You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘North Sea’ category.

Here are the previous posts in this series, showing the removal and disposal of the wreck of the RORO Baltic Ace, which sank after a collision in December 2012.


After more than two years underwater, this is how things appear.












Many thanks for these photos to Jan Oosterboer via Fred Trooster.



The etymology here is “rotte” and “dam,” and as a silly kid, I used to call it “rotten dam,” since silly kids make fun of their heritage.  Rotte, though, is an old name for a waterway in the Rhine-Maas delta.  It is truly a complex port, and thanks to my parents, one where I can speak the language, unlike the case in even more complex ports like Singapore and Shanghai.  In one area of the port, depths can accommodate vessels with drafts of up to 78 feet!  Early on, an important commodity was fish, and fishing boats are still present.  “SCH” on the vessel below identifies it as based in Scheveningen, a port to the northwest of R’dam with a name that’s a veritable shibboleth.   


OD signifies Ouddorp, or “old village.”   Here are the codes.


The bow symbol says it all.  Ouddorp is a small village in the delta.



I’m thinking we’re looking at an old and new version of Maarten-Jacob.



Whenever you take a photo of a vessel in a port, it really is just a moment in time.  All these vessels shared this port one day in late June, but now . . .


Wylde Swan, former steam ship

they’re all either “on the fishing grounds” around Scotland, as is true of Wylde Swan and Sandettie and





or fisheries research vessels (l to r) Tridens,  Isis, Zirfaea, and Arca.


Yes, that vessel is called Isisand has been since 1983.


Here’s Oceaan II  . . . between jobs.


And finally Oleg Strashnov, heavy lifting crane ship, with lift capacity of 5000 tons!  It’s also headed into the North Sea for wind farm support.


Of course, many previous posts have been devoted to the port of greater Rotterdam, like here, here, here, and here. Of course, there are many more.

Again, many thanks to Jan Oosterboer via Fred Trooster for these photos.


Janga Bork is NOT a Dutch fishing vessel, although the unusual (?) hull brings it to the top of this post.  The “L” prefix on the hull identifies it as Danish.

By the way, the aggressive newish spell checker always tries to change my preferred spelling of “sixth boro” to “sixth bork.”  You may have seen some “typos” I missed.  I’m very happy to learn that Bork is in fact the name of lovely Danish seaside town that I must visit one of these years.


For (slightly dated) info on Dutch society and fish, click here.  For a thought-provoking op-ed piece by Paul Greenberg on the plight of US fishing industry, click here.   The “UK” on the trawler below, Sursum Cordo, identifies it as registered in Urk.   Fishing vessels from all over –see Stellendam below–bring their catch to Ijmuiden, just outside Amsterdam.




Huge trawlers like Cornelis Vrolijk‘s  Carolien  . . . of Scheveningen–operate out of here as well.



Here’s sister ship Scombrus.


Smaller trawlers Seagull and Flamingo are sculptural.


The “Z” on Flamingo stands for Zeebruge in Belgium.


In a Den Helder drydock, it’s Grietje Hendrika by the top sign and St. Antonius (Belgian) in raised metal letters below.


No surprise Dr. Maarten Luther is German.


In the town of Haarlem, the fish merchant is one of the more recently built buildings.



In the same square, this take on “blind justice” is a refreshing leap backwards.


Noord Hinder lightship  . . . just over a half century old . . . reminds me of this lightship lost in the South American jungle.



Another restored Dutch steam vessel Hydrograaf  has a name that reveals the mission for which it was launched over a century ago.


I have more, but for now . . .  as the Dutch say . . . Stop.


All photos by Will Van Dorp.

(Doubleclick enlarges fotos.) With a favorable weather window,  tomorrow nightfall may find Wanderbird out the Narrows and at sea, bound for Puerto Rico.    But midday today, she was

anchored off Piermont, off the old Camp Shanks.  More Camp Shanks later.

Captain Rick Miles came calling ashore in the skiff.

At daybreak Paolo and Pitsik bade farewell to Atlantic Basin as

we left  the Basin–where Clipper City and Cape Race remained–and

steamed upriver past a very sleepy version of the so-called “city that never sleeps.”  This morning I had doubts about that moniker.  And with an icy blast coming out of the north, sleeping in would not be such a terrible option, but

for me, the ride up to Piermont–in a wheelhouse listening to yarns from Culebra to Greenland and  smelling soup savors wafted up from the galley–it was sweet.

