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Maybe you read the title as “unscrewed?”  My autocorrect thought that’s what I intended.  Hmm.  I considered leaving the title that way, but wrestled with the helm on autocorrect and took the title from the image.  I need to crew this blog mechanism after all. 

I’ve alluded to these uncrewed vessels before in this blog, and they’ve been busy and attracted my attention this weekend as well as right now.   Since they show on AIS, I’m just wondering what they look like as vessel/instruments skim the surface acknowledging three-dimensional patterns, capable of observing and being observed. 

Above was uncrewed instrument 15 and below, 19.  Hardly folkloric vessel names?!!  Since robots do not choose their own name, are we the creators that lacking in imagination?  Another interesting detail here is the white print way at the bottom on the right side of image. 15 uses Atlantic Beach as an AIS source, and 19 uses 15.  There’s a hierarchy.

By the way, it appears to be this USV 

Here’s a closeup of the image of 19 on AIS. The wheels on the trailer show scale.

But I learned something, a wider pattern.  It’s this:  wherever thing 15 and thing 19 go, a magenta vessel is there too . . .  Free Time.  Magenta is for recreational vessels.  Below you see her track.

Furthermore, notice that Free Time uses 19 as an AIS source, or at least was doing so when I grabbed that image! A contractor relationship exists there,  I suppose, but I also wonder what to call the crew of Free Time . . . USV command and control officer?  USV commodore?  survey boat tech?  If crew of Free Time rotates through, 15 and 19 can work 24/7.  Here’s a question . . . when they do come to dock, do they dock themselves, get a slip in the water, or are they lifted in/out by a crane?  If so, is Free Time actually a recreational cargo vessel?  It seems also likely a common boat name.

Below is a segment of the track for 19.   In the image below, the intermittent track of 19 intrigues me.

Here was 15 at a slice in time this morning.

All AIS grabs and any errors, WVD, who’s so intrigued by these largely invisible hints of exotic tech in the boro that he’s only tenuously in control of the alleged spellchecking autocorrecter.  This  tech, now exotic, might in 20 or 50 years from now be as ubiquitous as  . . . say . . . ATM machines, which began to appear less than 50 years ago.   And this stereotype of trackless oceans and unplumbed seafloors, parts of them are as mapped digitally as  . . . our own mouths on the dentist’s x-rays. . .

Keep your eyes open and you may see a USV or a swarm of them out there.

And to consider alternate exotic tech, here‘s a story I read recently about kayak-like and lethal applications, and it led me to the long history of USVs.

Full disclosure first, I met the author, Paul Strubeck, around 15 years ago, and he’s been working on this voluminous tome for almost a decade.  We met on a retired diesel railroad tugboat, of course, not either of the ones depicted below.  Over the years, Paul has shared photos and information on this blog.

I’ll tell you what I think about this book in a moment, but first, any guesses on the date, location, and info on the two tugboats depicted on this striking cover?

The rear cover has some Dave Boone art.  Anything look familiar in that painting?

Soon after Paul and I  met, we took this same WHC tour together.  I’m certainly not a packrat, but the fact that I still have the program attests to my sense that it was an extraordinary tour, much narration of which was prefaced “you can’t see any trace any more, but …” because rail marine in the sixth boro is mostly a thing of the past.  What’s not in the past but an immutable geographical fact is that the sixth boro surrounds an ever more densely-populated archipelago that still needs resupplying today, mostly provided by trucks and frustrated drivers clogging highways today, hence efforts like the recent beer run, to name but one.  

Contractors move carfloats today, but at one time rail lines built their own dedicated tugboats, steam and diesel, and the evolution of the latter type is what Paul’s book interprets for us.  These tugboats are mostly gone, and he tracks the disposition of each one, but a few still in use have been redesigned so successfully you might never guess their previous lives.

As I said earlier, Paul has worked on this book for the better part of a decade.  When he wasn’t employed on a  tugboat, he got jobs on the railroad, which employs him now fulltime.  But when he wasn’t scheduled by some employer, he traveled to places where he researched this book in harbors, photo archives, libraries, and museums.   To “unpack” this table of contents a bit, the “Oil-electrics” chapter focuses on  the railroads that switched from steam propulsion to diesel:  first in 1916 the Pennsylvania RR re-powering steam tug Media with a 4-cylinder Southwark-Harris heavy oil engine;  in 1926 NY Central RR built a pair of tugs on Staten Island and named NY Central’s No. 33 and No. 34, and Erie was next. 

Then next four chapters elaborate on the naval architects, the decisions they made, and the tugboats they built.

