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I’ve mentioned before about my people the Dutch celebrating “old years day” on December 31.   As the child of immigrants, I’m blessed by this one of many ways they see the world differently, a perspective I’m happy to share.  So here is a retrospective of the year, the result of a process of scanning through photos in the blog library, not overthinking it.

January.  Gunhilde Maersk with James, Kirby, and JRT plus Miriam Moran.  the year of the 1200-footers aka ULCVs becoming commonplace in the sixth boro.

February.  Ocean Henry Bain serves as a safety boat during  the ice canoe race I documented in my Carnavalons posts.

March. Cerro Grande here escorted a Caribbean-bound LNG ship, one of all the Panama Tugs posts

April. When I saw this section of drained canal bed between O-6 to O-7 in Oswego, I thought the work’d never get done before the season began, but I was wrong.  Of all my 2018 NYS Canals posts, this and this posted with the greatest urgency.

May.  Reliable pushed seaward by Lucy H.  As of today, Reliable lies under the sea gathering fishes and entertaining Davy Jones near Shinnecock.

June.  Jay Bee V headed out on a high-profile mission.  Has she returned to the sixth boro yet?

July.  I missed Rosemary‘s christening because that’s what happens when you don’t look at your calendar. First come first serve for a few tugster lighthouse calendars.  Send me an email with your mailing address.   As I said, I ran a few extra when I made up my Christmas gifts.

August.  Kimberly Selvick with AEP barges was one of the treats I saw in Calumet.  This day south of Chicago planted a seed of curiosity about the Lake Michigan/Mississippi River link I hope to be able to explore in 2019.  Many thanks to Christine Douglas.

September.  J. W.  Cooper delivers a pilot in Port Colborne at the Lake Erie end of the Welland Canal.  Because I hadn’t a satisfying enough fix from the canal earlier, I returned there in October.

October.  One Stork, a pink ULCV,  came into town.  It wasn’t her first visit/delivery, but it was the first that I caught.  She’s currently in the sixth boro.

November.  Morton S. Bouchard IV rounds Shooters Island light, Bouchard celebrated a big anniversary this year.

December.  Ruth M. Reinauer heads west into the Kills in December, the start of heating oil season.

And that’s it for the year, time for me to securely lock up Tugster Tower and prepare myself to meet 2019.  The older I get, the more profound is my awareness that although I make many plans for a new year, I might not see the end of it.  It’s just how it is.  Every day is a blessing.  Last year had my own personal ultima thule; I pray that 2019 brings its new ones.

Thanks to everyone who read, commented, and assisted me in 2018.  Happy and constructive new year day by day to you all.

I’ve been holding on to these photos until my article came out online, which happened yesterday.  You can read it here. For sixth boro watchers or astute followers of this blog, what do you notice about the vessel–Maria Energy–centered as it enters the chamber at Cocoli?  Answer follows.

 

 

What Cerro Ancon is doing above, and Cerro Grande below would be done by locomotives, aka “mules” here and here in the 1914 parts of the Canal, still functioning of course.  Originally these locomotives were made–where else?–in Schenectady.  Here’s a then-and-now look at Canal locomotives.  The current mules come from Japan.  Here’s more.

 

The switch to tugs only involves, as you might guess, some familiarization, which is the topic of my next article, not yet out online.

The photos above and below show more differences between the 1914 locks and the ones that opened in 2016, referred to as the “third set.”  The new gates roll and the water saving basins do just that . . .  saving 60% of the water for each lockage.

In the distance beyond Maria Energy, you can see ships in the Miraflores locks.

 

All photos by Will Van Dorp.  And the connection with the sixth boro?  Maria Energy is part of the TEN fleet . . . which includes the handymax tanker Afrodite.

 

 

With all the dredging in the Canal, you’d expect spoils hopper barges, and

sure enough, we met several.  Cazalla is a 2012 product of SIMA Peru, Chimbote shipyard.

Barge 852 pushed by Gorgona I,

which I believe is an older boat.  But I’ve been unable to find any information on her age or provenance.

Culebra appears to be the same design as Gorgona 1.  Here she works a spud barge over

near the Gatun Dam, which regulates Chagres River flow to create the Lake. Nor have I found any info on the smaller push tug there, Quail.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

Rio Indio could have been grouped with yesterday’s post because it’s a Z-Tech 6000:  ASD with 4826 hp Wärtsilä engines with azimuthing 7.8′ propellers in Kort nozzles, generating 61 tons of bollard pull.  I include it here for contrast with the rest of the boats in this post.

Calovebora came out the next year (2010) with an upgrade:  it’s an ASD (azimuth stern drive)  Z-Tech 6500, larger propellers and slightly beamier than Rio Indio, with a 12V228 GE power plant generating 5845 hp and 65 tons bollard pull by means of Schottel SPR 1515 FP units.  The GE power plants were produced in the big small city of Grove City, PA . . .  Pennsylvania.

Farfan is basically a twin of Calovebora, as are all the other boats in this post.  This photo was taken at the dredging center in Gamboa.

Belén also is a 6500.  Most of this series is named for Panamian rivers: Belén was discovered by Columbus, who also then discovered that the existing population were not hospitable to outsiders who gave signs of settling.

