Commercial Marine Expo brings the crowds to New Bedford State Pier

NEW BEDFORD — Billed as the largest commercial marine event on the East Coast, the 2012 Commercial Marine Expo opened its doors Wednesday at the State Pier.
The two-day event has attracted 200 diverse companies to the large exhibit space inside the pier buildings, said show director Ted Hugger of Highliner Events.
“There is something from all sides of the marine spectrum,” Hugger said. “It’s everything from engines to electronics to safety gear to deck hardware.”
The expo is held in Norfolk, Va., every other year and was in decline until he acquired ownership in 2008, Hugger said. Now, it’s in New Bedford every other year and is apparently on the upswing.
“It was in Providence (before New Bedford) and I managed to stabilize it. But coming to New Bedford has really turned it around,” Hugger said.
Not surprisingly, many of the exhibits focused on commercial fishing with companies from across the country showing their wares. Michael Hillers, a sales representative with SIMRAD in Seattle, demonstrated some of the newest technology in electronic fish finding equipment.
“If you ping on the fish in one area with multiple frequencies at the same time you can determine the species,” he said.
SIMRAD also took part in the 2010 show in New Bedford. “It was a little slow then but the customers we had were real customers,” he said.
The rows of booths occupying the warehouse buildings displayed a wide range of products and services from the marine industry, including large diesel engines, electronics, fishing gear, propellers, hydraulics and clothing. There was even a high-visibility paint developed specifically to coat lobster buoys.
Outside on the State Pier, the Lions Club Eyemobile offered free health screenings and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute provided dermatology consultations. A number of work boats were moored at the pier for inspection, including a scalloper, two tug boats and a Coast Guard utility boat.
Jim Taralli of Holliston cheerfully submitted to the needle at the Fisherman’s Partnership booth to update his tetanus shot. A marine engineer, Taralli returned from 90 days aboard his ship Tuesday.
“We just brought a crane from Belgium to Davisville, R.I., for their marine terminal,” he said.
Taralli said it was his first visit to the expo and he was impressed. “This is great,” he said. “There’s a lot of exhibits and a lot of good information.”
The marine science community was also represented at the expo with the University of Rhode Island, UMass Dartmouth and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution all taking booths.
Glen Gawarkiewicz, a senior scientist at WHOI was on hand to explain the Ocean Observatories Initiative, a 25-year project to examine the physical, geological and biological variables of the ocean. An area off Martha’s Vineyard has been selected as the site for moorings, robotics and specialized instruments. Known as the Pioneer Array it should be fully operational by 2014, he said.
Ed Anthes-Washburn, director of operations for the Port of New Bedford, said he was pleased with the first-day turnout.
“It’s been a great day and we’re expecting at least as many people” for the second day, he said.
The expo continues from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m today.
June 14, 2012 12:00 AM
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