“What’s inside a tug?” includes nomenclature

 

and specialized information not commonly known to a layperson as well as to a mariner who works on non-railroad tugs.

Documents like this top one from August 1978 demystify the daily/hourly activity of tugboat crew, in this case,  the marine engineer.  Paul brings his tugboat/locomotive perspective to the page.

The book has 266 color photos and 131 black/white, for a total of 397, of which 342 have never been book/web published;  he scanned them from company records, trade literature, negatives, and slides.  Each photo has a detailed caption.  Further, the book has 4 original maps, 22 blueprints/drawings, and 17 documents/advertisements from vintage marine diesel magazines.

There are 11 appendices, including

 

17 pages of Appendix K listing all East Coast diesel railroad tugboats and their dimensions, designers and builders, engine specs, multiple names, and [what I find very helpful] their disposition, i.e., still in use, scrapped, reefed, or other.  A total of 23 railroad companies are mentioned.

On the last page, you learn a bit about the author.  He’s already working on a volume 2, focusing on railroad tugs of the Great Lakes and Inland Waterways.

To me, this book is a delight to read through and a reference for East Coast tugboats.  On my bookshelf, it goes next to Thomas R. Flagg’s book New York Harbor Railroads In Color, volumes 1 and 2, published in 2000 and 2002 but with most information cut off in 1976.  Paul’s book will be a delight for historians, aficionados of rail and marine technology, modelers, urban planners, and the general public with curiosity about how we get stuff from place of manufacture to place(s) of use.

As anyone who releases a book or other work knows, an author does not want to keep a pile of books like this at home.  For info on ordering your copy, click here.  This is not a “mainstream” book you’d see while browsing the all-too-few bookstores surviving these days.  Rather, it is published by an independent railroad-focused publisher called Garbely Publishing.

To answer the questions about cover “photo,” the front cover shows Erie tugs Elmira and Marion  in Hoboken in March 1975. Marion was launched at Jakobson’s  in Oyster Bay NY in 1953 and is being prepared for reefing at this very moment in 2022.  Anyone know details?  Elmira was launched the same year on Staten Island and was scrapped in 1984 after an engine room fire.  The Dave Boone painting shows New York Dock Railway tug Brooklyn southbound on the North River.  Notice the Colgate clock along the right side.  Brooklyn (now Florida) is currently a rebuilt but active boat in the Crescent fleet in Savannah GA.  My image of the boat as I saw it in 2014 is below;  that day I took another shot of the tugboat which appears on page 190 of Paul’s book.

Previous book reviews I’ve posted here can be found at these links.

2021

2020

2017

2014

2012

2012

2010

 

 

 

Thomas A. Feeney tows an unidentified barge, which appears to be wood.

A closeup of the same photo shows the tug is clearly Thomas A. Feeney, the founder of the shipyard that built wooden barges.  Any idea where  Thomas A. Feeney may have been built?  Her fate?  Openings can be seen at the top of the wheelhouse as well.

K. Whittelsey, was built in 1930, scrapped in 2008, and of course there were a lot of stories found in legal decisions–and photos— in between.

Here she transits westbound at lock E-8.  She spent some of her working years as a OTCo boat, a sad few years sunk in Gowanus Canal.

Tug Seneca pushing tank barge Atlantic.  Any ideas on which Seneca this was?  Note the “Observe Safe Boating Week”  banner and the laundry hanging below along the port side.  The gentleman standing on the gate almost appears to be holding a cell phone to his left ear.

This would be the 1907 Eileen McAllister.

Morania No. 9 was built at Matton Shipyard in 1951

 and christened Edward Matton.  Was that upper house removed?

 

I’m left to wonder about the conversation between the formally dressed man-in-black on shore and crewm,an on the boat.  But more important, if this is also No. 9, what happened to then portholes in the wheelhouse?

In 2000, she was reefed off Manasquan River as Patrick J. McHugh as part of the Axel Carlson Artificial Reef.

As I stated yesterday, I have hundreds of these images for not only tugboats but also canal motor ships. Besides these, I’m told the Canal Society has thousands more negatives in storage, yet to be scanned or even inventoried. 

I’m posting these in small batches to elicit what memories and associations are out there.   Although I also post on Facebook to widen the cast, please comment here rather than on FB so that your comments remain with the post, not lost in the FB feed and flow.

As a way to begin working through the cache, I have jumped into this without a thorough plan;  more Conners and Blue Line and Feeney images will follow.  Using the tags, you can link to what’s been done in the past by clicking on a given tag [but maybe you already know that.]

