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This collage of orange and blue indicates that something unusual approaches . . .


0846 hr . . .








Atlantic Salvor might have been headed out on a long range mission, but


at this point, I realized this mission would begin in the Lower Bay of the sixth boro along with


lots of other vessels, although




something new this year was the escort of four commercial tugs:  Sassafras, Miriam Moran, 


Atlantic Salvor, and Normandy.   1150.    I was happy to find someone to talk to.


It’s fleet week NYC.  Welcome all.


It’s USS DDG 96,


HMCS D 282,


WMEC 911,


HMCS MM 700,


HMCS MM 708,


LHD 5,


DDG 99,


and LSD 43.


At 1216, Eric McAllister joins the welcome party . . .






WLM 552.


An E-2 flew by too.




The message on the port wheel well ((?) amused me.


All photos by Will Van Dorp.

Here was last year’s arrival.


Uh– . . .actually the fleet had already entered through the Narrows, but look just to the right of the Brooklyn-side pillar . . . like disembodied fingertips ready to pluck VZ’s strings . . .

a fleet of the air . . . Hornets and

Ospreys and a single

Dolphin.  I understand the importance of the color, but I think of a clownfish whenever I see a Dolphin.  And those streams of water . . . FireFighter is pumping them out its monitors.

Later . . . Philippine Sea gets

assisted into its berth

on Staten Island.  By the way, the summertime haze here exists in 92-degree heat.

Between the bow of CG 58 the fendering of Catherine Turecamo, there’s  . . . protection.  In my layperson’s terminology, I’d call it a sheet.  Does it have a more technical name?

Between Robbins Light and Brooklyn, that’s Campbell.

Yes, I must “get the hang” of video, but enjoy this snippet.  A shot from the shore battery can be heard at 9 seconds, and Iwo Jima‘s response . . . just after the puff of smoke . ..  around 16 seconds in.  I’d stationed myself such that for its first three shots, Iwo Jima was obscured by the bridge pillar.

Tomorrow before dawn .  . I’m headed up to New Hampshire .  . . back in a week or less.  No offense intended, but sometimes I must balance the sixth boro waters and shorelines with canoes, woods, beavers, porcupines, songbirds and songfrogs, fresh fish ….  the list could go on.  I’ll bring foto evidence.

On a happy note:  In May 2008, I lamented here the fact that the NYTIMES had nary a word about the fleet entering the city.  Today the top center foto was of Iwo Jima here.  Bravo the New York Times . . . maybe they’ll rename the paper as the “all six boros of NY Times.”

FireFighter at the Narrows, Fort Wadsworth side . . . rainbow effect of spray . . . must be doins’  … big stuff going on or about to . . . .

Waiting on the Fort Hamilton (Brooklyn)  side, I espy a huge shape some five or six miles off, here between FDNY’s not-yet-in-service 343 and the venerable Driftmaster.  Iwo Jima (Mississippi-built) has returned!  See fotos I took on board last year here.

The first fleet vessel through the Narrows was PC-4, Monsoon, Louisiana-built, commissioned in 1994, here passing Ellen McAllister.  Scroll through this link to see a sampling of  fotos of Monsoon‘s adventures.

Next visitor in was WMEC 909, Campbell, the sixth cutter to bear that name, here with helicopter above and USACE vessels all around, from left, Moritz, (I believe that’s the stern of Dobrin … barely visible), Driftmaster, and Gelberman.  Campbell’s homeport is Portsmouth, NH.  See a previous appearance of Campbell on this blog here… last foto).

Next in, sibling of Monsoon . . . was Squall, commissioned in same year and state.

As Iwo Jima approached the Verrazano Bridge, a gun salute from Fort Hamilton drew

Iwo Jima‘s response.  By the way, the bit of land on the lower left side of the foto above is Hendrick’s Reef, on which the Brooklyn pillar of the Verrazano Bridge stands, an island that from 1812 until 1960 housed Fort Lafayette.  I wonder which Hendrick that was.

Ellen McAllister followed Iwo Jima in.  Is that Catherine Turecamo over on Iwo Jima‘s port side?

Next in was DDG 95, destroyer James E. Williams, named for a sailor who served in both Korea and Vietnam.  Read about her namesake here.

Then it was FFG 45, frigate De Wert, named for a sailor who died in Korea in 1951.

And then Bath, Maine-built CG 58, Philippine Sea.

Closer up . . . I can’t identify the Coast Guard 47-footer other than 47315.  By the way, see this type vessel’s capabilities as filmed in the mouth of the Merrimack River in all its fury.  The Merrimack was my obsession during part of the 80s and all of the 90s.

I didn’t see where Miriam Moran assisted (probably up at the Hudson River passenger terminal) but a while later I caught her headed to home base as Laura K. was out to Red Hook for an assist.  Check out the two crew on the afterdeck.

Hmm . . . I wonder what the story is.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

By the way, “Government Ships 5” is the short title;  a longer version is “Their crews and all those sixth-boro based supporters.”

Welcome to New York.

A century ago, a parade of ships featured the Cruiser Olympia, now in very real danger of being reefed.

