You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Miller’s Launch’ tag.

The race may last for less than 10 minutes for (most) boats, but each participant spends hours before and after.  Here, using the power of thousands of conceptual horses and one very real donkey, all four vessels in Miller contingent make their way upriver.

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At Pier 66, crew on deck and crew below start them up.

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Lady B (read her interesting history here and here, the latter explaining that the “B” stands for either “Benazir” or Bhutto.”

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For boats that arrive on the scene early, Red Hook may have come straight from a job delivering bunker to Norwegian Breakaway, there’s time for what might look like lollygagging, and

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(in these next two shots from William Hyman) saluting the spectators or just

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being seen.  Does Seagus have another name?

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But it’s also getting acquainted time.

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Some regulars didn’t show, and other vessels arrived that I’d never seen before.

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I had to look up South River Rescue Squad attending the Great North River race . . .

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Somewhere in the attractively dressed race day crew on Jake-boat Resolute are two of the principals of tugboatinformation.com . . .  hi Birk and Craig, as well as the force majeure aka Rod behind Narragansett Bay Shipping.

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This kayaker stays well out of the stream.

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The white bowstriped vessel–Lt. Michael P. Murphy– in the distance won the prize for persistence, finishing the course in a historic half an hour . . . spending most of that time doing a mid-race-course onboard repair.

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Despite forecasts of storms–and rain north of the GW Bridge–the only lightning I saw was here and

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thunder from the crowds on the piers.  That’s the intrepid bowsprite showing us her drawing/painting arm.

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Spectators took advantage of any platform.

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More soon.   Thanks to William Hyman for his fotos, especially the one of an exuberant W. O. Decker, which I featured hard at work using Seth Tane fotos from over 30 years ago here.  Click here for John Huntington’s superb fotos from a wet place in the race . . ..

Again, my hat’s off to all who must work on Labor Day, including my son, who always works holidays for the higher hourly rate.  And if you’re inclined, read what Paul Krugman has to say about Labor Day.

Small craft to come, but first . . . the missing foto from yesterday’s post . . . how DID the heaving line get through the eye aka “closed chock”?  Hope this foto helps;  I do believe I see the monkeyfist flying upward from the crewman at the rail;  crew on the upper level passed it to the crewman forward of the chock?

It’s been over two years since I’ve used this title. Small craft  come in many shapes,

are operated by professional mariners,

respond to emergencies with versatility,

and shuttle specialists between shore and much larger craft.

This one I first thought was transporting booms but now I think had some festive mission, given what appears to be a sizable bouquet over the engine compartment.

They operate for many agencies,

commercial entities,

government services, and

and law enforcement groups.

They work in diverse

weather, all

year round.

Enjoy a few more:

All fotos by Will Van Dorp, who apologizes for not knowing who operates some of these small craft.

Actually that title captures 98% of this blog’s +1800 posts.  And just as elsewhere in Gotham or anywhere else, so on the sixth boro what work you see depends entirely on your station.  And my station this particular day was Tchefuncte River’s  Equitable Equipment‘s hull # 1428, delivered in August 1966 as Red Star Towing‘s New Haven.  Now she’s Freddie K. Miller;  I took the foto below just over five years ago when she was Stapleton Service.    I use this foto here because a downside of being on the tow is my inability to get a foto OF the tow.

At 0520 hrs, dawn was sweetest and coolest, from this point a mile south of Miller’s Launch.  When I reported at 0530, the Miller’s yard was already busy.

The crew of Freddie K Miller’s had a job: pick up Weeks Crane Barge 552 and its crew and proceed to the East River ConEd.  By 0615, crew was making the tow.

0645 we were crossing west to east across the Upper Bay.  Buchanan 1 was towing a scow  and

Douglas B. Gurion headed west for passengers.  The ferry is named for a victim of September 11.

0715 . ..  near Red Hook container port, we passed this ex-MSC vessel Transatlantic.  I will post more MSC soon.

0730 . . . we had passed under the Brooklyn Bridge and now could feast on this potpourri of  Manhattan skyline.  Side by side on the right are Gehry’s flowing-facade 8 Spruce (2011) and Gilbert’s spiky-tower (1913).

