AS-IT-HAPPENED COVERAGE: Terminal 5’s big new cranes arrive at West Seattle’s Terminal 5

10:27 AM: First look at the four big new cranes on their way to Terminal 5 in West Seattle:

Thanks to Mike York for sending us that photo from north of Kingston. The Zhen Hua 36 is currently at 10 knots so it’s probably still an hour-plus away from coming into view off West Seattle. We’ll be updating.

11:07 AM: Lynn Hall on Duwamish Head says they’re in view.

11:24 AM: Now entering Elliott Bay. Thanks to Carolyn Newman for first word on that, and David Hutchinson for this photo as the heavy-lift ship rounded West Point on the northwest edge of the bay:

11:40 AM: The 316-foot-tall cranes are now in view from Don Armeni Boat Ramp, a park which will afford a long stretch of viewing as they approach Terminal 5.

(Photo by David Hutchinson, substituted for original WSB phone pic)

12:14 PM: Now headed toward the docks. Next good waterfront vantage point – Jack Block Park.

12:45 PM: The ship has now arrived at T-5. At the Jack Block Park overlook, watching the final leg of the journey, we found a watch party of sorts – longshore workers for whom the T-5 project means new work. The terminal has not been in regular cargo service since 2014.

P.S. More photos later, and we’ll also have a followup tomorrow, when port officials and others are scheduled to have a media briefing.

ADDED: Thanks again to everyone who shared photos, including some in the comment section below. Maris Avots photographed the crane with one of the Luna Girls on Alki:

44 Replies to "AS-IT-HAPPENED COVERAGE: Terminal 5's big new cranes arrive at West Seattle's Terminal 5"

  • For orca mammas June 13, 2021 (10:47 am)

    So sorry orcas. I love you.

    Some of us are very concerned for your survival, but feeling helpless, as human industry and economy continues to destroy your chances.

    That is what this photo represents to me, makes me sick to my stomach.

    Expanding the port to support larger ships will dredge up large amounts of toxins, and these larger ships will increase boat noise in the sea which will make hunting and survival even harder on these amazing and urgently endangered whales.

    Hurts my heart.

    • anonyme June 14, 2021 (6:26 am)

      You are not alone.  When I look at these cranes, I see only the environmental devastation brought on by greed.  While humans are well on the way to wiping themselves out, it’s a shame they’re taking so many other species with them.  Hopefully, many of them will rebound once we’re gone, but many will be gone forever – all so that Americans can fill landfills with cheap crap they don’t need, a shipping version of a Big Gulp.

    • Jort June 14, 2021 (3:01 pm)

      If you’re looking to save our orcas, the best thing that any of us can do is to dramatically scale back the use of automobiles in our entire region. Dust from car tires (electric AND gas-powered) is killing Coho salmon in the Puget Sound region (more info here).  In addition, automobiles are Seattle’s far-and-away single greatest source of CO2 emissions. I encourage anybody who cares about the environment to push lawmakers to take efforts to strongly and dramatically reduce the number of cars and trucks being driven in this region. It may be the only way we can save our planet and, of course, our orcas and salmon.

    • For orca mammas June 15, 2021 (8:53 am)

      Thank you anonyme, and Jort!

      Yes, in our daily lives, we can consider all of the cheap crap we consume, how we dispose of it, and how we travel and contribute to pollution which is greatly affecting the environment, and harming our orcas and salmon.

  • Joan June 13, 2021 (11:26 am)

    That huge ship is coming in now! I can see from Alki. 

  • Kalo June 13, 2021 (11:34 am)

  • Kalo June 13, 2021 (12:12 pm)

  • Skippers June 13, 2021 (12:12 pm)

    From Jack Block park 

  • Skippers June 13, 2021 (12:17 pm)

    Getting closer to home 

  • Liz June 13, 2021 (12:46 pm)

  • JOHN FERGUELL June 13, 2021 (12:48 pm)

    Picture about noon

  • ILikeOrcas2 June 13, 2021 (1:01 pm)

    Regarding whales and Terminal 5.  I am no expert so I have a question or two.  How does dredging (already done) of a very short section at the mouth of the Duwamish River impact resident Orcas living in the north Salish sea approx 90 miles away?  The dilution ratio would be 1 into trillions.  Secondly, Do 1,200 foot long ships sound different than1,000 foot ships?  I listen to a lot of boats and even a vastly smaller 30 foot boat with twin 454 engines can be much louder than the cargo ship. My suspicion is that resident Orcas don’t care about boat lengths.  They “care” about noise.  Last question. Are the Orcas better off with two old noisy 600′ ships or one modern 1,200′ ship to carry the same load?