Staten Island Live has an excellent schedule of events planned the next few days on Staten Island, where most of the fleet vessels are berthed.  See the schedule here.

Final note:  I plan to cross the Merrimack aka “merry mack” tomorrow headed north for some canoeing.  See foto here.  The Pow Wow flows into the Merrimack.

A little more watercolor from yesterday . . . the rainbow injects magic into what otherwise might just be distant Brooklyn waterfront, Clipper City, and a Staten Island ferry.

Here’s what creates the conditions for a rainbow.

Color on water, this time reflecting a certain survey boat with unique paint loss patterns.

You will notice an apparent repetitiveness in the next set of fotos of Frying Pan over at Pier 66 Maritime–my favorite place on the Manhattan waterfront, except not

really.  The evanescent colored shapes so took me that I just keep shooting as

Harvey‘s propwash made ripples and

swirls and pulsations and

teases, glimpses of  LV-115 Frying Pan‘s chartreuse hairy nether parts.

All was fine until I imagined what other situations exist that colors the

waters this living red or

rusty, risky brown .

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

in other words, the newest, pumpingest FDNY boat, which–if it serves as many years as Firefighter has–will be in service beyond 2080.  343 is the vessel facing in the lower left, the one not spraying yet.  The year 2080, now that’s a world I cannot imagine, but as to today’s welcome . . . enjoy the fotos.

Just the facts: one of two, designed by Naval Architects Robert Allan LTD.  The pressurized cabin offers protection against chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear contamination.  Dimensions:  140′ x 36′ x 9′ with four 2000 hp MTU diesels.  Screws are approximately two-meter diameter controllable pitch Hundestedts.  Crew of seven.  Top pump output:  50,000 gpm.  Price tag:  $27 million.

Many thanks to and the John J. Harvey for my ride.  Click here for google images (including bowsprite’s)  of the Harvey, and here for info on Jessica Dulong’s book, in which Harvey plays a pivotal role.  Harvey cranked up her own water display.

Our Lady (herself once damaged by a terror explosion in 1916) offered her welcome, and

rainbows arced hither and yon over the sixth boro, here created by John D. McKean.

The forward ballast tank allows 343 to lower the bow into the water to ease people transfer.

Once past the Statue, she passed Ellis Island and then

headed over toward Lower Manhattan, where

she paused,

placed a wreath for the three hundred forty-three firefighters who died in that event back in 2001, before

the three large FDNY boats diverged, here left to right, 343, Firefighter, and John D. McKean.

Welcome.  No one knows what events she faces.  I wish her an uneventful and boring life.

All fotos, Will Van Dorp.

For old salt’s perspective . . . click here.

For video of her launch at Eastern Ship Building in Panama City, Florida, click here.

Just the facts:  Firefighter entered service in 1938 designed by Gibbs and Cox (who also designed the SS United States and the LCS)  . . . to last and last and last.  And she has.  Firefighter is not only the oldest active-duty FDNY vessel but also

she who can deliver the highest gpm (20,000) through her pumps.  One of Firefighter‘s finest moments occured in 1973 . . . after the collision of Sea Witch and Esso Brussels. just north of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.   See great text and  fotos of that accident here.   Salvaged portions of Sea Witch live on in Chemical Pioneer, still a regular in the sixth boro.  See her (Witch Pioneer) stern in this tugster post from a year ago.

Dimensions:  Built in Staten Island.  134′ x 32′ x 9′ with twin 16-cylinder 1500 hp engines.  gCaptain wrote about it here.  Watch a very informative 18-minute video here.

The Rolls-Royce of fireboats . . .

All fotos by Will Van Dorp in early March 2010.

If you’re still in the mood for video, you might check out this new site for cruiser USS  Olympia (C-6), featuring new reels of the battleship parading up the Hudson with Dewey on board in 1899, post-Battle of Manila Bay and Spanish-American War.  The second newsreel has the best video, 1899 technology.    Olympia today is is ship in trouble.

Note: listing Sichem Defiance fotos at end of post.

Last week on New Year’s Eve I had on two T-shirts in the 66 degrees; three days later the temperature there dropped to 17, warmer than it was this morning in New York’s sixth boro.  But does that stop work?

No way! Torm Margarethe arrives and

Doris Moran heads out for the assist.  See a video of a high-pressure assist from a Belgian tug here.

Less than an hour later the duo heads for the Kill Van Kull.  For outatowners, the tall building in the distance just forward of the bow is the Williamsburgh Savings Bank Tower aka the Willie, built in 1927.

Another landmark in lots of my fotos (here just beyond the bow) is Jrsey City’s Goldman Sachs Tower, which lacks a nickname as far as I know.  Anyone offer one?  The architect was Cesar Pelli, who also designed Petronas Twin Towers in Malaysia.  The Empire State Building is visible also.  But I digress;  perhaps my brain froze

as did the extremities of these crew.  Cold weather–not a time you want things to go awry, but

something went amiss with Sichem Defiance, where a tank blew, calling for the attention of emergency responders and

this list, and

then even more responders.

Hats off to the responders!  Hats off twice for the quick response.  On second thought:  keep the hats and gloves on, but nice job, guys, and thanks.

