You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Mississippi watershed’ category.

I’m dedicating these to Otis Redding . . . .   and I know I’m getting some details wrong and will correct when I’m back.  Thanks much for your comments and corrections.  My day started with Overseas Houston.  I think I just missed Christian Reinauer headed upstream before light in my location;


followed by an upstream flanking turn by B. John Yeager. . .



and more including Custom.


Farther upstream –can you guess where– I caught Catherine S and fleetmates;


Can you identify this massive levee?


Presager‘s background may help.


Creole Sun and a cluster of tugs and barges await while . . .


Myra Epstein powers


a long train of barges,


and churns up the Mississippi cafe au lait.


OK . .  answer tomorrow . . . can you idenify this vessel?


All fotos by Will Van Dorp, who’s headed north along the defining river of this continent.

Quick and succinct:  the way to enter Nola from the east and north is Rte 90.  About 30 miles east of Nola I passed this mystery vessel Poseidon, which looked like a house-forward bulk carrier with a quonset hut over the hold now blown away by a storm.  Anyone know the history?


As sun rose somewhere in a cloudy drizzly day, the first vessel to pass–upbound–was BBC Brazil.


Then a steady stream of traffic moved on the great river . . .  some of them included Amalienborg,


B. John Yeager (?) with at least 13 barges, which round Algiers Point in the most


curious way, which involved backing down, sliding over to the Nola side, and what must have been lots of nail-biting.


Big Sam and a small tow.


From the Algiers side, I checked out Barbara E. Bouchard‘s new pins.


Also on the drydocks at Bollinger’s was Mully and Admiral Jackson.


Alice‘s sister Caroline Oldendorff passed . . . upriver.


And Alley Cat headed downstream herding more barges than would seem possible.


Nola is so much more than all that, and Checkpoint Charlie is a start of that other so-long list, but do check in at Charlie’s when next you’re here.


More soon.  All foto by Will Van Dorp.


At my age . . . I’ve come to some places where –at each–I could spend a lifetime;  choices need to be made.  And if I can’t spend that much time at each, the alternative might be to just keep moving . . . since it’s too hard to figure out how

to get access.  Those do look like parts of the superstructure of USS New York, which makes the Avondale Shipyard over there somewhere.  In the sixth boro, tugboat Dorothy Elizabeth and prison barge Vernon C. Bain come out of Avondale, along with this huge international list.

Bayou Lafourche along 308 sports signs like this, birthplace of lots of Vane Brothers tugs, a Gellatly & Criscione, and several Penn Maritimes.

A couple of twists and turns later, there’s this Bollinger yard, home to the Sentinel-class of Coast Guard cutter.  Consider this, two major US shipyards in a town of  less than 3000!!  Here’s more info on those cutters.

Continue south for 12 miles and you’ll see North American Shipbuilding, one of several Edison-Chouest Offshore facilities.  Provider was delivered in 1999.

Manufacturing and then . . . those are banana “trees.”   And in this tropical waterway, a cornucopia of boats can be found like

Victor J. Curole, (1979)

as well as

Capt. Thuan, (1987)

Squeegee and Sponge,  (turns out they’re oil recovery vessels or were at one time, 1966)

Wyoming, (1940 fishing vessel)

nameless and Big Tattoo,  (1981)

a floating home?

Mia Molloy bow and


Winds of Change . . . (2002) which appears to have a pusher knee integrated into its bow,

Mr Russell,  (1995)

and I’d love to know more about this one,

Capt. Manuel,  (1982)

this nameless variation on Lil Rip,

lots of dipnetters,

nameless, Carissa Breigh, (1980)  and Junie Bop, (1981)

Lugger Tug,  (maybe 1981)

swarms of swamp fans,

… let me stop here on this post which breaks my record for number of fotos . . .  nameless, but I can almost make out the spelling of TUGSTER on the stern.  Is it possible I’ve found myself and my place to settle here?  She looks to have some pedigree . . . 1940s lines?  Can anyone help with a bit of history here?

Time for tugster  (1952) to stop this trip and contemplate and refresh with some Bayou Teche biere pale . . . .   For more on Bayou Teche, the place, click here.

