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Film fest grooves on East Bay punk: Green Day executive produced it and Iggy Pop narrates it. If that’s not enough to get you interested in Corbett Redford’s “Turn It Around: The Story of East Bay Punk” — one of two opening night films at this year’s SF DocFest — consider this: There will be a 924 Gilman-like live music performance at the DNA Lounge in S.F. after the documentary screens at the Alamo Drafthouse in San Francisco. Redford’s film, which shows at 7 p.m. May 31, covers 30 years and the 924 Gilman music collective is integral to the narrative. The fest runs through June 15. “East Bay Punl” gets a wider release the following weekend. Details: $35/advance, $40/door for opening night; regular tickets $12-$14; more information, schedule, tickets at sfindie.com.— Randy Myers, Correspondent.
OAKLAND — At around 5 a.m, on a recent Thursday, captains Zack Kellerman and Ed Melvin grasped the oil-slicked handrails of a metal gangplank, climbing several stories to the deck of the Cosco Excellence, a 1,202-foot container vessel, docked at the Port of Oakland, The pilots will spend the next several hours in a calculated dance — a concise conversation with the ship’s captain as the pilot assumes command, the careful toggling of navigational equipment, the dropping of lines holding the ship at dock and the slow-moving choreography of tugboats pressed against the ship’s sides, alternately pushing and pulling — as the vessel leaves the port and heads back out to sea. By the time the sun has passed its zenith, the pilots will emerge from a small square portal on the side of the ballet flats with elastic band massive ship, clambering down a swaying rope ladder dangling from the vessel to reach a motor boat below, 11 miles past the Golden Gate..
As bar pilots, Kellerman and Melvin carry on the 167-year-old tradition of shepherding ships that come to call at ports throughout San Francisco Bay. The men are experts in the bay’s underwater topography, memorizing its hidden shoals and narrow channels, and checking constantly for changing currents. The bay is notoriously difficult to navigate, made all the more challenging as larger and larger ships enter its harbor. Last year, the largest ship ever to dock in North America made a stop at the Port of Oakland: a 1,300-foot behemoth named the Benjamin Franklin, which, if stood on its side, would eclipse the Empire State Building. It was, in many ways, a test run for the future of container shipping, said Mike Jacobs, vice president of the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association, a trade group representing marine terminals and vessel operators.
“There aren’t a lot of places that can accommodate vessels of that size,” Jacobs said, “But the U.S, West Coast is one of those places.”, Officials at the Port of Oakland are well aware of this natural advantage, The port has, over the past 10 years, spent $190 million to dredge berths and channels to increase their depths and accommodate the large vessels, Last year, it shelled out $1.6 million to keep the terminals open ballet flats with elastic band at night to reduce congestion at the docks, and earlier this month, it embarked on a $14 million project to raise four of its 36 cranes, already 366 feet tall, an additional 27 feet..
The estimated nine-month endeavor will enable the lumbering giants to reach higher onto a ship’s deck, said port spokesman Mike Zampa. “You can put all four cranes on one ship, and this gives them more flexibility to do more cargo handling,” he explained. “This is making sure Oakland is ready and competitive.”. As the ships grow in size, the margins for error shrink. In the Oakland Estuary, the ships must turn as if on an axle, rotating 180 degrees to face the sea. With the waterway bordered on one end by the scrap-metal recycling company Schnitzer Steel and the other by docked yachts, the bar pilots must pivot within a 1,450-foot-wide basin, leaving little room on either side for a misstep.
It’s a painstaking process, with the vessel moving at a glacial pace of fewer than 5 knots before reaching the turning basin, then inching carefully along to make a half-circle, Everything on ships happens slowly, Melvin says, except disaster, The pilots are extremely well-trained, required to have commanded their own oceangoing vessel or tugboat, draw from memory the channels and shoals in each section of the bay, pass extensive testing, complete a one- to three-year apprenticeship and pilot hundreds of ships along some 200 miles of routes between dozens of destinations ballet flats with elastic band in the bay before earning their license..
But they are not immune to error, the consequences of which can be dire. In 2007, pilot John Cota steered the container ship Cosco Busan into the Bay Bridge, spilling more than 53,000 gallons of bunker fuel in the bay, killing more than 2,500 birds and costing an estimated $70 million to clean up. In its final report on the incident, the National Transportation Safety Board concluded the crash was likely due to Cota’s use of prescription medications at the time, the lack of a comprehensive pre-departure conversation between Cota and the ship’s captain and the captain’s insufficient oversight of Cota. It didn’t help that on the foggy November morning, the radar system was not functioning perfectly, either, said Capt. Robert Carr, a bar pilot.
Since then, Carr said the San Francisco Harbor Safety Committee, with input from the bar pilots and ballet flats with elastic band the U.S, Coast Guard, instituted new rules prohibiting vessels from passing through certain areas of the bay when visibility is reduced beyond a half-mile, There have also been significant technological advancements, including sophisticated portable GPS units that pilots now carry to monitor the ship’s position and predict its direction, When performing certain maneuvers on ships larger than 1,095 feet, two bar pilots are required to board the vessel, one to pilot the ship and the other to monitor its position with an independent navigational system..