For the fearless-of-frigid-foundering friend called Bowsprite’s  post about ice-breaking on the Raritan River, click here.

All fotos fresh from the deep freeze by Will Van Dorp.

No matter what the posts are this week, the backdrop is that around this time  three years ago I started this blog.  Now nine hundred fiftysomething (!)  posts later, the greatest gratification for me is the  sense of community I’ve gotten from my work.  I feel it!  Thanks to all who’ve read, commented, contributed info and/or fotos, and lurked.  If you’ve only read and lurked, great although I’d love to hear from you too.

Recent traffic has been heavy on Grouper, a 1914 tug that languishes upstate along the part of the Erie Canal where I grew up.  Click here for the details.  Anyone need a project for a mere $26,000?  I took the pic of Grouper in early November 2009, less than three weeks ago.

Fire Fighter, to date FDNY’s unit with the greatest gpm output,  cuts an impressive profile as she cruises Gravesend Bay.

LORO Baltic Mercur has an intriguing silhouette.

An unidentified tanker disappears out the Ambrose, way beyond the bow of barge Charleston.

Uh . .  Brendan (3900 hp), who are you trying to kid?  You’re no stand-in for Pati R, (5100 hp), at least from a “see-over” perspective even with your telescoping house.

And what you do NOT see in the offing of the sixth boro, large fishing vessels like this one, a midwater trawler like Challenger.  This foto was taken off the east end of Cape Ann.

A front page story in today’s NYTimes links Challenger and Brendan Turecamo, in a manner of speaking:  a guy catching a 157-pound bluefin from a kayak that weighs less than 30 pounds,  human-powered although it had to be registered as a motor vessel for him to get a tuna license,  Check it out; tuna have impressive bollard pull.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Here’s a herring song to hold you over til my fishing post:   version a and version b.  I prefer b.

Note:  Although I like assembling/looking at a random set of fotos, I’m aware that each one tells at least one good story . . .  only problem is that I don’t know the story, the very one that in fact I should.  These common unknowns overlay the pictures with a sense of mystery.  Maybe seeking the mysterious and exotic is why I keep doing this blog.  Of course I also do it because it completes me.

The last in the series includes the short video below and

focuses on some of the folks in the harbor this quite windy Monday morning, including McAllister Brothers and


Sea Knights (thanks Jed for pointing out they weren’t Chinooks) as well as


a Schweizer-300 carrying an intrepid photojournalist and fine pilot.


RB-S boats were hither and


and yon.


Waterfront Commission police have a boat named Rev. John M. Corridan,  the priest featured in On the Waterfront!!


Here’s a closer shot of the NYFD units set up at 130th Street in Manhattan.


Once LPD-21 was secured on the south side of Pier 88,


the local Navy League Council distributed bags of delicious grub to those employed either public or


private.  The Navy League seems to have an impressive mission.


Once Sturgeon Bay was secured back at home port, time for  . . .  shore power!!


All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

OK, as Jed points out in his quite elaborate comment (thanks, Jed)  . . . it’s PCU (pre-commissioning unit) New York for a few days yet.  By the way, by the count of A. G. Sulzberger, this new New York is USS New York number seven.  Might it be that the cost of the previous six combined is less than the cost of this one, comparing uneven dollars?

Behold Sturgeon Bay, the generosity of whose captain and crew made these fotos possible.


Looking through my fotos prompts a thought on this ship welcome and our group identity.  We all have competing identities, and obviously this dozen plus one fotos taken over five hours were deliberately selected, but see where they lead you.  I’ll share my ideas at the end.

Sturgeon Bay, one of nine WTGBs,  receives a small boat long the starboard side while outbound to meet . . .


LPD-21, which here heads north toward a water welcome and past


Our Lady of the Sixth Boro (and so much more)


and soon to pause across from North Cove (fantastic images here).


After heading north as far as the GW Bridge, LPD-21 turns and


makes its way close to the bank near 130th Street where another water welcome awaits.  Later,


an escort follows on the Jersey


side as  (Note:  PT728, DCV Gelberman, and tug Miriam Moran in foreground;  color spray from John McKean 1954)


LPD-21 crew enjoy the NYC and sixth boro greeting and sunny weather as


the vessel is made fast.   Ellen McAllister and Rosemary McAllister here prepare to depart for their next job.)


Refueling begins


almost immediately from barge delivered by Houma.


To say the fire departments were intensely involved in this welcome–as evidenced by both my fotos and those on the New York Times slideshow– is an understatement of huge proportions.  And of course reasons go directly back to that horror less than a decade ago that underlies everything about LPD-21’s existence.  And I certainly honor the Bravest.  I was happy to see you present on both sides of the River, all over the sixth boro.

And this is not to undervalue the efforts of all those folks working on the water yesterday in whatever capacity (public or private)  as part of ensuring that the welcome was appropriate.  This harbor enthusiast thanks you and all other of those working on the water.

Welcome to New York.

Here and here are a few articles about Lt. Scott Rae, commanding officer of Sturgeon Bay.

All fotos here by Will Van Dorp.

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January 2023