Thanks to Captains Rick and Karen for the chance to steam upriver a few hours.  Here’s their site.

For folks who want numbers:  Wanderbird‘s Industrie engine generates 510 hp, consuming a gallon a mile while cruising at 500 rpm and spinning a 8″ shaft and a 62″ four-bladed prop.

A great picture book about the hundreds of very similar North Sea trawlers, check out Arie van der Veer’s Van Zijtrawler naar Hektrawler (From Side Trawler to Stern Trawler).  It has hundreds of fotos.  An English-language article with pics on this category of trawler can be seen here.

Check out this blog from Labrador for more info on the Canadian husky above named Pitsik (scroll to August 18, 2010) AND the schooner Issuma (scroll to August 10), currently on Lake Ontario and written about here last month.  Here’s another Issuma post.    For pics of Wanderbird in the Caribbean, check out these by David Blitzer, whom I met on the trip to Piermont.  See info on David’s show at 350 Bleeker Street here.

Fair winds, Wanderbird.

No . .  I’ve been tied up with spring cleaning . . . really.  But the blog needs to break out.  Here’s Davis Sea pushing up the Rondout past Petersburg and Hackensack.

And all the rest here from Paul Strubeck’s lens/flickr account, and all take between 60 and 110 miles north of the sixth boro.  Cheyenne,

North Sea and Lil Rip,



and a government boat, Wire.

And as I post this, here downriver, it FEELS like a thaw, like a hint of spring in January.

Many thanks to Paul Strubeck for these fotos.  Paul works on Cornell.

The google map below has two points marked;  all fotos above were taken between those points.

Back home in the sixth boro!  I would have liked to stay longer in New England, wanted to see much more of the places around the Merrimack where  I spent almost 15 years, but . . . nose away from the perfumes of fish and brine, eyes away from of  beautiful colors of the salt marsh and onto the bright hues and hieroglyphics of large ships’ hull.  (Hmm . . . has Bowsprite been doodling art shapes on this hull?)

Here my new language is familiar, like . . . uh .  .

well . . . Amy C McAllister to starboard escorting

(exactly . .  it was on the tip of my tongue) Sealand Michigan out to sea while

Marjorie B. McAllister shadows to port.

Sealand Michigan, full frontally resembles a seabird, not unlike

the one that glides alongbehind as she passes Romer Shoal Light.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Two unrelated notes:  I have many more fotos from the Trip to Gloucester and beyond to post in days to come.

Sealand . . . besides being the name of the original container company established in 1960 by Malcolm McClean, also just happens to be the name of a micro-nation in the North Sea.  See here and here.

And, if you need an antidote to the blues, go see the movie called Pirate Radio. Here’s a trailer with some good upbeat music.  There once was a Dutch pirate radio on Veronica here and another on Silvretta here.  And many many more.

The sixth boro has had a lot of weather this past month;  Bowsprite‘s drawing and writing about it.  I’m just trying to weather it.  And Andres has arrived.

Hmm.  “Weathering storms”  . . . now that phrase puzzles me.  Storms are weather.  Metaphorical storms that need weathering like illness or loss   . . . what does it mean to “weather” them?  Be a hurricane to a gale and outlast it?  Be an anticyclone to a cyclone?  Uglyships’ very own Zeebart sent these fotos along from the North Sea.  Here  gCaptain writes about waterspouts.


I’m not sure how to describe my attitude toward weather, but I show such profound respect that I might just lack the uumph to weather serious storms or wild seas.   Last summer I met a Croatian sailor who’d just sailed the Gulf of Mexico through Rita.  To paraphrase his words:  “Our container vessel was a plaything tossed by the storm:  what a rush!


I loved it!  In fact, it’s why I work on the sea rather than an office,” he stated, smiling.


From the cliffs of Lower Manhattan, Joel Milton caught this weather, an approaching Jersey storm, downpour over Newark obscuring the Watchung ridges.


Here are some of my weather shots . . .  Mary Turecamo (?) exiting the Narrows for sea.


Newark Bay in April.


Unidentified unit at the Narrows in December.


Summer dusk last year.


