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RORO . .   I don’t know how long ago this acronym entered English.  This one has a particularly interesting name, although

the naming convention for all NYK ROROs uses mythological references and then the “last name” LEADER.  Aphrodite comes from Toyohashi Shipbuilding.

Click here for an informational site on ROROs.  Now I have to admit that –in spite of many references online to this vessel as a RORO–it’s more likely a PCTC . . . pure car and truck carrier.  It arrived in port yesterday, and even now is already back to sea, headed for Europe.

Technically, Blue Marlin is a FLOFLO . ..  as in “float on and float off.”  After the New York loading experience, which still puzzles me in its apparent plethora of problems, Marlin might be dubbed “flofloflofloflo ….”

The next set of fotos show closers-ups of the cargo deck and cradles.  Blue Marlin–see technical info here– was launched in 2000 from CSBC in Kaohsiung, and “remodeled” a few years later in Ulsan.

Note the cradles and

(double click to enlarge) here’s an even closer-up.

Judging by the depth marks on the portside gray bulkhead, I’m guessing that last week about 20′ of water covered the load deck.

Maybe this week, this FLOFLO will SO (sail off), finally SISO.

Some reflections on ROROs can be found on Deep Water Writing and Kennebec Captain,   here and here.  Has anyone seen reflections/reportage from crew aboard a FLOFLO?

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Recently I’ve read parts of Marc Levinson’s The Box:  How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Richer.  The book tells as much about shipping and more specifically the port of New York as it does about McLean’s box.   McClean aka “father of containerization,” started toward the box in 1934 when he bought a used pickup truck to ship tobacco products.  Read about his trajectory as shipping visionary in the link above.

In 1934 only the gray stone (I believe it’s 20 Exchange Place)  building (behind and just to the left of the white cupola) making up this skyline as seen from off Battery Park City existed.  On the waterfront were piers and more piers.  Danish vessel Adriatic ID, rather than sailing past Manhattan, would likely have docked there.    From Levinson, “the city’s piers–283 of them at mid century with 98 of them able to handle ocean-going vessels–were strung out along the Manhattan and Brooklyn waterfronts.”  Bowsprite has a foto (third image down) of all these piers in this post.

ROROs like Fedora didn’t exist before World War 2, but if they had, Bayonne would not have been where they docked.

Similarly, the piers and docks of Red Hook Brooklyn were strewn with easily-pilfered break bulk cargo:  cases, casks, cartons, bags, boxes of all sizes, bundles, packages, pieces, drums, cans, barrels, vehicles, crates, transporters, reels, coils, piles, and the kitchen sink.  The containers offloaded from Maas Trader may in fact “package” all those things and more, only the number of dock workers and the time they work would be exponentially different from pre-World War 2.

South African vessel Safmarine Oranje would not have turned westward here toward Port Elizabeth or Howland Hook;  it wasn’t until 1955 that the Robert Meyner, then governor of New Jersey,  and the Port Authority (established in 1921) signed a deal to transformed a marsh into the container port Port Elizabeth is today.

More history later . . . but today, the arrival and departure of “long trainloads” contained within 1000′ loa vessels is commonplace, OOCL  Oakland arriving and

APL Japan, departing.

Hong Kong bulk carrier Great Majesty anchors in

the Upper Bay along Sunset Park just off the Brooklyn Army Terminal and in the watchful eye of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

Before leaving town, few mariners ever set foot on dry land.    IGA heads for sea under the bridge that wasn’t there until 1964.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

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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

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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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