U.S. Army tug Sag Harbor approaches the haulout dock at the Port of Port Angeles. (David Sellars/for Peninsula Daily News)

U.S. Army tug Sag Harbor approaches the haulout dock at the Port of Port Angeles. (David Sellars/for Peninsula Daily News)

ON THE WATERFRONT: Tons happening around Port Angeles waters

ON THURSDAY, MY wife and I had lunch at one of the local restaurants along the waterfront with a view of the deep water harbor that makes Port Angeles so attractive to various types of ship traffic.

I was particularly struck at how blue the water was, it seemed to be more so than is typical.

The waters along the coast seldom share the same characteristics as the open oceans that create the typical “blueness” for which the seas are known.

To be blue, sea water must be free of sand, mud, and volcanic dust as well as not heavily populated with animal and plant life.

Under these circumstances, the shorter wave lengths of light — the blue end of the spectrum — can penetrate deeply into the water and be scattered by very minute particles to give a visible blueness, in much the same way as light penetrating the atmosphere is scattered to give blue to the sky.

Thursday afternoon, Global Prosperity, a 580-foot Panamanian flagged cargo ship that had been moored to the Port of Port Angeles’Terminal 3 for a week, got underway for China with approximately 5 million board feet of debarked logs that were harvested from private lands in Western Washington.

Cable Innovator, which calls Victoria home, moored to the Port of Port Angeles’ Terminal 1 North last week and she will be here for about a month because Victoria is in the throes of cruise ship season and the vessel competes with cruise ships for berthing.

This week Platypus Marine, the full-service shipyard, yacht-repair facility and steel-boat manufacturer on Marine Drive in Port Angeles, hauled out Sag Harbor, a U.S. Army tug. She is classified as a small tug, 65-foot and her designation is ST 406.

The vessel is used to move barges in harbors and inland waterways, docking and undocking large vessels.

When the vessel is deployed overseas she is typically hoisted aboard a heavy lift ship.

According to the Army, the 65-foot vessel is 71-feet-long with a 19.5-foot beam.

Platypus Marine also has Mustang stowed in the Commander building. She is a 110-foot Coast Guard cutter that is homeported in Seward, Alaska. A bit of irony — the vessel was named after Mustang Island in Texas, where the average temperature for this time of year is about 92 degrees.

I am often asked where Tesoro Petroleum gets the fuel they use to refuel the ships, and a companion question, how much fuel do ships take on when they are refueled.

The majority of the fuel product comes from the Tesoro Refinery in Anacortes, although on occasion fuel is brought up the coast from California refineries and other refineries in the Puget Sound.

Virtually all the fuel is brought in by barge. The scheduling of the re-supply barges is done so that their presence does not conflict with refueling operations. Consequently much of the re-supply operations take place during evening hours.

Typically Tesoro Petroleum offloads two types of fuel to the various vessels they service.

There is marine fuel, which is known by a number of monikers, the most common of which is bunkers or bunker oil, and marine gas oil which is better known to the likes of you and me as diesel fuel.

With few exceptions both types of fuel are sold by the metric ton.

Each metric ton is equivalent to approximately six and a half barrels of oil with each barrel holding forty two gallons.

The exact conversion of metric tons to barrels is dependent upon a lot of science and math that is beyond my ability to convey.

The amount of fuel a vessel requires can range from a few hundred metric tons to a few thousand.

A ship that is in transit between two far flung ports may occasionally come to Port Angeles for just enough fuel to get to their destination, perhaps as little as a couple of hundred metric tons.

In other instances ships heading out across the globe may take on a few thousand metric tons.

For the most part bunkers are used for a ship’s propulsion, and diesel is the fuel consumed by the auxiliary equipment aboard ship, such as the generators and many of the hydraulic pumps.

Wednesday, Tesoro Petroleum bunkered Delta Commander, a 246 foot Grecian flagged crude oil tanker.

They also provided bunkers to Polar Resolution, an 854-foot crude oil tanker flagged in the United States.

Saturday, Tesoro refueled Nave Dorado, a 591-foot petroleum products carrier that is flagged in Panama.


David G. Sellars is a Port Angeles resident and former Navy boatswain’s mate who enjoys boats and strolling the area’s waterfronts and boat yards.

Items and questions involving boating, marina and industrial activities and the North Olympic Peninsula waterfronts are always welcome. News announcements about boating groups, including yacht clubs and squadrons, are welcome as well.

Email [email protected] or phone him at 360-808-3202.

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