I intend to return to the Bayou soon, spend more time, and  . . . who knows what might transpire.

All fotos here by either Will or Christina, partners in this jaunt-within-a-gallivant.

For a waterman’s view of the general area, click here.

From the air you can see the traffic . . . the sinuous lines it scribes into the legendary river.

From the bank, you can see sometimes three tugs abreast (l. to r. Bobby Jones-1966, David G. Sehrt-1965, and Born Again-1974) pushing more than a dozen barges slipping around the turn between Algiers and the 9th Ward.  And when I say slipping, I mean even big vessels seem to slide through this crescent. That erosion in the foreground bespeaks higher water.

Uh . . . a variation on seasnake?

Crescent’s J. K. McLean (2010 at C & G Boatworks of Mobile, AL) and New Orleans (1998 at ThomaSea) maneuver in front of 1995 American Queen.

Close-up of McLean.

Empty Barge Lines’ Grosbec (1980).

Olga G. Stone (1981) pushing oil downbound.

Miss Abby (1960 ?) upbound.

Slatten’s Allison S (1994) light and headed upstream past Bollinger’s.

Ingram Barge Company’s Mark C.  A few years back, I saw Ingram boats all the up in Cincinnati, OH and Pittsburgh, PA.

Another Ingram vessel featured a few days ago . .  . David G. Sehrt.

Vickie (1975) pushing  . . . crushed concrete maybe . . .

Port Allen (1945?!!)

Chelsea (1989)

I’m back at work in environs of the sixth boro, and this is the last set about Nola strictly defined.  Tomorrow I hope to put up some fotos from a jaunt-within-a-gallivant southwest from the Crescent City, a truly magical place to which I really must return soon because there’s much I’ve yet to understand . . . like why

the nola hula only appears to salute certain vessels.

And is it true there’s a nun driving a tugboat somewhere on the Lower Mississippi?  Here’s a ghost story, and if you have a chance to find it, listen to Austin Lounge Lizard’s  “Boudreaux was a Nutcase.”

All fotos by Will Van Dorp, who also has tons of fotos from Panama to put up.

This foto in no way conveys the intensity of this moment:  that car crept down Iberville Street at dusk blasting out a shock wave of engine roar that rivaled the scream of  747 engines.

Here too the noise of beaded necklace flinging Shiners on Tchoupitoulas Street.

The shadow of Christ emerges on this end of St. Louis Cathedral as night falls.

Tugster dips his toe in the Mississippi near where Capt. John hugs the wharf just northeast of JacksonSquare.

This statue is called Old Man River, and I’m intrigued though

these words (by Robert Schoen?) leave me as mystified as the sculpture.

Traffic at the intersection of St. Ann’s and Chartres includes this mule (?)  and a texting swamp man.

Down by the river, bowsprite begins to weigh her appreciation for 1937 ferry Louis B. Porterie, one of the free ferries operated by

LA DOTD, the second “D” being development.  Here’s a better foto of the ferry, which whirls and spins between the French Quarter and the neighborhood intriguingly-named Algiers.

I looked in vain for formerly-sixth boro Glen Cove but did find a Kirby tug,  Miss Susan.

More of this type of traffic tomorrow.   All fotos by either bowsprite or tugster.

(Double click enlarges.)    Do that and behold ATR-89, once an ATR-1 class rescue tug.  The original ATR-1 was built at Wheeler Shipbuilding Corp. in Queens, NY.  At that link, I’m a fan of ATR- 28 and 76, given their dazzle paint.   I believe the last extant ATR-1 tug afloat sank at her mooring in British Colombia a few years back, and I’ve no idea what has happened since.  Click here for more fotos at the Marine Heritage Society of Vancouver.

ATR-89 later known as Hila launched from Burger Boat in Manitowoc, WI in 1944.  Anyone have fotos from then?

As an indication of deterioration at the site, the foto below taken in May 2010 shows (not far from ATR-89′s starboard side) a prow and hull portion no longer visible 14 months later:  crumbled, disappeared into the silt.  Click here for a list of other ATRs.

