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Yokohama North Dock
3527'N 13940'E

Yokohama North Dock a sub-installation of the 17th Area Support Group, is located in the city of Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture, Honshu, Japan. It is home to the 836th Transportation Battalion. Physical security support of the North Dock installation is provided by the U.S. Army Military Police, Japanese guards, Japanese Water Police, Kanagawa Police, and the Yokohama Customs Office. Since Japanese and United States security personnel work as a team, control measures imposed by security personnel in coordination with the Commander, 836th are extremely effective. Personnel access to the installation is accomplished by presenting appropriate passes, credentials or identification cards to military police or local national guards at the main gate. Searches of military and privately owned vehicles and their occupants are conducted when required.

The occupation of ports in Yokohama by US Forces began on 2 September 1945 with the entrance of the 1st Cavalry Regiment into Yokohama. By the end of September, all key points in the Eighth Army zone in Honshu were occupied. This occupation was preceded by a mine sweeping mission under the command of Rear Admiral A. D. Struble that cleared the ports of Yokohama, Yokosuka, and Tokyo in seven days.

The key piers occupied by the United States Army were Center Pier, and North Pier, at that time newly completed reclaimed land. The Yokohama Base Port Command assumed operations at Center Pier on 17 September 1945. The port activities in Yokohama fell under the control of the 2d Port of Embarkation in June of 1946. The port moved general cargo, as well as mail, privately owned vehicles, and passengers through the passenger terminal located at North Pier.

After the outbreak of hostilities in Korea, the ports in Yokohama were key to the resupply of Korea, with a major role for the Navy's Military Sea Transportation Service. Center and North Piers played a significant role in providing maintenance support for Harbor Craft units located in Korea, as well as moving significant cargo tonnage. In 1955, the 2nd Transportation Command assumed control of ports in Northern and Southern Japan, and was renamed the Yokohama US Army Port.

The new command controlled small Army ports in Moji and Kobe, as well as Haugen, Hakata, Otaru, and Hachinohe. Throughout this time, their headquarters remained at Center Pier, Yokohama. In August of 1955, the US Army began the return of Center Pier to the Japanese, with the initiation of joint use of three berths. This move was made possible by completion of certain berthing facilities at North Pier. On 4 May 1956, after more than 10 years of operation at Center Pier, the new Army facilities at North Pier were opened in a two-day celebration.

The facilities included breakbulk and bulk petroleum facilities, as well as the passenger terminal. At that time, the Navy's Military Sea Transportation Services Office, Yokohama, also relocated to North Pier. The port mission remained significant, even after the formal end of hostilities in Korea. in 1956, the command, with more than 1,400 American and 11,000 Japanese employees handled more than 3.2 million tons of cargo and 82,677 passengers. As late as 1958, the port processed tonnage exceeding 2.4 million tons and over 56,000 passengers.

The port command was redesignated as the US Army Transportation Terminal Command in January of 1957, and it continued to support the United Nations forces in Korea through the early 1960s. During January 1960 the headquarters was redesignated as the United States Army Transportation Agency, Japan. At the same time, the supply and maintenance mission and the field movements missions and functions were relocated to Sagami Depot. During the late 1960's and early 1970's North Pier remained a hub of activity, supporting the US involvement in the Vietnam War. During this time, an average of six military ships a day used the facilities at North Pier.

In February 1978, the Military Traffic Management Command assumed operations of common user military ports. Military Traffic Management Command, Yokohama was formed, and it has maintained operations at North Pier ever since with a redesignation as the 1316th Medium Port Command taking place in January 1993 and redesignation as 836th US Army Transportation Battalion taking place 1 October 1997.

During the most recent years, North Dock, as the port is now known, has begun making major facilities improvements including the renovation of the Mizuho Bridge, a major land reclamation project, and the construction of a chill storage facility and other new buildings. While North Dock is no longer as busy as it was during the days of the Korean Conflict and Vietnam War, the port continues to play an essential role as a key contingency port in deterrence of war in the Far East.

Physical security support of the North Dock installation is provided by the U.S. Army Military Police, Japanese guards, Japanese Water Police, Kanagawa Police, and the Yokohama Customs Office. Since Japanese and United States security personnel work as a team, control measures imposed by security personnel in coordination with the Commander, 836th are extremely effective. Personnel access to the installation is accomplished by presenting appropriate passes, credentials or identification cards to military police or local national guards at the main gate. Searches of military and privately owned vehicles and their occupants are conducted when required. During non-duty hours, weekends, and holidays, the main gate is secured from 2200 to 0600 hours; only authorized personnel are permitted on the installation.

The Port of Yokohama, one of Japan's busiest deep water ports, is located on the southeast coast of Honshu, the largest of the four main islands of Japan. Yokohama is situated on the west side of Tokyo Bay. Except for its 4.75 nmi wide southern entrance, Tokyo Bay is surrounded by land. The Port of Yokohama is located between two other important and busy ports, Tokyo and Yokosuka. Tokyo is located approximately 10 nmi northeast of Yokohama, and Yokosuka is approximately 10 nmi south of Yokohama Over 200 ships transit Uraga Suido, a controlled traffic route through the congested entrance to Tokyo Bay, daily.

