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So I enjoyed writing about Margaret Moran pinning Sex (ok, aka Seoul Express) to the bulkhead this weekend, and it led me here . . . to the pins that are invisible while in use . . . (hmmm this too could lead into risque territory… oh I love spring time.)  Anyhow, Davis Sea (launched 1982) has 


pins although I don’t know how long back she was pinned.  


So does Norwegian Sea (launched 1976)


although Maryland just beyond her does not, as evidenced by the push cables.  


Scott Turecamo‘s (launched 1998) come from a different manufacturer, the same one that Craig Eric Reinauer‘s come


from although Craig Eric (launched 1979) has a service ladder


I wonder when someone would use that fixed ladder.


Of course, other pin designs exist also such as this


on Penn Maritime’s Julie (launched 1998). 


All these pins have nothing, though, to do with how Margaret was pinning Sex to the bulkhead.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

(continued from 2a)  … as I was saying, once Margaret senses an opening between Sex and the bulkhead, she nudges the bow over toward New Jersey, causing Laura K to quicken her 5100 horsepower and to send Kills water geysering astern.


Margaret lavishes 3000-hp attention to the bow,


Laura K persists,


Margaret doesn’t relent until Sex‘s


964′ length pivots with the desired angle to slip into the channel toward Newark Bay,


Sex‘s 104’ beam gets squeezed between a total of 8100 hp intensely pushing, while she herself uses nearly 30,000 hp to withdraw


transforming the tugs into flexible thrusters, bow and stern, backing


in the direction of southern Bayonne before


release from the confines of protected waters and a run to sea.  A ship as long as a 64-floor building is tall urged from bonds ashore to energized freedom to rock on whatever seas she encounters . . . all taking less than 15 minutes  . . . tis a thing of beauty.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

I posted about this procedure last summer, abridging the vessel name Glasgow Express to a monosyllabic Glex.  Never did I think then there’d be a Seoul Express that could collapse to . . .  Sex, (in its prudishness, Hapag-Lloyd abbreviates  the vessel as Sox . . . gosh darn jiminy crisper)  but in deference to precedent and celebration of spring, meet the container ship code-named SEX.   Anyhow, my favorite Laura K nosing into the bulkhead so that  the pilot (?) can jump ashore means only one thing below those as-yet taut sternlines . . . assist time has arrived!  A large vessel will soon reverse itself out of this part of the sixth boro, aka the “inner coast” of Staten Island, i.e., the Kills.


Laura K glides over to stern starboard to wait for


(while Margaret noses in and pins Sex to the bulkhead)


a heaving line to haul in the towline so that


Laura K can inch Sex into the stream


as she churns her own self stern-first seaward.


Once Margaret senses space widening between the bulkhead and Sex‘s  bow, she . . .


(Oops. Postus interruptus, to be continued tomorrow...)

Unrelated:  Allie B and Brooklyn Bridge, whose departure from greater Boston we documented on March 7, have now arrived with their cargo in Romania.  Bravo to the crew.  Thanks to Sackrabbit for following this story.

Also, a message from Henry has been received from the North Sea off Norway;  as soon as the garbling across the seas of time is clarified, we’ll post.  Stand by.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Two ships exited the KVK and headed for sea in the same half hour Wednesday morning.  One was Athens Star, a Star tanker, obviously.  


Way in the distance, Responder, at  Athens Star‘s bow, backed her down while Aegean Sea (?) watched.  Athens Star (73,699 dwt) launched from Germany in 2005.


Majestic Maersk heads for sea, carrying as cargo a boat or two . . 


high atop the containers, although I’ve no idea where to.


As for her own provenance, Majestic,  here escorted by Ellen McAllister,launched from the Odense Yard in 1990, a place she


shares with quite a few large containerships.

Easter Sunday morning, do I need better fuel to sort out a rough night than a stroll along the chilly North River with no company except voices in my head and a sunrise-drenched-red Melvin E. Lemmerhirt alongside?  But aside from my stuff, I wonder who’s Melvin’s namesake  and what preoccupations fill the  wheelhouse besides concerns about paycheck and health?


Tax Day 2009, I feel drained as a cold wind whips out of the east and spray atomizes over Megan‘s bow  as she drag races a small boat.


And wintry gusts nearly strip the flag off Maryland, pushing against tide and spray and past jade-green Sea Raven with its unique high stacks.


They shuttle the KVK


while I postpone getting to work.

Volunteer waits on the hook in Gravesend Bay in late March 2009, and thanks to Harold Tartell,


the same steel as Energy Altair, pushing an ammonia barge in the Mississippi watershed in this undated foto.   Now I hate to dwell on superficialities, but I will say K-Sea has a more attractive color scheme.