Marietta Manufacturing delivered this vessel as LT-653 in June 1944 in Point Pleasant, WV, a yard that closed in 1967.

I wrote about it here last year, including fotos of this vessel as Bloxom, here

eternally (or for the foreseeable future) pushing against the wooden hull of a vessel long unidentifiable.  Is that a rudder post sleeve (not sure of the technical term)  in the foreground?

And here’s sub chaser PC-1264, Bronx-built and a vessel quite important in the racial integration of African-Americans in the US Navy for tasks/training other than galley duty.   Read her history in the link above.    Like Hila and Bloxom, PC-1264 was delivered in 1944.   PC-1264 is less well preserved than PC-1217, from yesterday’s post.  The port side of its bow has been ripped open.  The last time this blog has featured a vessel built in the Consolidated Shipbuilding site (now Roberto Clemente State Park) was here . . . and examined an iceboat.  The link for Roberto Clemente State Park mentions nothing at all about this space usage prior to becoming a park.

Of all the links in this post, this one is probably the most interesting… with fotos

of its service life.    I’d love to hear stories about crew of PC-1264.

Parts from the nefarious ex-PC-1611 were used to restore the only extant sub chaser

of this hull design, Le Forgueux, now a museum vessel in the Netherlands.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp, who welcomes corrections and additions.

This blog has featured Dutch-built vessels permanently in North America before, like Livet (scroll thru a bit) and Golden Re’al.  There’s also a set of posts in September  2009 about a traditional  Dutch fleet transported to the these waters for a long month’s touristic sailing;  scroll through the “archives” on the lower leftside here to September 2009 and you’ll find a bunch, and here and here are fotos of this fleet riding Flinterborg back to Old Netherlandish waters.

Thanks to Rene Keuvelaar, here are more fotos of these American-built vessels that to this day still traffic European inland waterways, whether earning income carrying freight or spending savings gallivanting about.  Raised but unpainted lettering on the two closest hulls identify them as Muscadet (today Cordi Jan of Arnhem) and Corbieres (scrapped (?)  in 1995), hulls # 275 and 270, respectively.

Let me digress here.  Hic et Ubique was built in 1970 in the Czech Republic.  This foto was taken east of Rotterdam in 2005.  Can you guess

the cargo?  Answer follows.  Today Hic et Ubique goes by Vagrant.

Geran was Ingalls hull #276  (1951), originally known as Pomerol.  In 2005, she was shortened

by about 45′ and converted from vrachtschip (freighter)

to woonschip (houseboat).

Her original loa was just shy of 208 feet.

Ontario was hull  #277, originally called


Note the spare prop.

That cargo was sugar beets.  Although the US may still be the world’s leading producer, I’m not familiar with it.

Top foto from Vereniging “de Binnenvaart”  (European Inland Navigation Assocation).  All other fotos by Rene Kevelaar, used with permission.

I’d love to hear from someone familiar with Decatur, Alabama. Again, click here for some info on Ingalls Shipbuilding.  I wonder if the bunker tanker Manhasset (See 1958 here.)  I used to see in the sixth boro is the one built at Ingalls.  I know I had a foto of Manhasset, but can’t locate it.  Here’s Tom Turner’s.  Also, anyone know what has become of Manhasset and Mostank?

Doubleclick to enlarge, and take this in by details . . . name on the forward portion of the cargo deck and house as well as profiles on the horizon.  Surprise at the end of the post.

Consider this different vessel, Alblasserward by name.

Short sea shipping has been figured out in Europe using

vessels like these.  The flag is the Netherlands, and crane lifts the compact car onto the hard and dry when

inland waterwayfaring is done.

Ditto Alabama, the vessel in foto #1.

I hope by now you’re asking why an obvious European self-propelled barge carries a name like Alabama, right?  By the way, a personal connection here . . . my father reported that as a kid, he imagined growing up to be captain of such a vessel in the inland shipping business, aka binnenvaart.

So the surprise . . .  Alabama (1947) and Alblasserward (1949) and many other European waterway barges were built in  . . .  Alabama!  So you’re thinking . . . somewhere near Mobile?  Nope!  Up in Decatur, on that tributary of the Ohio called the Tennessee.  As part of the Marshall Plan.  What’s interesting is that these vessels do not appear on the Ingalls (now part of Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding) record here.

