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Cleaning up oil on Independence Day

Dauphin Island, Alabama, 6 July 2010 It is 0600 at the dock in Dauphin Island, Alabama, and the men who will be trying to prevent the spill spreading any further are turning up for their clean-up and containment duties.

Day 77 of the oil spill is a federal holiday, Independence Day, but it makes no difference here.

There is a job to be done. Except this morning the weather is not co-operating. It is stormy out there and the boats which are used to lay the boom to prevent the oil coming ashore, and to take the men out to clean the beaches on the far side of this small island in Mobile Bay, are not going out.

Henry de La Garza, a spokesman for BP, says there is lightning offshore and it is too dangerous to set sail.

The hurricane season is complicating an already fraught protection and clean-up operation.

For the 1,800 people who live on Dauphin Island, this should be the busiest time of year.

July 4th weekend usually draws at least 13,000 tourists but as the mayor of Dauphin Island, Jeff Collier, tells the BBC, this is the place that time forgot.

He cuts a solitary figure on the golf course.

"Normally you would have hundreds of people playing here. We have a golf tournament usually, as well as the firework display."

Not this year.

The mayor has cancelled the celebrations because no one is in the mood. They are all focussed on trying to protect the island from the worst of the spill.

Crumbled dream

Six hundred people man the beaches and collect the tar balls as soon as they wash in.

The beaches are clean and a few swimmers are enjoying the waves, an incongruous sight next to the workers sifting through the sand.

Mounds of sand called berms have been heaped on to the beach, a further line of defence against the oil. Out to sea, an even more ambitious project is under way.

Hurricane Katrina in 2005 left a mile-wide gash in Dauphin Island and now barges full of rocks are out there in the water, as the attempt is made to close the gap between the two sides of the island to prevent the oil washing on to land.

People fear a hurricane could blow the oil through the Katrina cut, and on to Alabama's Gulf coast.

Whatever can be done to stop the oil comes too late for retired nurse Fae Chamblis. Her dream of running a tiki bar in the sun has crumbled.

The small amounts of oil on the beaches have driven away her customers and she will close in September.

"The oil spill has put me out of business," says Fae sadly.

Something to celebrate

Mayor Collier is hoping that by September there may be something to celebrate, like the capping of the leaking well.

"What we are hoping is that when things get cleared up and cleaned, we might be looking ahead to possibly Labor Day," he says.

"When we feel there is a time to truly celebrate, then we might go back and revisit the idea of fireworks."

For Dauphin Beach, the holiday marking America's independence from England is spent cleaning up after a British company, BP.

But apart from what Sandi Sands, who handles security for the mammoth containment operation, calls a few off-colour jokes, the focus here is not on Brit-bashing but on co-operation.

"America is coming together," says Sandi, a lifelong Dauphin Island resident. "I am so pleased, we aren't alone."

Laura Trevelyan BBC News,
Dauphin Island, Alabama

Kodiak Active Temperature Control Shipping Containers Address Cold Chain Shipper Concerns about Tougher Air Cargo Screening Procedures

KINGSVILLE, Texas, November 08--(BUSINESS WIRE)--U.S. Government plans to counter sophisticated terror threats by tightening screening procedures for all air cargo could force time-sensitive Cold Chain shippers, like the bioscience and pharmaceutical industries, to move to higher-tech container options. One proven solution is temperature-controlled Kodiak™ Active Temperature Control Shipping Containers made by Active CC Boxes LLC, said John Howe, the company’s CEO.

“Active CC Boxes, LLC has spent thousands of hours researching, developing, creating prototypes and testing new methods to improve the quality and lengthen the time allotted in the Cold Chain shipping process,” said Howe.

The result is a line of temperature-controlled boxes that are durable and lockable with the ability to pass through security scanning and maintain temperatures between 2 - 8 degrees Celsius for up to five days. In addition to adding days to allow for security delay, the container provides a longer shipping timeframe. An optional feature enables the sender to download a report of the internal temperature throughout its voyage to ensure that it has remained in specification.

Active’s containers, which are rugged, reliable and reusable, allow organizations to be confident that their package will arrive undamaged with the chain of custody intact, no matter the external circumstances. Active’s test research shows the temperature remains within the specified range throughout the five days.

Please contact:
For Active CC Boxes, LLC
Katie Winslow, 281-650-1201

LDH Energy Louis Dreyfus Highbridge Energy LLC Closes $2.0 Billion Senior Secured Credit Facilities

October 29, 2010 WILTON, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Diversified energy commodities merchant Louis Dreyfus Highbridge Energy LLC (“LDH Energy”) announces the renewal of the Company’s $2.0 billion senior secured working capital facility. The facilities refinance the Company’s existing $2.0 billion working capital facility that expires in December 2011 and will be used to fund general working capital needs including accounts receivable, the purchase of inventory, and other corporate requirements.