Here’s a link to the “eternal storm” over Lake Maracaibo (Venezuela).  All otherwise unattributed fotos by Will Van Dorp.

And speaking of “wild seas and stormy weather,” the latest report from mid-Atlantic says Henry had his foremast carried away.  Read all about it here.

This starts a new series . . . actually all those “random” tugs in the series that went up to 39 (use the search window to trace’em back) were never really random either.  But these . . . this new series . . . I won’t even pretend are “random.”  Like this Pegasus . . . I’ll have to consult with my dear friend of VHF vigilance (or anyone else) to learn how interaction of the airways distinguishes this Pegasus shown here in mid-KVK from the 1907 one.


With the next two I respond to mijn vriend zeebart, the irreverant skipper of a North Sea anchor-handling tug who has looow tolerance for the unusual, especially with respect to necks  . . . or upper wheelhouses.   I’ve never seen this Curtis Reinauer configuration before myself.  Was watch posted  here for unexpected weather or other skyward phenomena?


Bart . . . if you’re going to have fun with what-you-call strange in North American design, at least get some better fotos.  And yin agrees with my yang there.  Were Barbara C. and Robert J. engaging in some peculiar springtime mating dance?


Evening Tide, featured here many times already, sports a swan-mimicking curved neck you should just looove, Bart.


Finally, dedicated to one of the finest wits of the sixth boro, a gent I have utmost respect for, he of the red cap in this foto, the artist who recently sent along a foto he called “sisters of darkness,” of McAllister Sisters on its way to a dawn rendezvous with Iwo Jima, here’s a shot I’ll call sisters of light . . . or maybe sisters of reflection.


More non-random tugs surely to follow.

All fotos here by Will Van Dorp.

Back last September, I wrote about a NYC christening, using bowsprite’s inimitable fotos.  Since I feel another christening approach, here’s a way to do it.  These fotos come compliments of uglyships’ usually irreverent ZeeBart and feature the ceremony for his command.  Smit Kamara, although it currently works the North Sea, was built in Singapore.  As you might expect, the christening blended the traditions of the North Sea and the Southeast Asian waters.

Take one glass champagne vessel and suspend it with Dutch-colored ribbon,


move bladed hand near said-ribbon,


cue up local drummers and a dragon ready to be roused,


snip ribbon,


release these bulbous-headed skinny-tailed vessels into the ether,


and gush!  New vessel begins life halfway round the world from its work.


Sister vessel Komodo followed the same path until the point depicted above, then traveled halfway the other direction toward its territory in northeast Siberia.

So I wonder how this next impending christening will unroll….

Unrelated:  A new logbook page has beamed in from obsessed Henry and the Half Moon headed for Cathay 1609.  Check it out here.

Question:  Can anyone recall ever seeing a Smit tug in or around the sixth boro?  I’ve known the name for a long time in part because of a cousin who worked for them, although as an accountant.  Smit Kamara is SeaBart’s vessel, that’s Bart of the uglyships site, a really subjective concept he has lots of fun with.  Let’s do a walk-around of Kamara while going off on some tangents.


Smit Kamara‘s habitat is the North Sea.  See this remarkable video of storm travel on a North Sea Smit tug.  The foto below shows the “offshore access system,” designed to get people from ship to unmanned oil platforms.


Smit’s history doesn’t go back near so far as Henry Hudson, but it’s quite old nevertheless.  1842 and started by a man named Fop.


Vitals on Smit Kamara:  loa 230′ x 52′ x 22′ and 2460 Kw x 2, i.e., just shy of 6600 hp, built in Singapore.  It was named here three years ago.   Technically, Smit Kamara is an AHTS, Anchor Handling Tug & Supplyship.  She has a winch.  Her sister ships are Smit Komodo and the Smit Nicobar, working in Egypt and Sakhalin, respectively.

As a gesture of ownership, someone saw fit equip the flagstaff with an aftermarket  bowsprite, er, figurehead . . . er . . . figureduckie . . . enlarged in the circle.


So, to return to my question:  has anyone spotted a Smit tug anywhere recently in a port along the western Atlantic?  Does the Donjon-Smit collaboration ever bring Smit vessels this side of the Atlantic?

All fotos compliments of SeaBart aka ZeeBart.

Take his uglyship poll here.

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January 2023