The after and fore part of the vessel were built completely on the yard, living quarters including what was touted as an “American kitchen,”   engine room,wheelhouse, etc.  The middle section was shipped in crates and the engine was installed at the yard in Dordrecht, Netherlands, after traveling the Tennessee, Ohio, Mississippi to New Orleans, and then the Atlantic.    Upon arrival in Rotterdam, the crates and forward section were placed on a barge and towed to the yard, and the aft section was towed to the yard separately.

All fotos thanks to Rene Keuvelaar;  info thanks to Rene and to Jan van der Doe.  Rene runs a web-log linked here.  You might also check a different forum/database called “binnenvaart” aka inland waterway shipping, which in Europe like the sixth boro among boros and states, seamlessly connects waters through different countries.  .  And given that these vessels are still earning their keep, I’d love to hear from anyone who knows, firsthand or otherwise, about construction and transportation of these US hulls to their final destination.  If one of these were brought back to the US, would they be considered US hulls even though they’ve never . . . in over 60 years, worked in US waters?  Europeans in Europe doing short sea shipping with US-built vessels . . . who knew?!@!!

More on this soon, I hope.

No, the blog hasn’t gone politico-preachy . . . America‘s the name of the push vessel below.  Check out the unusual (at least by sixth boro standards)  of four side-by-side stacks, each stack corresponding to a Cooper-Bessemer LS-8 engine, with a total combined horsepower of 9000 bhp.  Details are these:   170′ x 58′ x 10.3′ and launched in St. Louis in 1960.    For two decades America pushed for Federal Barge Lines.  After that, it went to another pushboat company, was repossessed, converted to a restaurant, casino, and is now in conversion to a B & B.  I want to see this vessel that’s trying on all these post-push vessel roles.

Foto used with permission from Steve Schulte.  Thanks much, Steve.

Summer’s approaching, and I’m feeling a strong urge for a gallivant along the Ohio leading the misi-ziibi and any other  “tight-assed” river tributaries, as John McPhee called one of them.  Can anyone offer suggestions of where to get the best fotos along the central Mississippi and the Illinois?   And while at the juncture, I’m visiting here.

For a list of towboat companies on the Mississippi watershed, click here.

These fotos compliments of Allen Baker, whose fotos ran previously here and here … and other places.   Elsbeth II (featured in a New Yorker story by Burkhard Bilger in April 19, 2010) tows dead ship Horizon Crusader to be scrapped At Southern Recycling.  Elsbeth II is a triple-screw boat built by Smith Maritime‘s owner, Latham Smith.

Of the two Crescent vessels,   Point Clear minds the stern and another tug escorts on port.  Tug alongside on starboard . . . identified with Harold Tartell’s help … is Angus R. Cooper (1965, ex-Paragon, Anthony St. Philip).

Crusader‘s older sib–Challenger–seems to languish in Bayonne.  Anyone know what’s happening with Challenger?  It did make at least one trip south recently, but now it seems idled again.   [[Thanks to Jeff Schurr:  Said Bayonne vessel is NOT Challenger but rather Discovery, which explains why I thought she (Challenger) had quickly deteriorated into her former condition. ]]  Jeff, thanks for the correction.

Also, down along the big river recently was Paul T. Moran, 1975, ex-Ocean Venture, S/R Golden State, Exxon Golden State, and Eliska.  Paul T. appeared here light back more than two years ago.

Also along the big river, from left to right:  Bluefin (2009), Susan W (1982, ex-General Lee), Gladys B (1937), and Capt. Albert 1931, ex-Miss Sarah) .

Many thanks to Allen and Harold.

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My job . . . Summer AND Fall 2014

Graves of Arthur Kill

Click to order your copy of Graves of Arthur Kill, by Gary Kane and Will Van Dorp. 3Fish Productions.

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Blue Marlin spent 600+ hours loading tugs and barges in NYC Sixth Boro. Click on image for presentation made to NY Ship Lore and Model Club, July 25, 2011.


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