 and now Irma and Maria for USAID, DOD, DLA and FEMA.”

Key Foss personnel in the most recent sealift, in addition to Roney and Wagoner, included Leiv Lea, co-project manager, Jim Daley, operations director, Henry Palmer, port captain, Amber Thomas, project controls manager, Jay Schram, cargo superintendent, David Roy, chief mate and Dave Chesnut, Bill Wallace and Ryan Regner, barge laborers. John Tirpak handled the commercial side of the project.