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have seen in the past few years, not only in New York, but in other areas; Long Beach, for example, not too long ago.
Anyway, I would like to get your comments to the Coast Guard's role and particularly with regard to an integrated plan.
Admiral REA. Mr. Patterson, I hope this will not be interpreted as hedging, but as to the regional level, we are carrying out the present policy as is presently set up. I do not mean to go over that again as far as our role as to firefighting.
But I think the Ports and Waterways Act, which Congress enacted, I think that even without this amendment that gives us some broad authority to do probably more of these things than we are doing.
And if I may suggest, when you have the hearings in Washington, you will be talking at the national level because you are really talking here about national policy.
I would not like to address that any more fully at this hearing this morning.
Mr. PATTERSON. OK.
Take Commissioner O’Hagen's testimony that New York City is fighting fires for the citizens of New Jersey. I commend that very much. Admiral REA. We help them over there, too.
Mr. PATTERSON. Well, you are a part of the Federal Government, and I would certainly hope you do.
. Admiral REA. Yes.
Mr. PATTERSON. What I am saying is here is a city agency that is paid for by the taxpayers of this city, but it is fighting fires in another State.
And I think Chairman Biaggi mentioned, and I agree, that there is just something kind of wrong with the taxpayers of this city paying for that. Thank goodness for the fact that Congress recognized that, among other things, and came to New York City's aid for financial support.
But there are other things. That is just one example. Another one is the size of the accident or explosion, or whatever, which seems to me to be beyond the local capability.
Finally, the final thing is that these goods are in interstate commerce to the extent, for example—and I do not know my region here so well—but let us take upstate New York. I hear about that a lot, what
— ever it is. And probably everything they get from automobiles to oil and
gas and everything comes through New York City, the New York City Port. And probably New Jersey and a lot of other places relate to it, and it is, you know, totally a regional kind of thing. And I just cannot help thinking that it should not be the responsibility entirely of the New York City Fire Department to take care of all the problems of the shipping industry for everyone in this region.
And because of the interstate movement of goods and because of the size of the conflagration that could occur and probably inevitably will occur, and because of the fact that there needs to be some kind of national standards to be set so that every ship that comes in does not have to read a new book of rules to figure out where the hell to go and what to do, it seems to me that we should, at the Federal level, Admiral, be taking some very strong measures, some very strong steps providing funding, providing plans, providing directions.
And I guess what I am asking is, is this the Coast Guard's responsibility and, if not, whose responsibility is it?
Admiral REA. Well, may I just respond in the same fashion as I did to the chairman, and may I suggest you take this up at the national level.
I would certainly say we, the Coast Guard here in this local area, are very grateful for the New York City fireboats when we get involved with fires over on the New Jersey side-and there was a fire last week or so down there on the New Jersey side-but we are very grateful when the New York City fireboats come over there. And they are of tremendous assistance to the safety of the Port of New York.
We have broad authority under the Port and Waterways Act, even if this amendment does not go through, but not, of course, in the area of grants, which you are pursuing here.
Mr. PATTERSON. Thank you.
Admiral Rea. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and Mr. Patterson. I hope you enjoy your visit to New York.
Mr. PATTERSON. I always enjoy New York.
The next witness was scheduled to be Mr. Nick Cretan, executive director of the Maritime Association of the Port of New York. But I wonder if he would indulge this committee. We recognize the fact that a witness, Mr. Frank Barry, is also representing the mayor, and the Emergency Fiscal Control Board. He has an important meeting to attend. We would appreciate Mr. Barry testifying next.
Mr. Francis Barry, you may be seated. In addition to that role and others, he is also the stormy petrel on the waterfront. He is the owner of Circle Line, and the Hudson River Bay Line-do you own that too; Frank? Gee, I remember when you started with a rowboat.
STATEMENT OF FRANCIS J. BARRY, CHAIRMAN, NEW YORK CITY
COUNCIL ON PORT DEVELOPMENT AND PROMOTION
Mr. BARRY. Mr. Chairman, and Congressman Patterson:
If I may add to the LNG question, there was quite a bit of testimony on that in the past. In fact we were part of it, and Commissioner O'Hagen was part of it as was Leo Lefkowitz, our New York attorney general who engaged outside consultants on the question of LNG. I think if you contacted Commissioner O'Hagen or the attorney general, you will find considerable documentation.
Mr. BIAGGI. Thank you.
Mr. BARRY. My name is Francis J. Barry, and I appear before you today as chairman of the New York City Council on Port Development and Promotion, whose members are appointed by our Mayor Abraham Beame, whose members represent every segment of the maritime industry.
Your good friend, Teddy Gleason, president of the ILA, for example, is a member of the council.
Chairman Biaggi and Congressman Patterson, with reference to H.R. 362, I understand this legislation if passed by the Congress would provide for the award of grants to the port authorities of the United States to protect public ports and adjacent land from fires and other disasters.
I sincerely hope that this proposed legislation will also take in cities, not just port authorities. Port authorities, I am sure, are in much better shape than cities, particularly New York City.
The proposed legislation has to do with marine firefighting and I would like to call to everyone's attention that we have many abandoned piers here in our great Port of New York that are just firetraps and falling apart, and I am sure Fire Commissioner John T. O'Hagen will document the number of fires that are started on these abandoned piers throughout the entire port and hopefully the city of New York will secure a grant to remove these abandoned piers which are serious fire hazards.
I want to add that when Commissioner John O'Hagen said that the city reduced the 10 city fireboats to just 4, it was only during the harbor festival last July 4 that three of the four fireboats had to extinguish a big fire up on the old New York Central Railroad abandoned piers. And I might say also that if you secure the record of the fire department, you may see that they fight more fires in New Jersey than they do in New York.
