Washington State launches Maritime Blue initiative

Left to right: Vigor CEO Frank Foti; Gov. Jay Inslee; state Rep. Gael Tarleton; and Dennis McLerran, former EPA Region 10 administrator Left to right: Vigor CEO Frank Foti; Gov. Jay Inslee; state Rep. Gael Tarleton; and Dennis McLerran, former EPA Region 10 administrator

DECEMBER 18, 2017 — Washington State Governor Jay Inslee has set up a new Maritime Innovation Advisory Council. Meeting for the first time at Bell Harbor Conference Center in Seattle, last week, the 20-member council represents business, government, ports, research, labor, tribes and the environmental community.

Members will work with DNV GL on a statewide strategy. Dubbed "Washington Maritime Blue," the year-long, in-depth strategy development is made possible by a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration to the state Department of Commerce, matched dollar-for-dollar with state and local funds.

"Blue economy" refers to developing maritime business, technology and practices that grow a sustainable future, contributing to ecological health, thriving communities and economic growth.

"In Washington, we are beneficiaries and stewards of this great maritime legacy. From shipbuilding to recreational boating, commercial fishing to logistics and shipping, marine research to luxury cruises, the ocean is in our blood," Governor Jay Inslee said. "Through this initiative, we will ensure that our state is positioned to thrive in the increasingly competitive international marketplace for maritime services, while working proactively to solve some of our most pressing local and global environmental and community challenges."

Co-chairing the Advisory Council are:

Rep. Gael Tarleton, Washington State Legislature;

Dennis McLerran, Cascadia Law Group, former Environmental Protection Agency Region 10 administrator; and

Frank Foti, CEO, Vigor, one of the largest shipyard groups in the U.S. that builds and repairs both commercial and government vessels.

"By working together, we have the opportunity to ensure we have the policies and incentives in place up front to ensure that environmental stewardship is a competitive advantage and a marketing tool for our maritime industry," Vigor CEO and Council Co-chair Foti said, "Our industry works every single day to serve customers in a highly competitive environment, and it is not always easy to take the long view in such circumstances. At Vigor we believe tomorrow's economic opportunities involve sustainable solutions. A successful strategy for a sustainable maritime industry will include identifying courageous and committed long-term investment that will allow the maritime industry to lead in a way that honors our precious environment, accelerates innovation and creates great opportunities for skilled workers."

David Walker, group chief development officer of DNV GL, gave the keynote address at the Council's inaugural meeting.

"Across the globe, maritime clusters are shaping developments that will set the future direction for a sustainable industry," he said. "The movement to decarbonization and clean technology innovation is upon us, environmentally friendly fuels and electric propulsion are a reality, and digitalization is transforming the way we operate.

"Rather than view technology and innovation as simply tools to address the challenges we face in the maritime industry, we must instead work together to embrace the opportunities they offer for a sustainable and prosperous society."

Maritime Blue has three main objectives:

  • Set the course for sustainable maritime industry innovation. The Washington Maritime Blue strategy is intended to ensure Washington state is home to the most sustainable maritime
    industry by 2050, aligned with Gov. Inslee’s plans for deep de-carbonization, innovation and workforce development.
  • Support strong blue technology cluster coordination, forming strategic alliances, growth in trade, and increased jobs.
  • Support development of the Washington Maritime Innovation Center at the Port of Seattle, in partnership with the Port of Seattle and the University of Washington’s Applied Physics Lab.


Advisory Council members are:

  • Sen. Ann Rivers, Washington State Legislature
  • Commissioner Fred Felleman, Port of Seattle
  • Mayor Laurie Gere, City of Anacortes
  • Secretary Roger Millar, Washington State Department of Transportation
  • Director Brian Bonlender, Washington State Department of Commerce
  • Director Sheida Sahandy, Puget Sound Partnership
  • Director Craig Kenworthy, Puget Sound Clean Air Agency
  • Director Eleni Papadakis, Workforce Training and Coordinating Board
  • John Wolfe, Northwest Seaport Alliance
  • Paul Stevens, Saltchuk
  • Joe Ritzman, SSA Marine
  • Stefanie Moreland, Trident Seafoods
  • Vince O’Halloran, Maritime Trades / AFL-CIO
  • Bob Miyamoto, University of Washington Applied Physics Lab
  • John Dwyer, U.S. Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound
  • Chairman Leonard Forsman, Suquamish Tribal Council
  • Bruce Anderson, Starcrest Consulting Washington

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