Happy to be Doing What I Love
On May 12, 2023, I retired from the U. S. Coast Guard with over 26 years of Active-Duty service. I spent half of that time within the Coast Guard’s District Eight area of responsibility and eight years in the Houston-Galveston area. First, I was at the Sector Houston-Galveston office and later at the Marine Safety Unit Texas City. During my time at those units, I had the pleasure of working very closely with many industry members that I now call friends, and we were able to overcome many challenges.
I’m now delighted to be part of the Greater Houston Port Bureau and ready to continue working side by side with this amazing port community. We have several major projects underway in our Houston Ship Channel and we need to ensure we remain relevant, engaged and connected with local, state and federal agencies to ensure the needs of our maritime transportation system are met. I’m committed to leading our ports and being the voice you all deserve. Thanks to CAPT Bill Diehl for all his initiatives during his 14 years tenure with the Port Bureau and for being the driving force behind our success. I’m thankful I have his cell number on speed dial, and I know he’ll continue to be a mentor to all of us.
My journey in Texas started in 2013 when I arrived in Houston as the Chief of the Inspections Division. With over 9,000 vessel arrivals annually, and a large fleet of inspected barges, I quickly realized my hands were full. During my first week, I went for a tour onboard one of our small boats and witnessed first-hand a very diverse vessel traffic in this area that included oil and chemical tankers, ferries, cruise ships and hundreds of tugs and barges.
The next day I went for a helo overflight and flew over the offshore anchorage areas. It was like a parking lot, full of vessels waiting to come to port or just conducting offshore lightering, bunkering or ship-to-ship transfers. Definitely an eye-opening experience and as a Prevention Officer, my anxiety levels went to a new high. I couldn’t sleep that night thinking of all the preparations we needed to do before a hurricane or just the checklists we needed to complete for any other heavy weather event. I admit I was a little overwhelmed, but the best part was yet to come.
It was during my first meeting with the Lone Star Harbor Safety Committee that I experienced greatness. As big a port community as we are, our maritime industry and port partners are very close and devoted to the success of everyone. I was very much welcomed by all and almost immediately we were on a first name basis. During my eight years here, we tackled many issues impacting our ports from marine casualties to Hurricane Harvey to the disembarkation of passengers and crew during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now that I have retired from the Coast Guard, I cannot think of a better place to be. I will continue advocating for our port community to make sure we are not only the best port in the nation but also globally. As the largest petrochemical complex in the United States, port collaboration is the key to ensure waterway efficiency to continue growing our membership and businesses. I know we have the right people at the Port Bureau to serve our membership and want to say thanks to all of you in advance for your support. Let’s show the world all the great things we have to offer - and so happy I’m back home, doing what I love!
About the Author
CAPT Eric Carrero, USCG (Ret.), joined the Greater Houston Port Bureau as president on July 1, 2023. He has 26 years of service in the U.S. Coast Guard, with experience in international affairs, port and vessel operations, and serving in the Sector Houston-Galveston from 2013-2021. CAPT Carrero holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Puerto Rico and a master’s degree in environmental management and policy from the American Public University System.