0745 . . . we pass GMD Shipyard, where morning shift has already started its work on Massachusetts Maritime’s TS Kennedy  (1967).

0815 . . . the crew have tied to the ConEd dock and Weeks’ crew has begun setting the spuds, for stability as the load is transferred.  My very general understanding of this load is that ConEd purchased equipment from  Manufacturer M.  Company A trucked it to the Weeks yard because installation by land (by Company B) was less feasible than installation from water.  Miller’s job was to move equipment on crane barge to ConEd so that Weeks–with collaboration from Company B–could set equipment exactly where it will be used.

0915 . . . first equipment is lifted and rotated over the East River counterclockwise to avoid obstacles on land, and at

0920 . . .  crew guides unit into exact location.  If half an inch off, then lift and get it right.

1010 . . . next piece of equipment is moved.   While the tug stands by with the crane barge, Miller crew does fine carpentry work in wheelhouse.

Since my self-appointed job is to record details, check out Carolina IV, sailing westbound on the East river . . . hailing from Stockholm,  Yes, sailing!  and  . . . yes . . . that Stockholm while

eastbound are Gage Paul Thornton and a floatplane.

1115 . . . heavy-duty pipe elbow gets lifted into place. Tower protruding from the building just right of MetLife is Chrysler Building.

1215 . . . the spuds are up,  the crane boom lowered and secured, Freddie K Miller has spun off the dock and now heads back westbound for the Weeks yard.  If the grayish vessel in the foreground is locally known as a “honey boat,” then this has to be one of the sweetest scenes possible in these parts.

1300 . . . as we approach the Weeks yard we cross Buchanan 12 towing three stone scows, possibly headed for a quarry up the Hudson.

1330 . . . Freddy K Miller is now “light,” having left the barge at the Weeks yard.  Ever Decent is outbound for sea, and by this writing is southbound off Cape Hatteras.

Meanwhile, close to Manhattan, Asphalt Star takes on bunker fuel from a Vane barge.  That black hose . . . that’s like the hose at the pump where you fill your car tank.

By 1400, I’ve said my thanks to the crew of Freddy K Miller —who await their next job on this or another vessel–and the dispatcher, and take a break to examine a familiar sight:  Alice, she who inspired my first ever blogpost!!

Back on the bank and before heading home, I get another shot;  she’s loaded deep with her Canadian aggregates.

Imagine my delight, then, later that day getting a foto from Mike C. of Alice Oldendorff north of the Navy Yard self-unloading her cargo of crushed stone.

Many thanks to all the folks at Miller’s Launch.  Also, thank you Mike for sending along this last foto.  All other fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Damaged?  Spamaged!  15:10:59?

15:10:40?

15:14:05?

15:15:39?

The wind was howling!  Bravo to the crews of all the vessels, and Shelby . . .  the world’s only tugboat with wings.

Fotos by Will Van Dorp.

And this video is fine, but “unceremoniously aboard a barge “    what is this?  If a “barge” is regal for the diamond jubilee queen, why is it NOT for Enterprise?

Six weeks ago, the Shuttle Enterprise flew over the sixth boro; today the saga continued.

14:46 . . .  the tow moves through Grassy Bay and Winhole Channel with JFK Airport in the distance.  This too is the sixth boro.

14:51 . . . it passes just beyond the approach to the Beach Channel Swing Bridge of the A subway, yes . .  subway.

15:13 . . . with an assist from Susan Miller, the tow squeezes through and makes

for the Cross Bay Memorial Bridge, where several hundred watch . . . and are watched.  Folks on the bridge cheered and excited baitfish churned up the surface a mere 52 feet below.

Shelby leads and

Kathleen tails.   USCGC 47315 Sandy Hook flanks.

Whoever rode those subways got a show.   And given the challenge of fitting through the rail bridge on the gusty day it was, I guess it could be said that shuttle and tug crews demonstrated they could “boldly go where no shuttle has gone before.”

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

For John “Control Geek” Huntington’s take, click here.  We happened to be on the same bridge watching the same unique event and so mesmerized by it, we didn’t even realize we rubbed elbows!!