I might also add that I think the Coast Guard should be a part of this firefighting on the national scene, because our Port has to go. with international trade, very little interstate: It is mostly international. The Federal Government has the responsibility. Cities: cannot afford it anymore.
Many of our abandoned piers were used by the Federal Government during the last World War. They just knocked the hell out of them leaving many in an unusable condition and were never used again. Why New York City never went after the Federal Government to secure moneys to rebuild them I do not know.
In the last year there were at least three major pier fires here in the Port of New York. In fact, one major fire occurred over the July 4 weekend during the harbor festival on piers which were abandoned by the bankrupt New York Central Railroad, which took, as I understand it, three New York City fireboats to put the fire out.
Congressman, when we are talking about providing awards of grants to port authorities and hopefully to cities to protect public ports and adjacent land from fires and other disasters, let's start from the beginning by clearing up the abandoned piers and vessels which are most serious fire hazards.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey have considerable documentation on abandoned piers and vessels here in the Port of New York, which are proved fire hazards.
Mr. Biaggi. Thank you, Mr. Barry, for your brief statement. First, I am delighted in the manner in which you addressed yourself, that is to the national scope of the undertaking, which obviously has to relate to the Coast Guard. We have made some comments in connection with that already.
Mr. BARRY. Congressman, the proof is Houston, Tex., wanting to buy one of our fire-boats so that they can fight the fires there. Most ports I know throughout the country just do not have fireboats, or fireboats of any consequence. Like Admiral Rea said, they just don't have the water capacity.
Mr. BIAGGI. Another statement you made I wanted to comment on. I was not aware-that the fire department used its boats more in Jersey than in New York.
Mr. BARRY. I would venture to say that. I have no documentation on it, but I think if you speak to Commissioner O’Hagen on that, he will tell that to you.
Mr. BIAGGI. As far as the piers are concerned, which have always been a menace in different ways, on West Side Manhattan, at least, the Westway should obviate some of those problems.
Mr. BARRY. Right.
Mr. Biaggi. If my memory serves me accurately, the Federal Government has recently provided moneys for cleaning up those piers and vessels.
Mr. Barry. They have alloted recently $23 million, but you see it gets into some of your territory at Hunt's Point and removing the sheds not the piers from 95, 96, 97, and the North River.
Mr. Biaggi. Well, at least we are in the right direction.
Mr. Biaggi. You are on focus about it. They are a hazard to navigation. They are a hazard to the community.
Mr. Barry. They are. And here we have millions of visitors to our great city from all over the world, and when we take them on our cruises they see these abandoned and rotting piers.
Mr. Biaggi. Mr. Patterson? Mr. PATTERSON. Mr. Chairman, in the interests of hearing all the witnesses, and our time schedule of getting back to Washington, I would just ask that if the record could remain open, if then we have some written questions, we could then present those to the witness, or to any further witnesses. And I would have no questions at this time.
Mr. Biaggi. Yes; it will.
Our next witness is Mr. Nick Cretan, executive director of the Maritime Association of the Port of New York.
STATEMENT OF N. NICK CRETAN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Mr. CRETAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I would first like to draw your attention to two important items. The first is the 1977 New York Port Handbook just released. This publication probably would have aided the present discussions because its maps of oil terminals, Federal water facilities, and New York and New Jersey's sprawling container terminals provide a detailed background on various capabilities of the Bi-State Port. Congressman Murphy normally distributes our port handbook to House Members and these will be received by your committees shortly.
Also, I would bring to your attention this press release, outlining our association's function as the Ship Lookout Statistical Organization for the Port of New York. For informational purposes we itemize annually vessel arrivals in the top 10 major U.S. ports, recording and publishing arrival totals for such ports as Los Angeles, San Francisco,
and Philadelphia. These statistics, as well as national totals, are included in this release. It may be of some benefit to you.
Mr. Biaggi. Thank you. That will go in the record. [The following was received for the record:)
STATISTICAL REVIEW OF THE NUMBER OF SHIPS, CALLING AT THE TEN MAJOR
PORTS OF THE CONTINENTAL U.S. DURING CALENDAR YEAR 1976
The Maritime Association of the Port of New York today released the following statistics relating to the number of ocean-going ships calling at the ten major ports of the Continental United States during the calendar year 1976.,
The total number of ocean-going ships arriving at the ten major ports of the Continental U.S. during the calendar year 1976 was 43,600, a decrease of 1,243 ships as compared to the calendar year 1975.
7,730 ships called at the Port of New York, 17.7 percent of the continental U.S. total, a decrease of 102 ships as recorded in 1975.
The port of Los Angeles-Long Beach, with 5,071 ship calls, was second for the year with 11.6 percent of the total U.S. vessel traffic. This was an increase of 267 ships as recorded in 1975,
New Orleans, with 4,538 ships calls, was third for the year with 10.4 percent of the total U.S. vessel traffic. This was a decrease of 162 ships as recorded in 1975.
In the following table, details are given of the number of vessels arriving at the ten leading U.S. ports analyzed during the calendar year 1976 compared with 1975.
VESSEL ARRIVING AT 11 LEADING PORTS ANALYZED DURING CALENDAR YEAR OF 1976-1975
The net tonnage of the 7,730 ship arrivals at the Port of New York totalled 77,632,149, an increase of 6,175,302 as recorded in 1975.
The volume of tanker traffic at the Port of New York registered an increase in activity during 1976 when compared with the previous year. There were 2,387 in 1976 compared with 2,333 in 1975.
Comparative figures, broken down month by month, disclosing vessel arrivals at New York for 1976 are as follows:
689 596 645 640 672 642 693 678 640 664 618 655
668 644 651 650 649 646 651 620 634 639