    • 4 orca mammas June 13, 2021 (7:57 pm)

      Good questions.  I’m not an expert either (just a concerned friend), but at least one organization filed a lawsuit with concerns to the port expansion; the Center for Biological Diversity filed a suit back in March.

      Since we already know these things (pollution, loud obtrusive boats) are causing an issue for orcas and contributing to their decline and impending extinction, so it makes sense that increasing these things will only make it worse for them.

      We can’t ask them if they care, but when imagining their life under the sea, where food resources are becoming increasingly scarce, where pollution is affecting their health, and with disorienting noise from large boats making it challenging to hunt and communicate, I absolutely imagine our resident orcas will care about more pollution (they frequent our puget sound), and boats that are bigger and louder (at lower frequencies), and how incredibly stressful to be helpless to do anything about any of it!

      We humans are the ones causing these issues. We are the ones who must change course, to help these orcas, and other endangered species. Soon it may be too late.

      I’m sorry for not answering your questions more technically, I’m sick today and lacking full brain power, but wanted to speak to what I could.

      I hope others who also care about orcas will continue to ask questions, research, and have more discussions.

      Here is one article that may be an interesting read: ….

  • Flivver June 13, 2021 (1:14 pm)

    Pre warning for all. When term 5 is up and running there WILL be bumper to bumper semi’s with containers crossing over the low bridge. Emergency vehicle and transit WILL be affected-unless SDOT has a plan to restrict them(nope). 

    • HarborIslandWorker June 13, 2021 (1:48 pm)

      Flivver…. i’ve been saying this all along glad someone else sees what I’m talking about as well

    • Reed June 13, 2021 (1:57 pm)

      They could start by revoking access privileges to restaurants making onion runs, to start.

      • HarborIslandWorker June 13, 2021 (2:17 pm)

        Totally agree…..👍🏻

        • Delridge June 13, 2021 (6:16 pm)

          When is the T5 modernization ending and how long will the traffic last? I’m trying to understand what time of day the traffic from all the trucks will be occurring and how many weeks it will be or if it’s a permanent thing

          • HarborIslandWorker June 13, 2021 (6:54 pm)

            Delridge….. it will be a permanent ordeal after T5 opens. Some days you have less freight but it will still be a consistent thing.

          • Joe Z June 13, 2021 (10:45 pm)

            The truck traffic volume numbers are in the EIS that was released in 2016…they anticipate 2,540 truck trips to T5 on the average day and 3,650 on peak days. Each direction is counted separately so that’s 1,270 trucks in and 1,270 trucks out…approx. 300 trucks per hour at peak in the AM. Also 18 trains per week each way at peak capacity.

            The air quality analysis is pretty thorough…they anticipate T5 will cause ambient particulate matter (PM 2.5) to increase by 12% in the vicinity of T5 (which includes residential areas such as around Luna Park) and SO2 (a component of acid rain) will increase by 45%. 

            As for Orcas, they determined the effect of operations would be “insignificant” and cited the reduction of ships per week from 6 to 4 due to the larger ship size. 

          • 4 orca mammas June 14, 2021 (9:04 am)

            ‘As for Orcas, they determined the effect of operations would be “insignificant” and cited the reduction of ships per week from 6 to 4 due to the larger ship size’

            And, a lawsuit was filed for their negligence in failing to consider the real impacts to orcas and for violating the endangered species act.


          • 4 orca mammas June 14, 2021 (12:27 pm)

            Also lets keep it real. They aren’t increasing the size of ships for the environments sake, the expansion is about increasing business capacity. They say the larger ship size will result in a reduction of ships per week, but wonder how long this will actually hold true?

          • Joe Z June 14, 2021 (9:49 am)

            Which project is that lawsuit challenging? It seems to be a different one than T5. 

          • 4 orca mammas June 14, 2021 (12:04 pm)

            The suit is related to the Seattle Harbor Navigation Improvement Project (port expansion), T5 is part of the harbor, and these cranes are to facilitate the larger shipping vessels. It is related.

  • Mike June 13, 2021 (1:20 pm)

    How do you get a 300’ tall crane off the ship and installed?   

