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Note:  I wrote this a year ago for a print publication, but they’ve not used it.  It’s timely, so here it is in its entirety.  The style is different because of its history and intention.  Here was my post #1 with this title from January 2010.  And HERE was 2.

Line crosses the ice fields covering a chokepoint in the Hudson River like an army tank traversing boulders. The vessel—more than a half century old—pitches and tosses erratically. And the steel hull polishing itself on brash ice—jagged floating ice clumps– is loud, arrhythmic, and almost alarming as the small ice breaker advances through the ice or attempts to, sometimes halting.

“It’s counterintuitive,” said Bosun Mate Chief Bradford Long. “My initial sense was that I was harming the vessel. But it was built for ice up to a foot thick. When it stops, you take care that the rudder position is centered, then power astern before attempting a new track. Having the rudder anywhere but centered could damage it.”

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During an average ice season, some 300 vessels from tug/barge units to ocean-going tankers and bulk carriers navigate the Hudson. During the 2012-13 season, Coast Guard crews broke ice and facilitated movement of 7.96 million barrels of petroleum products and 297,000 tons of dry bulk products in the Northeast, with a combined total value of nearly $2 billion. They also answered 17 official requests for assistance and assisted 37 vessels in need.

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During “ice season” Line is one of three 65’ ice breaking tugs working in conjunction with 140’ Bay-class ice breakers whose missions include keeping key portions of the Hudson River open. The larger ice breakers like Penobscot Bay can handle ice up to 36” thick and work the chokepoints such as Esopus Meadows and Silver Point, while Line breaks ice at facilities such as petroleum terminals and pilot stations. “Commercial operators notify us about 24 hours in advance of their arrival at a terminal. We break up the ice and –if necessary—a 140-footer comes in and sweeps the ice away just before the tug and barge arrives,” says Long.

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WYTL 65611 Line, is homeported in Bayonne, New Jersey, as is its sister vessel WYTL 65610 Hawser. A third sibling WYTL 65612 Wire is based in Saugerties, New York. All three were launched from Barbour Boat Works in New Bern, North Carolina, within two months of each other in 1963, now 52 years ago.

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Barbour also made some classy runabouts, like this one seen in their old boat works, now operating as the North Carolina History Center.

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Jet Lowe took the photo below of the Barbour work tug Sam.  Click here for more pics of Sam by Jet Lowe.  Can’t you look at wooden Sam and see hints of the WYTL design?  And these 65′ icebreakers . . . what will replace them?

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The three WYTLs break ice on a “1 in 3” schedule: one week of Hudson River ice breaking operations, then a second week of patrols and breakouts closer to their homeport, and then a third week of maintenance in port.  Line, currently with a crew of eight, operates during daylight hours only, unless emergency search-and rescue operations dictate otherwise, said Long. At night, the vessel might dock on shore power available only at either West Point or Saugerties, 45 and 90 miles respectively north of the Battery.

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The current season is the first breaking Hudson River ice for BMC Long, whose 14-year career has provided prior Coast Guard ice experience on Lake Champlain and the Bering Sea. Line’s current ice breaking duties include maintenance of the “track” followed by commercial vessels, as well as facilities “break-outs,” meaning the WYTL breaks ice in circular patterns or noses up to a dock and uses prop wash to clear out a possible channel. Line has a single four-blade 56” prop turned by a 500 horsepower Caterpillar 34-12.

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WYTL crew also communicate with passing commercial vessels gathering data on their vessels, cargoes, and encountered ice conditions. That information is shared with the Coast Guard Sector New York’s “ice officer,” Chief Warrant Officer Kary Moss.   According to Moss, “domestic icebreaking operations are intended to … minimize waterways closures during the winter, enabling commercial vessels to transit through ice-covered critical channels.” Moss manages the information generated by the WYTLS, the 140-footers, and Coast Guard Auxiliary Air, or AuxAir “ice patrols.” These latter are observation flights—daily if weather permits—by civilian aircraft from Sandy Hook to Albany to report on and photograph ice conditions and river traffic.   During the 2012-13 ice season, AuxAir made 37 reconnaissance flights. Moss then issues the daily ice report both broadcast on VHF channel 22 and electronically.