Last summer while traveling the Mississippi watershed, I learned that  “in Donaldsonville Louisiana. Natural gas is converted into ammonia and fertilizer. This ammonia is anhydrous, meaning it has no water in it.  Pure ammonia is inside two cylindrical tubes insulated and kept at negative 26 degrees by two very powerful compressors that run on diesel.  The ammonia gas from the tanks is its own refrigerant.

According to Martin Pepper, if a barge loses power to the compressor, the liquid will begin to boil. The tank safety valves will pop and ammonia gas is nasty. The best remedy for a breach is to spray the gas with a water spray and stay upwind. Lots of spray. Check Martin’s website here.

Away from the busier route, a fleet of construction vessels heads away from the likes of Don Pasquale car carrier and  up the North River


led by Melvin E. Lemmerhirt and scow,


John P. Brown with one crane,


Vera K (ex-Goose Creek) with another,


and Charles D. McAllister (ex-Exxon Bayou State) with Dredge 51


that rides quite low in the water


Now what’s the project?

OK, so I couldn’t get close enough fast enough, but the gray vessel evaporating into the fog at the Narrows is none other than Bob Hope aka T-AKR-300 delivered to the US Navy just over a decade ago by Avondale Industries.  I never knew this until just now, but the vessel’s namesake was born in the UK and entered the US through the Narrows and Ellis Island!


Just past Ellis Island, bulker Georgia S hauls in Canadian gypsum to be transformed into wallboard aka sheetrock, putting her in the same trade as A. V. Kastner.  What is it about gypsum bulker that causes them to have the peculiar stern design?


What I intially thought was a dollar sign (or possibly “zero dollars”)  is actually the monogram of the modern bulk carrier designer, Ole Skaarup.


Last week, Singapore Star anchored just north of the Narrows not far from


where Patriot Service lightered off Norient Solar, a handysize vessel from Norient Product Pool.

aarsnspsMeanwhile,  if you see something and I don’t, don’t say something; just snap a foto, send it my way, and I’d be happy to credit you with coin of the realm . . . fame and fortune in the blogshed.

Unrelated:  Many thanks to Justin who sent along this link to the entire 36-minute Irving Johnson video of “Peking Round the Horn” here.

Thank God for the rescue of Capt. Richard Phillips and many kudos to the crews of many US Navy vessels for doing it.

All fotos here by Will Van Dorp.

George Conk recently posted about Henry Hild, asking whether it was the last wooden workboat in the sixth boro.   I know of at least one, R. Ian Fletcher, shown below.  Fletcher has its own blog here.


What I recall from speaking with Captain John Lipscomb is that Fletcher began life on Delaware Bay as a patrol boat on commercial shellfish beds.

Anyone know of other wooden workboats?

The most memorable toys might be the ones you made, on the spot, unpremeditated, at a tender age; without knowing any terminology beyond “float” or “sail,” movement is


thrilling, even if some seconds later the game shifted to new rules where said-sailboat became a target for rocks, not malicious ones but rather  “challenge rocks” to determine if  erstwhile handiwork could resist the splashes, rogue waves… following the logic of kids games or dreams.  By the way, the first two fotos here I took yesterday in the mighty Bronx River and its littoral leafshipyards and other historical buildings.


The fotos and story that follow come from Steve Turi:    “swimming at Sandy Hook, we [had to deal with a]  piece of driftwood imposing itself upon us. I gave up trying to send it on its way and brought it ashore.
Nearly a foot wide and about three feet long, straight grained and clear of knots, it sat on the pile in my garage until its shape suggested a few tugboats hiding inside it. The attached pictures

aatoy4 show the results, which I gave to the kids next door. The tugs are about seven inches long. Yes, the eyes in the lines are spliced. No, I have no intention of making any more.”


I agree with Steve that  “their salty provenance lends them a certain kind of belonging to the Sixth Boro.”    As does the slightly touched up icon below . . . blowing almost invisible stream through its funnels and holding course through cloudy seas with irrepressible forward motion.  Below little vessel might need some scraping and bottom paint?


Kids’ toys for anyone below the age of ten score have such innocence compared with the likes of “made off” with their ill-gotten Rybovichs.  Maybe said “made off” could work in the penal bottom paint department?


An update on the toy above, last spring I caught Skat in the Arthur Kill;  last week Skat‘s owner returned from his second trip into space as a tourist . . . rocket toys.

One of MY toy stories made up a December 2006 post here.  At age 7ish, I built boats for my sisters, which they bought for a nickle if they had one; otherwise, a penny would do.  “Boat” meant a piece of wood scrap with one end sharpened with my father’s rasp.  Here’s a toy boat story from chine blog.

Many thanks to Steve for fotos and story.  All other fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Send me fotos of your handmade boat toys . . . not models just toys.

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

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April 2009
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