Yokohama harbor is situated on the west side of Tokyo Bay. The Port of Yokohama encompasses a total water area of approximately 18,522 acres (28.94 mi2), counting the portions of rivers and canals that are also under the Port of Yokohama's jurisdiction. The Port abuts on the Port of Kawasaki to the northeast. Negishi Bay, with its many industrial facilities, is situated just south of the main Port of Yokohama. Negishi Bay is included within the greater Yokohama Port area Yokohama is a busy port, having an average of 32 deep-draft vessels entering the port each day (1991 statistic). The combined ports of Yokohama and Kawasaki are called the port of "Keihin-ko."

The inner portion of the Port of Yokohama is entered via 700 yd {640) m) wide Yokohama Passage which narrows to 416 yd (380 m) as it passes under the Yokohama Bay Bridge. The bridge has a vertical clearance of 180 ft (55 m) in the center of the span and 174 ft (53 m) on either side.

Currents at or near the Port of Yokohama are primarily wind and tide driven and do not generally pose a problem to navigation. According to a local harbor chart, a flooding tidal current sets in from the outer breakwaters at an average rate of not more than 1 kt (0.5 m s-1). The ebb current flows out at a slower rate. The currents in the navigation channels outside the outer breakwaters are the strongest of all currents inside and outside the port, but they are limited to 2 kt (1.0 m s-1). Astronomical tidal range at the port is relatively small. The average high tide is only 2.8 ft (0.84 m) above mean sea level (msl). The average low tide is -3.45 ft (-1.05 m) below msl. Extreme high tide recorded at the port is 5.25 ft (1.6 m) above msl. The extreme low tide is -5.18 ft (-1.58 m) below msl.

The Port of Yokohama has 112 commercial deep draft berths with mooring capacities varying from 40,000 DWT (2 berths) to less than 3,000 DWT (15 berths). Additionally, there are approximately 165 privately controlled berths in the port that range in size from super-tanker berths that can accommodate 90,000 DWT tankers to several berths that are limited to less than 1,000 DWT. According to port authorities, all pier faces have built-in rubber fenders.

The seven berths at Mizuho Wharf are used only by U. S. Military ships. Five of the berths are 623 ft (190 m) long, with apron widths of 49 ft (15 m). They can accommodate ships to 15,000 DWT. The two remaining berths are 502 ft and 512 ft (153 and 156 m) long with apron widths of 49 ft (15 m). They can accommodate ships to 8,000 DWT. Alongside depths vary from 29.5 to 32.8 ft (9 to 10 m). The Guide to the Port of Yokohama also lists berth number 7 at Shinko Wharf as being used by U. S. Military ships only, but the berth was not mentioned by harbor authorities during a port visit in September 1993. Specific data on the berth are not available, but measurements taken from a harbor chart indicate the berth is approximately 525 ft (160 m) long. Available documentation indicates that all berths on Shinko Wharf have alongside depths of 27.5 to 33.5 ft (8.4 to 10.2 m).

Several anchorages for general vessels and vessels carrying dangerous cargo are available immediately adjacent to the Ports of Yokohama, Kawasaki and Negishi Bay. Anchorages are designated by the Captain of Keihin-ko. Local authorities state that the safest anchorage, and the one recommended for use by US Navy ships, is Nakano Se (Shoal). It is located southeast of the port, immediately west of the northern portion of the Nakano Se Traffic Route. Depths in the anchorage vary mostly from 49 to 65 ft (15 to 20 m), but are as shallow as 39 ft (12 m) near the extreme northern part of the anchorage. Holding is said to be good on a bottom of mostly mud, sand and clay. The bottom in some areas of the anchorage is composed of sand and shells.

The use of harbor pilots is generally recommended, but if tug boats are used, a pilot is often not necessary. A total of 34 tug boats are available for use at the port.

Extensive ship repair facilities exist at the port, with five dry docks, many heavy lift cranes, and other heavy duty equipment available. However, the close proximity of Fleet Activities, Yokosuka in relation to Yokohama would dictate that most dry docking, repairs and maintenance of U. S. Navy ships would be performed at Yokosuka.

The Port of Yokohama is not a typhoon haven. The primary factors in reaching this conclusion are: (1) Mizuho Wharf where U. S. Navy ships would most likely moor, offers no protection from wind, and (2) Local port authorities state that ships should leave their berths if winds of 30 kt or greater are forecast. The best option for U. S. Navy ships in the Port of Yokohama is to move to Fleet Activities, Yokosuka before the onset of any storm. Yokosuka is considered to be a "safe" typhoon haven; a port in which to remain if already there, or one in which to seek shelter if at sea or elsewhere when threatened by a tropical cyclone.

 




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