Since their 1963 arrival the WYTLs in the Hudson Valley have had a variety of missions, which did not include breaking ice on the Hudson for the first two decades. Line and the other two New York area WYTLs—Wire and Hawser—have unique extended cabins used to accommodate additional crew, including doctors, who would board passenger vessels for inspection/quarantine in greater New York harbor. The WYTLs also moved empty sanitation scows during instances like the tugboat strike of 1979, as evidenced below in the letter of citation from the commandant of the Coast Guard . . ..

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As the winter and ice season of 2013-14 establishes a place in the cold and ice record books, BMC Long and crew feel a sense of accomplishment about their role on this half-century-old boat assisting commercial vessels in getting the heating oil through.

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So here we are 12 months later, and it’s deja vu all over again . . . or something.

Here’s Tatiana Schlossberg’s article from today’s NYTimes on the 2015 icebreaking effort.

 

 

 

 

This photo of Doris Joan Moran that has been circulating on FB this morning.  Sorry . . . I wish I knew who gets the credit for this unusual shot.  Anyhow, it reminded me of a post I did five years ago here.

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Here’s a Doris photo I took last week . . . uncoated.

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So one reaction to the cold is to bundle up, grit your teeth, plod on, complain a little more . . .

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But you have to admit, winter in the northern latitudes gives us new senses of hulls on snow bases, or

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levitating above it.

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Here’s roughly the same angle . . . as I took it in September 2012.

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Thanks to Bob Stopper for the photo of tug Syracuse and to Erich Amberger for the winter photo of Wendy B.  The others I took, except for the top photo, and I’d still like to know who took that.

Uh . . . I just mis-read the FB info on the frosted over tugboat above.  It was spelled j-o-a-n, and I transferred that as d-o-r-i-s.  I’m sloppy sometimes.  Maybe I need an editor.

For the misfortune of all us 25 million sixth boro shore dwellers, it’s cool like below.  Here’s what the the river banks like look for us when Mardi Gras gets scheduled.

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Tugs and buoys carry glaze like this or

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this . . . .

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Even local wrecks (that’s two side by side there) have a glaze that mimics the gleaming white paint they once wore . . . .  And one local water guy whose blog I usually read conveys experiences like these.  Hawsepiper, . . . this goes out to you.

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At these times it’s good to remember we have our own deferred (defurred?) mardi gras parade when we ditch our winter burqas and enjoy the summer solstice warmth . . .

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sometimes even without parasols

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in fewer than 125 days from now.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

Loosely related, click here for a bulk carrier named Mardi Gras and a whole youtube channel devoted for Asian tugs, jetfoils, fireboats, and other workboats.

 

 

Big thanks to John Jedrlinic for this photo taken about 11 months ago . . . .  Jennifer Turecamo and DDG-79 passing alongside although not nearly so close as foreshortening tries to make you believe.

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DDG-79 is USS Oscar Austin, named for the Marine who gave all near Da Nang nearly 46 years ago.

 

An unusual vessel working for a line with an unusual name . . . with  . . . is that Gabby Miller in the background?

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It’s Genius Star VIII, of the Wisdom Marine Group.

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And here’s Laura K Moran, escorting in Durande, with an unusual port of registry on its stern.

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Marseille . . . a place on my “wanna-see, gotta gallivant” list.

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And another . . . by the color it’s Maersk, escorted in here by  . . . Ellen McAllister, I think.

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But look, there amidships . . . just above the word “LINE” . . .

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. . . is that an Oshkosh?

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Damietta!

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There’s never a shortage of surprises in the sixth boro.  All photos taken in the past few days by Will Van Dorp, who has learned of these forthcoming and unusually large vessels on the horizon somewhere.

 

It’s been a while, since 32.

Bowsprite caught Genco Progress headed upriver on Dec 27.  Today the Hong Kong-registered vessel is in  . . . Honduras.