 

I’ve been entrusted with copies of photos from the Canal Society of New York taken by Albert Gayer.  Gayer collected photographic glass negatives and old postcards showing canal-related scenes as you can spend the whole day looking at here.  My favorites include this 1902 bicyclist in Rexford and this 1897 (?) hard hat diver about to descend into Buffalo harbor on a ladder, much as would be done in such a project today.

He also took photos of tugboats and other commercial vessels operating in the what was the Barge Canal, in the 1950s.  If I’m wrong about that or any of this, I expect to be corrected.

For some of these, I’ve been able to locate information.  For example, details on Hustler 

can be found at the ever-valuable Tugboatinformation.com   One unique feature–at least to my 21st century eyes–is her version of an “upper wheelhouse,” which I suspect could be retracted as needed to lower her air draft.   It is my hope that readers can group-source much more about the three boats in today’s post.  

For example, in the photo below, the Oil Transfer Company (Otco) logo is still in the stack.  Otco was acquired by Moran in 1950, yet just beyond the tug is an automobile that looks to be at oldest a 1952 Mercury wagon.  So why is the Otco logo still on the stack?

Next up, it’s clearly Anna L. Conners, a Conners Marine tug, that seems to be undergoing some paint maintenance.  

Here she’s clearly westbound at the top of Lock E-17 in Little Falls.  Anna L. Conners (or Connors) was built at Jakobson in Oyster Bay in 1942 for Standard Towing.  What become of her in the 1990s when she dropped out of documentation as Mid State 1?  Other than lawsuits, I find nothing about Conners Marine.  I’ve found reference in case law to a Conners Marine tug Maple Leaf.  Which other Barge Canal tugboats did Conners operate?  Of course, there’s the still-extant 1881 Elise Ann Conners.

Sagamore was a fairly common name for vessels in parts of the 19th and 20th centuries, and oddly enough, a small (1730 teu) US-flagged container ship, Delaware ported, is currently sailing off Oman.

This Sagamore was part of the James McWilliams Blue Line fleet, a family business that appears to have started in the late 19th century by James’ father, Owen J. McWilliams.  The 1957 Spartan,  also in that fleet, was reefed in 1986 at Sea Girt;  fewer than 30 years in service seems a short life for a boat.  

 Sagamore has more port lights than I’ve even seen in a tugboat. What became of Sachem and Bristol, referred to and depicted in the first link in this paragraph?

I have many more of these Barge Canal tugboat photos from the Gayer collection.  I hope you enjoy filling in more pieces of the history of these vessels.

For more on the Canal Society of New York, click here, or check them out on Facebook here

Parts B, C, etc. can be forthcoming.

 

Below is a variation on the photos I posted yesterday, showing a bit more context to the west.  Let’s recap identifying right to left:  Regulus, Teresa with Acadia, and GLDD tugboat Douglas B. Mackie and dredge barge Ellis Island.  

I’ve posted other GLDD dredges in the past:   Padre Island here, Terrapin Island here, Dodge Island hereGLDD trailing suction head dredges have “Island” in the name, but they are only some of GLDD’s dredging machines.

Mackie is huge:  158′ x 52′ x 27.3′ draft, and powered by two Mak 12M32C-T3, 7,831HP each, turning controllable pitch propellers. The dredge barge has its own power for the pumps.  See some stats here, and more  stats here.

Note the black hull of Mackie and the red of Ellis Island

Ellis Island measures 433′ x ’92, can dredge down to 122′ and has hopper capacity of just shy of 15,000 yd3.  Dredge spoils can discharged through the bottom of the hull over a designated dump site.

She’s been working off Sandy Hook. I believe this is the only ATB trailing suction hopper dredge in the US.

All photos, WVD, who supposes she came in for protection from rough seas;  as of this morning, she headed back out to the work area.

 

This follows such “something different” posts as Whatzit 41 and 39, Something Different 48 and Irene Aftermath 1 and 2.  If you’re not familiar with the color coding, blue is for passenger vessels, pink is personal vessels, and aqua is tugboats.  A circle means anchored or moored and an arrow means underway.   These two groups of five then are passenger vessels, image copies last night about 1800.

In fact, from l to r and if one atop the other, top to bottom, they are Veendam, Zuiderdam, Nieuw Amsterdam, and Volendam.  The other cluster is Anthem of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas, Celebrity Reflection, Celebrity Edge, and Nieuw Statendam.

Green is for cargo ships and red is tankers.  The moving blue symbols (l to r) are Independence of the Seas,  Harmony of the Seas, and Oasis of the Seas.  The blue circles are (l to r) Symphony of the Seas, Emerald Princess, Crown Princess, Island Princess, and Regal Princess.