    • HarborIslandWorker June 13, 2021 (1:57 pm)

      With one of these but the tide Has To be just right

    • Dan June 13, 2021 (2:19 pm)

      Very carefully…. Very very carefully by rolling them along rails that extend from the end of the pier and onto the ship.

    • CPATFLY June 18, 2021 (12:18 pm)

      With a 400 foot crane ?

  • HarborIslandWorker June 13, 2021 (2:55 pm)

    WSB..Where is this media briefing supposed to take place?

    • WSB June 13, 2021 (4:07 pm)

      Somewhere on the T-5 grounds; won’t know until they walk us in.

  • ~Hockeywitch~ June 13, 2021 (4:40 pm)

    I don’t understand how they stay standing on the rolling ocean? Giant waves, you see what can happen to cargo containers being knocked over and/or over board coming through wild waves.. These cranes Intrigue me..

    • Mariner June 13, 2021 (7:30 pm)

      They’re welded to the deck of the ship! I got to see the ones they put down in Tacoma a few years back up close (ish). Still looks sooo too heavy though, had to think the rolls what ship took underway 

  • Richard Brusseu June 13, 2021 (5:17 pm)

    when will T 5 terminal be up and running ? Haven’t heard of any changes to traffic patterns planned , would expect their to be some.

    • WSB June 13, 2021 (9:23 pm)

      It’s been delayed multiple times. “Early 2022” is the current estimate. We’ll be asking again tomorrow, of course.

  • WSCurmudgeon June 13, 2021 (5:22 pm)

    Orcas and Noise in the Salish Sea

    Fisheries experts that I know personally have told me that fewer ships on the sea is better than more for the whole ecosystem.  Of course,  larger ships doesn’t mean fewer automatically, but in the short run that appears likely. In the link below, The National Resources Defense Council describes a recent WA State program to reduce noise from vessels in US waters that’s based on a Canadian plan that’s improved conditions on their side:

    • 4 orca mammas June 13, 2021 (8:14 pm)

      The process of expanding will dredge up more toxins, and larger ships means more noise pollution (under water), which will make it harder for orcas to hunt, and communicate, which is also critical for mating.

      Here is a link to the lawsuit filed by the Center for Biological Diversity:

      • WestSeattleResident June 14, 2021 (1:48 pm)

        Filing lawsuits is completely meaningless. I could file a lawsuit claiming the exact opposite but that wouldn’t make it true. We have known for decades that the largest detriment to resident Orcas is declining salmon population. These ships and T5 will have close to 0 impact on the Salmon population and thus no impact on the resident Orca population. It is all laid out in the EIS that Joe linked.

        I very much want to fight for the environment but it gets exhausting that anytime anyone does anything, a group of people cry wolf. There is very serious damage occurring to the environment that we need to fix immediately. Then there are far more benign actions such as reducing the number of ships in favor of larger, which is what is happening at T5.

        I worry that if people constantly get up in arms over every single thing that happens, people will get fatigued by over messaging and the green environment agenda will be hurt, not helped.

        • 4 orca mammas June 14, 2021 (4:24 pm)

          The Center for Biological Diversity is a respectable organization, who regularly work to uphold protections for endangered species. They have an experienced legal team and do not file meaningless lawsuits.

          Our orcas need our immediate help, before it’s too late for them to recover. That means people who care need to speak up more than ever, not less. Regardless if some people find it tiresome or annoying to hear.

    • 4 orca mammas June 13, 2021 (10:25 pm)

      And thank you for sharing about the Quiet Sound programs good efforts! This doesn’t however make the port expansion and larger vessels a positive thing for orcas.

    • anonyme June 14, 2021 (12:46 pm)

      While the observation on large ships vs. small ones may have some validity, it is not the whole story.  As fisheries themselves are highly detrimental to the ecosystem, I don’t know that I would rely on a “fisheries expert” to deliver the last word on what is best for either Puget Sound or our resident orcas.

  • Aubreanan June 16, 2021 (11:16 am)

    Does anyone have any suggestions or petitions we can sign to help save the Orcas?

    • For orca mammas June 17, 2021 (10:38 pm)

      Hi Aubreanan! I’ve been trying to respond here with some links but have had trouble publishing, maybe too many links! I’ll try again tomorrow to share a couple links, in the most recent orca sighting blog post.

Sorry, comment time is over.