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Here . .  she photographed Oslo Bulk 5 also heading north.  Today the Singapore-flagged bulkier is passing Miami bound for the other side of Florida.

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You might remember a similar photo of Orange Ocean last week from Fort Wadsworth.  Right now the Liberia-flagged juice carrier is at sea bound for the juice port of Santos. Here are some other juice carriers.

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Last Tuesday this Liberia-flagged parcel tanker was in the Kills;  today Stolt Capability‘s in the Mississippi.

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And finally for now, a week ago Honk Kong-flagged MOL Expeditor had lost power departing Ambrose Channel;  today she’s traversing the Panama Canal for the Pacific, and if marine traffic is to be believed, bound for Pangani.  Pangani?  Might someone have punched the wrong info into the device?  Someone’s wishful thinking, perhaps?

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Don’t ask me, I’m just the photographer, as is bowsprite when she’s not an illustrator.  Thanks to her for the first two photos.

 

Thank the verizon gods for internet service after a few more days’ drought.  Click here for previous snowy posts.

I think today was the snowiest day yet in the sixth boro.  So I hope you enjoy watching Orange Ocean emerge from the “particle fog.”

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Orange Ocean is a new sighting for me, bringing in my favorite commodity.

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I missed Donjon’s Yankee leave town this morning, but I did catch Marie J Turecamo pivot Stolt Capability.  Click here to see tug fax photo of Yankee in Halifax a few day back.  Please get in touch if you got any Yankee photos .. . I’m that kind of a Yankee fan.

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MOL Expeditor remianed in the Lower Bay anchorage for some time after losing power on the outbound run last night.  Losing power in the narrow Ambrose Channel must be a terrifying experience.

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Like I said earlier, I missed Yankee, but I caught Frances coming in the Narrows, and passing a vessel with the unlikely name . . .

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Neverland Dream.  I include a link here just in case you don’t believe me.

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All photos today by Will Van Dorp, who is not certain of internet service from one day to the next.

 

0aaaajp10aaaajp6OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA0aaaajp40aaaajp3OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMore photos here from the 4th largest seaport in the US.  The top photo above–if you didn’t recognize it at first–shows John Parrish, whom I saw in the sixth boro back in May of this year.  Type Random Tugs 128 into the search window to see it.

I hope to be back in NYC by December 28.  Happy all the holidays until then.

 

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To see the four Savannah posts from almost five years ago, type “savannah” into the search window on left side of the blog page.  It hardly seems possible that a half decade has passed since the last time I was here.

Anyhow . . . on the road and enjoying seeing these Sun, Moran, and Crescent tugs . . . and all the rest.

 

April 2010 . . . UASC vessel Al-Mutanabbi bound for sea.  It has come and gone through the sixth boro many times.

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Late November 2014, it looks like a new vessel in the UASC fleet, Al Rain.

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Oh! new name . .  same old ship.

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This makes me wonder whether next time Al-Abdaly comes through . . . it’ll be Al Snow?  Named for my friend maybe?

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But seriously . . . name changes happen a lot . . . take APL Pearl . . .

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she of the blotchy paint job.  I saw her pass very near here almost exactly a year ago on a very snowy day . . .  Prior to that, some years back I saw her when Hyundai Voyager was painted on her bow.  In fact, if you look closely around the starboard anchor, you can still see traces of Hyundai blue.

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Take Radiant Sea, just off the bow of the radiant Gramma Lee T Moran.  Last time Radiant Sea was here . . . she was Ashley Sea.

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Whether a name change constitutes a real transformation–Shakespeare would surely say it doesn’t–I did need a descriptor, preferably one that starts with T.

Here’s another:  traveling Tuesday.  By the time you read this post, I hope to be around latitude 29.98°N longitude 90.25°W elevation 4.’  To put it another way, here.   There’s a conference happening there, and my schedule has never let me get there until now, so it’s time to laissez les carpe diem et bon temps router.  Maybe I’ll see some of you there.   I’m NOT taking a laptop along . . . only a camera and notebook.

 

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