To add some drama to the top two images, let’s tally up the potential number of passengers on these vessels.  Since I don’t know what the status of passengers on the vessels in the top two photos is, I’ll just give maximum capacity totals, passengers plus crew.  Want to estimate?  How many crew in the case these vessels have no paying passengers?  Answer follows below., but please guess?

Adding to the strange clusters, how about destination given as “nowhere” or

“adrift”.  There are some metaphors here . . .  like this and this.

 

My totals . . .  for the enumerated vessels in the top two photos . . .  at capacity paying passengers . . .  86,535.  And if all those vessels are crew only, there are still 22,331 onboard, folks not earning tips.  If you’ve been on a cruise, which I have not, you can guess the general range of nationalities of these crew and what they do with their money.

As of this morning, the clusters are shuffling.

 

I didn’t plan it, but this past week, I’ve seen a lot of Dann Marine boats, so that’s why this post.

Running against a NW wind, Pearl Coast handles some spray quite handily as she tows Cement Transporter 1801. She’s a big boat:  127′ x 40′ with 5600 hp.  Click here for previous appearances of her on this blog.

Into that same wind, here’s Ivory Coast heading light along the Delaware shore.  Click here for previous posts with Ivory Coast.

 

I believe this is my first time to add East Coast to this blog, although she’s been in the Dann Marine fleet for several decades.

Welcome then.  She’s on the Sugar Express run between Florida and Yonkers. See previous Sugar Express posts here.

And another Dann Marine boat I suspect I’ve not seen before . . . Sun Coast,

inbound at the Narrows.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

 

This post follows on one I did seven and a half years ago, here.

The first photo--Donna J. with B. No. 272— comes thanks to Jed, whose Caribbean tugs you may recently have seen here.   Donna J. is moved by two EMD R20-710G7C-T3 generating 10,000 hp.  Also notable is her fuel capacity of 301,504 gallons of fuel, which if I used the right formula, converts to 1055 metric tons of diesel.

Here are more recent Bouchard units photos starting with Jane A. with B. No. 225 on the North River,

Evening Star passing IMTT Bayonne,

Boys crossing the southern tip of Newark Bay,

Buster with B. No. 255, 

Ellen with B. No. 280 in the same anchorage same day,

Buster and Evening Mist . . . and how about the one to the left?  Guesses?

It’s Doris Moran last week.

Thanks to Jed for the photo of Donna J;  all others by Will Van Dorp.

 

Georgetown is South Carolina’s second largest port.  More on that in a moment, but for now, here’s an intriguing photo from the South Carolina Maritime Museum in town.  Where in New York was this steam houseboat built, I wonder.  In the Santee Gun Club notes, it reports that it took four months to deliver Happy Days from NY to Santee.  And, are they standing on ice here?

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Here’s what I saw of commercial vessels in port.  In the background is

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the now-shuttered ArcelorMittal steel plant.  Beyond the steel plant is International Paper mill, clearly quite busy. The mill grew out of the Atlantic Coast Lumber Company.

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I mentioned the maritime museum:  it’s worth a stop.  Also, check out the Gullah Museum.

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This intriguing artifact is outside, with the story

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here and below.   What’s misleading about the photo below is that the propeller is from the Norwegian freighter Eriksson, which at 285′ was smaller than the whaleback Everett, 346′.

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From Auke Visser, here are many more photos of City of Everett.

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One thing I found surprising about the history of Georgetown is its connections with Maine shipbuilders.

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You can guess how this encounter between the 168′ 506 ton four-master and the 403′ 6026 ton steamer turned out.  Read about the findings of the court in reference to the collision here. Click here for more info on SS Prinz Oskar, which became Orion after the US seized it.

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Will Van Dorp, who’s heading back to Georgetown in the spring, took the photos here both inside the museum and along the boardwalk.

*** Click here for the archive of the “early history of the Santee Club


		

Ellen McAllister first appeared on this blog almost 10 years ago here.  At the time I knew nothing about an entire category of navy tugs repurposed for civilian life.  Here were the two previous posts in this series.

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For a vessel that turns a half century this spring, to my outsider eyes, she’s as good as ever.

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Here she delivers the docking pilot

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before serving as escort to the dock.  By the way, while ROROs like Boheme are underway, is there a panel the seals off this area?

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Here are a few photos of her in Lake Michigan, off Scotland, and then as a single-engine McAllister tug.  I’d love to see more….

Anyone identify the YTB below?  There’s a spoiler if you scroll past, so guess before proceeding.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

taken by Will Van Dorp  January 1, 2012

It’s YTB-786, which did its Navy service in Rota Spain,

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and is now based as Margaret McAllister in Wilmington NC.

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All photos by Will Van  Dorp.

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