The transaction was well received by the market and is notable as the first transaction with a large 5-year tranche in the U.S. commodity finance sector since the market dislocation in November 2008.

Energy commented, “We are very pleased with the successful renewal of this facility which will maintain our strong level of financial flexibility and liquidity. The support from the banking community for a transaction of this size and duration is a strong show of support for our business.”

The Facilities were jointly arranged by BNP Paribas, The Royal Bank of Scotland, Société Générale, Credit Agricole and Natixis. BNP Paribas is the Administrative Agent. The Facilities consist of two tranches:
$1.25 billion senior secured multi-currency 3-year working capital facility expiring in October 2013
$750 million senior secured multi-currency 5-year working capital facility expiring in October 2015

This transaction follows LDH Energy’s successful syndication of a $350 million term loan and revolving credit facility supporting the Company’s midstream energy assets business in December 2009.

Louis Dreyfus Highbridge Energy LLC
John Gianukakis, 203-761-8023

Galveston-Texas City Pilots Honor Fallen Colleague with New Addition to Fleet
For Immediate Release

Hull 385 Galveston
Galveston, TX – October 4, 2010 With a top speed of 29 knots, The Galveston glides through the open water with a grace and ease belying her size. The Galveston is a remarkable vessel with the ability to stop within two boat lengths when operating at full speed and make a 360 degree turn while stationary. She measures a full 70 feet long and more than 20 feet wide and was built by Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding. The Galveston is a sister-ship to the Galveston-Texas City pilot boat Texas and was commissioned to replace the Gal-Tex. The Texas, also built by Gladding-Hearn has been ably serving the Galveston-Texas City Pilots for the past five years. Both the Galveston and the Texas were designed to handle the unique swells and chop of the waters the Galveston-Texas City Pilots service on a daily basis. The Galveston-Texas City Pilots will be christening the Galveston as their newest pilot boat at 11 am, Saturday, October 9, 2010 at the Cruise Terminal # 2 in Galveston, Texas.

On January 20, 2007, in a tragic accident, the Galveston-Texas City Pilot boat Gal-Tex capsized resulting in the loss of Capt. George “Robert” Frazier. Robert was a Galveston native and was a pilot boat operator for the Pilots for 17 years. His friends and colleagues remember that he was always dedicated, positive, friendly and willing to lend a helping hand. “The first thing he would always say to me is ‘tell me something good,’” said Wallace Hogan, Presiding Officer of the Galveston-Texas City Pilots. The Pilots were very fond of Captain Frazier and chose to honor their friend’s memory and life by dedicating the Galveston to him and his family.

The Galveston will be officially introduced by the Galveston-Texas City Pilot’s Presiding Officer Wallace Hogan. After a blessing given by Father Alberto A. Maullon Jr., Captain Frazier’s widow, SyriAnne Frazier, will deliver the christening and break a champagne bottle against the Galveston. “The tradition of christening a new vessel is considered to be a crucial part of ensuring the good fortune of voyages made by the craft. The word christening means ‘to bring to Christ.’ Sailors kept the tradition alive by using red wine. Now we use champagne,” said Hogan.
Since 1845, the Galveston-Texas City Pilots have served as the Sentinels of the Ports of Galveston County, ensuring environmental and public safety by navigating each vessel and its contents without incident. They maintain professionalism by treating their customers with respect, while stimulating economic development within the Galveston community and the state of Texas.

For More Information Contact:
Katie Winslow, 281-650-1201

The Yellow Rose Lives On
For Immediate Release

Yellow Rose
Houston, August 26– She's capable of 29 knots, and glistens with state-of-the-art technology. She’s tailor made for the demanding work of the Houston Pilots who have named her, The Yellow Rose. Constructed by Kvichak Marine Industries in Seattle and designed by Camarc Design in the UK, the 75 ft by 21 ft boat will be the fifth member to join the fleet. To ensure good luck to the vessel and those she transports, the Houston Pilots will christen The Yellow Rose at 10 a.m on August 28, 2010 at Barbours Cut Cruise Terminal.

The Pilots want the new addition to reflect their Texas pride. The Yellow Rose is one of Texas’ oldest legends. During the Texas Revolution, a young indentured servant was overseeing Morgan’s Point for the Morgan family. Ms. Emily West Morgan was known for her intelligence and sophistication and used these characteristics to her and Texas’ advantage when she was taken captive by Santa Anna. Legend has it that she held the Mexican leader’s ear while funneling information back to Sam Houston. Houston attacked Santa Anna’s fort and Emily was declared a hero. The Morgan family was taken aback by her courage, released her as a servant and paid her way home.