(Note:  Doubleclick enlarges.) The title . . . those were the exact words John Watson emailed me last night.  If the message had been “hawk is down”  . . . or “condor …”  it would have alarmed me, but instead I charged my camera so that right after work I could zoom over to Fort Wadsworth for these shots.  By one, I found Alert loaded onto barge BFT No. 38, which

was already on Swan.  Gabby Miller was present, of course.  Lined up on the Brooklyn side was a cast of characters identified as

Cavalier, Pioneer, and Mars . . . in custody of Charles D. McAllister.

The three Crowley tugs glided onto Swan‘s back, extending beyond the hull on

both sides.

For outatowners, that’s Manhattan in the distance looking across most of what’s called the Upper Bay.  The Lower Bay is behind me, as is the Verrazano Bridge.    On the right is the boro of Brooklyn.  The red tugs are Charles D. McAllister and McAllister Sisters Girls.

If you wonder about my shifting POV, the tide turned from ebb to flood during loading, and with it a bank of fog crept in and out, several times.

Next on board . . . Socrates, who in spite of the fog, found

a place midships, starboard.

This left space for

Heron!  It’s not quite Noah’s ark, but I’m hoping Bowsprite will find a spare moment to drawing this vessel with its cargo almost as diverse as that of Pi Patel.

Loading completed, Susan Miller glides by.  No doubt Swan has already begun to deballast to rise back up, and tomorrow the menagerie onboard Swan will be high and dry.  After that, next stop, Nigeria.

I include this foto for outatowners.  The vessel farthest left and most distant is Swan;  I took it on the ferry about halfway back to Manhattan.   Land to the right of King Emerald is Staten Island.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Some related posts include Mighty Servant loaded last December, Blue Marlin loaded a year ago, and Socrates last summer . .  seventh foto down.

Tugster does not strive to be a “shipping news” site, but each time I walk or ride my beat, I DO keep an watchful eye for change, novelty, well . . . new sights.  Certainly this was true yesterday:   let’s start with the orange vessel to your left.  You’ve seen the colors before, but is that a “hole through the stern above deck”?

I have a feeling we’ll be seeing a bit more of Swan in the next few days.  And I trust lessons have been learned from last spring’s Blue Marlin saga.

So Beauford Sea has begun its Kirbyfication.  As has Norwegian Sea, but I was too far off to get a good foto.

Resolute‘s foredeck seemed to be carrying a lot more than deckhands yesterday.  And is that a movie camera?  And what were they all looking at?

How about this unusual equipment on Ellen?  Is MOL Earnest that tough a customer?

Iron Eagle is not new to the harbor, but the Conti name is . . . at least to me.

Rosemary Miller?  New too.  I wonder what has become of Sorenson Miller.

With spring comes the sailing season, and America 2.0 . . .  I last saw closeup  here last fall.

And one last “newby” I was lucky to catch yesterday was Mark Moran, headed south to  .  . who knows where?    Mark‘s so new that even on Birk and Harold’s excellent site, there’s only a drawing of her.

Followup on lots of these soon.   All fotos taken yesterday by Will Van Dorp.

For the news from the Narrows between Detroit (which means “the narrows” in French) and Windsor, click here for Isaac’s site and some great fotos from Wade.  The surprise there for me was Zeus, who worked the sixth boro a bit a few years back.  Also, there are more shots of DonJon’s huge Great Lakes ATB unit.

Also, of course please vote for tug Pegasus and Lehigh Valley 79.   The fact that they’re not in the top few places should NOT be a reason to give up;  we have a daily vote until the 21st.

Thomas D. Witte . . . I did nothing to manipulate this image, no liquification, no DAP . . .

Yet another Mighty Servant 1 foto with four movers of the Miller’s Launch fleet.    As of this writing, the Mighty is still anchored at the Narrows.  Bravo on what appears to have been a flawless loading.

Gustav Schulte passes the loading on a very slow bell, partly because of the tow happening off its port bow also.

I’m not sure what this tow is . . . Sea Lion (?) and a thousand feet tailing it.  The tail boat may be Iron Wolf.    Can anyone help?

December means fishing on the sixth boro . . . here’s a newcomer for me . . . Mary Virginia (ex-Maazee).

Irish Sea moves a barge into the Bay.

Eagle Baltimore and Liechtenstein swing on the hook.

Crystal Cutler does too.

Shearwater motors out the east end of KVK headed, I believe, for North Cove.

Crystal Marie exits the Narrows.

Happy last day of Fall 2011.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.  And this just in . . . as of noon today, Mighty Servant 1 exited the Bay Nigeria-bound.  I hope the good folks on Meagan Ann get a foto they will share.

Two and a half decades ago (almost) I was entering New Hampshire from Quebec and was stumped:  the US border agent brought his face to about a foot from mine and asked: “How does someone from Massachusetts (my drivers license) and someone from Maine (her drivers license)  meet?”  I knew he wanted a short, convincing answer, and I thought in paragraphs and chapters even.

This shot immediately reminded me of  that experience:  how does a tugboat from San Francisco and one from New York end up lashed together, no longer floating,

cradled on the broad back of Mighty Servant?  The answer is . . . it’s complicated and it’ll take paragraphs and chapters to relate.

And I certainly don’t know much of the story.  What I do know is that at 0902 today, here’s what I saw.

The barges loaded yesterday were still being secured, crew fine tuning as they would a huge

musical instrument.  What music would you like the Mighty Servant to play today?

0951 hr . . .  Charles D. McAllister and Gabby Miller brought their various powers to bear on the travelers.

Centurion and Hercules have pleasingly different bows.

Note the small boat (Bobby G?) preparing Centurion’s entry.

Even Bohemia comes by.

1047 hr . . .  shoehorning is happening on the far side as Albermarle Island passes with a load of Ecuadorian fruit.

From this angle, Mighty Servant thusly loaded reminds me of an ocean going sidewheeler, like SS Savannah.

By 1047, she seemed loaded and I couldn’t tell if

the deballasting aka raising had begun.

More may follow.   All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Oh . . . sorry, Johna.  I could say I picked her up hitchhiking . .  . to spice up the story.  The truth is we were coworkers in a publishing company and that led to some fairly spiced up waterborne adventures;  we were just returning from a jaunt up the St. Lawrence northeasterly from Quebec City.   If you want more on her . . . Diana, a major true love and heartbreak, you’ll have to read My Babylonian Captivity.  Diana is not her real name.

So, I watched today until a bank of clouds slid in and turned all light monochromatic.  While watching, thoughts that came to mind included . . . “mighty patient” you have to be to load such a vessel, or watch it.

0851 hr . . .  Gabby floats all alone on the Bay . . . that bodes well.  Mighty Servant 1 has been in port less than a week.

0922h.  Mighty Servant spins with the beginning of the flood tide.  Once in place, she will be mightily served.  Note the orange tender hanging from Mighty’s port side.  I’ll call it Lesser Mighty.

And some lucky end-o-seasoners heading south catch a rare view.

0943 hr . . . RTC 105 arrives, pushed by Bruce A., house up, and then

0954 . . . house down and she leaves the barge in the able hands of Gabby and Linda L. Miller.  There’s an invisible Ellen on the far side also.

At the same moment, the orange tender aka Lesser Mighty  delivers

the tower crews to their stations to winch the load into place.

1002 . . . Lesser delivers line handlers onto the RTC 105 as well.

1021 .. . Ellen and Bruce approach

with mighty patience and care.   Note the gray towers on the far side.

1058 . . .  Note the additional Miller boat, Barbara,  in the foreground and the next barge in the distance.

1107.   Lines gets shuttled between RTC 105 and Servant by Lesser.

Whatever was the snafu, the barge gets hauled off, then back on, and line shuttling gets shifted to Bobby G.,  a small Miller boat,

who makes stuff happen,

who weaves a web, and who earns the nom-de-guere More Than Lesser Mighty Servant.

1225.  By now, the lines get snugged, Ellen, Bruce, and Bobby G move over toward the next barge.  And a thick winter cloud moves in.  With cold fingers, I leave for other projects, but the loading goes on.  Maybe I’ll return tomorrow early.

Mightily done, crew!

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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.

Seth Tane American Painting

My other blogs

My Babylonian Captivity

Reflections of an American hostage in Iraq, 20 years later.

Henry's Obsession

My imaginings and bowsprite's renderings of Henry Hudson's trip through the harbor 400 years ago.

Tale of Two Marlins

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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