Commissioned by Congressman Gene Green (D-TX), The Yellow Rose will be officially introduced by the Houston Pilot’s Presiding Officer Captain Tom Pace. After a blessing given by Father Rivers Patout, Congressman Green’s wife Helen Green will deliver the christening and break a champagne bottle against The Yellow Rose. The bottle’s pieces will be placed in a ceremonial bag to be displayed at the Houston Pilots’ headquarters. At a reception held immediately after, The Slap Out Gully Boys will provide musical entertainment, featuring the Texas folk song “Yellow Rose.”

Founded in 1921, the Houston Pilots ensure environmental and public safety navigating the vessels that call on The Port of Houston and its ship channel, while maintaining professionalism and stimulating economic development within the Houston area and throughout the state and country. As exclusive agents commissioned by the Port of Houston Authority, they guide the ships that deliver the goods. It is estimated that more than 220 million tons of cargo traveled through the Port of Houston last year, contributing to 785,000 jobs statewide.

Please contact:
Katie Winslow,, 281-650-1201.

City of Houston Kicks Off Graffiti Abatement Program
For Immediate Release

Houston, TX – October 4, 2010 The Greater East End Management District was recently awarded a graffiti abatement contract from the City of Houston to remove unsightly graffiti from city property.

Houston City Council passed the ordinance in an effort to beautify the city, and limit gang activity. They have committed to a five year contract. The Management District will begin cleaning up city property three weeks after the contract is finalized. The City received multiple bids, however the Greater East End Management District was able to provide an hourly rate of $80, which includes labor and material.

“Per square foot, they have found a cheaper way to do it,” said City Councilwoman Lovell.

Graffiti was out of control and threatening to overrun Houston’s East End in 2001. It endangered neighborhoods and vandalized bus stops, commercial properties and residences.

In response, The Greater East End Management District initiated an aggressive graffiti abatement program in 2001 to take control of an unsightly problem. The District’s Graffiti Abatement Program removes more than 9,000 instances of graffiti each year. The East End District is the only management district in the city that has extensive experience in employing a graffiti abatement program. Because of its successes, 14 other management districts in the city approached the East End District to abate the graffiti in their areas. In addition to removing these defacements, they also keep a database of gang-related tags and report activity to the Mayor’s Anti-Gang Office.

“Graffiti is like leaving your front door open for criminals,” said Diane Schenke, President of the Greater East End Management District.

Graffiti abatement is one of four programs provided by the East End Management District to provide a safe environment and attract more business opportunities within the district and among members. The Graffiti Abatement Program has won several awards from the city including the Mayor’s Proud Partner Award and the Greater Houston Partnership Quality of Life Award.

Founded in 1999, The Greater East End Management District’s mission is to enhance the image of the District, to attract more businesses, and to increase economic activity in the area.

For More Information:
Diane Schenke, 713-928-9916

Board of Pilot Commissioners gives final approval to Pilots’ Rate Application

Galveston, TX – June 1, 2010 – The Board of Pilot Commissioners for Galveston County has given its final approval to the Galveston-Texas City Pilots rate application, announced Captain Wallace Hogan, Jr., Presiding Officer for the pilots.

The new tariff is the result of a collaborative effort between the pilots and their customers, including Carnival Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean Cruises, and the Port of Texas City and The Port of Galveston. “We are delighted that the new tariff is fully supported by every one of our port customers with the exception of one cruise line,” said Hogan, “and their objection was over only one small item.” Following a hearing on May 3rd, the Board gave their initial approval of the tariff which was then posted for public comment, and received no objections.

“We want to recognize and express our deep appreciation to all those who helped make possible this special and proud day, in particular the Pilot Commissioners – without whom it could not have happened,” said Hogan. “They encouraged us to work more closely with industry and inspired us with their hard work, patience and counsel. The State regulatory system for our Pilots, worked extremely well and to near perfection.” Hogan also praised the efforts of members of the local maritime industry who worked closely with the pilots to craft the new tariff.

Members of the Pilot commission are appointed by the Governor of Texas and includes: Vandy Anderson, Eddie Janek, Henry Poretto, and Jim Toups.

About the Galveston-Texas City Pilots
The mission of the Galveston-Texas City Pilots is to protect the environment and ensure public safety by navigating each vessel without incident, while maintaining professionalism by treating its customers with respect, and stimulating economic development within the Galveston and Texas City communities.

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