Dolega as well is fleet mate of the other 6500 boats.  Here she’s made up to a mooring in Gamboa.

Morning Claire was US-bound when we met her in Gatun Lake on March 5;  yesterday she arrived and departed the sixth born.  Her “slow” arrival is explained by the fact that she stopped at a half dozen ports on her way here, and as of tomorrow, she’ll be in Boston.

Providing a “cut-style” assist to Morning Claire through the Canal is Sajalices, another Z-Tech 6500.

And our last 6500 for this post is Parita 1, product of 2011, whom we met at Atlantic Ocean level the morning we were headed for Gatun locks.

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who alone is responsible for any errors in info here.

And remember, I’m still looking for photos of helm seats, captain’s chairs.  I’d like to do a post on them.  I’m looking for the full range:   luxurious to decrepit or basic or high-tech.  Email me a photo of the chair and identify the vessel. You don’t need to be sitting in it.  I’ve got photos of three seats so far, but I’d like a half dozen before doing a post.

Before 2000, the Canal was operated by the Panama Canal Commission; beginning on January 1, 2000 (Y2K), the Commission was replaced by the Panama Canal Authority (ACP).  It appears the first tugs purchased by the ACP were from Canada, specifically from Irving Shipbuilding.  One was Colón.  It arrived in Panama in late 2001.  

We encountered this tug near the Atlantic Bridge project, which will span both the 1914 locks and the latest set, Aqua Clara on the north end.

Compared with the US-built ones in yesterday’s post, the Canadians are about 5′ longer and 2′ wider. Colón is rated at 54 tons bollard pull generated by two Deutz SBV-8M-628s produced 4400 hp transmitted by Schottel SRP 1212s with Kort nozzles.

Coclé, shown here in Miraflores Lake, was the other tug in that contract.

Herrera, shown here assisting a bunker from the Miraflores lock to the Pedro Miguel, fits the same dimensions and arrival time in the Canal, although I’ve not sure how to explain how the Irving order went from two to more.

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who offers more tomorrow.

 

Recent tugboat building contracts at the Canal have gone to Chinese and Spanish shipyards.

What I did was look at all the (ACP or Panama Canal Authority) tugboat photos I took–and only those–and classify them by age and provenance.  The photos below were the US built tugs I saw, all three built before 2000.

Guia, below, is the oldest tug I saw.  She was built by Houma Fabricators in 1987.  Full specs are here, but she has 31 tons bollard pull, powered by 2 EMD 645-E6 for a rated 3000 hp and Voith-Schneider cyclical propulsion.

Unidad, from Houma Fabricators,  is a repeat of  Guia.  At least five others were built and are active.  The line in the photo is between the tanker and a mooring.

 

Cacique came from Halter-Moss Point, 1997 for the Panama Canal Commission.  Full specs are here.  She has a bollard pull of 32 tons from the same power plant as Guia.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

 

The “enlargement” of the Panama Canal involved a lot of dredging in Panama, as well as in ports served by the Neopanamax ships:  deepening approaches, widening channels, and even eliminating islands in part or whole in Gatun Lake.  I put the ” ” there because it’s more accurate to say “creating a third set of locks,” two sets were built a century ago.  To illustrate click here;  in the fifth photo, Atlantic Polaris is in set 1, and Nord Snow Queen in set 2.   Try again, in the same post, the fourth photo from the end, Bow Summer is in the first set, and Ever Dynamic in the second.   The third set construction site was visible back in 2012 here in the fifth photo, on the hill beyond Water Phoenix.

To dredging then, on the Atlantic side, DEME is busy with a fleet

that includes D’Artagnan heading up the efforts, a cutterhead suction dredge that can work down to 114.’

A category I’d not seen before is a self-propelled hopper barge, such as Pagadder and

Sloeber, although the latter was behind a dock that obscured most of her.  On the photo above, see the split midships on the bow;  that’s how she bottom dumps, as a dump scow would.

Quibian I is Panama-flagged and working in Lake Gatun, which is really the dammed up Chagres River.

 

The tenders alongside include (far to near)  Diablo, Espada, and Diablo II.

Drill barge Barú, proudly christened in 2006,  is one of the dredge-related vessels operating near the Culebra Cut. Barú, named for a Panamanian volcano, seems an appropriate name for a vessel whose mission is to drill holes so that charges can be set.   Back in 2012, I got these photos of charges detonated after being set deep by Kraken, over in the Arthur Kill.

The tender above and below is Chame II.  She followed us toward Culebra Cut while she was on a run to load more explosives.

Over on the Pacific side, dredging is performed by Jan de Nul, a Luxembourgois dredging firm.   Filippo Brunelleschi ran day and night dredging the Pacific side approaches;  a trailing suction hopper dredge, she can operate down to 124 ‘!  To digress, I’m not sure which tugs were there off the stern and in front of Taboga.

Not surprisingly for a European firm, Jan de Nul (JDN)–like DEME–uses self-propelled split hopper scows.

The two here are Magellano 1800 above and Verrazzano 1800 below, both flagged Mauritius (Port Louis) like the JDN tug we saw here.

And finally, that’s Filippo B in the distance coming back in toward the Pacificside locks, passing Maggie M.  I’m not sure why Maggie M was anchored here.

All photos by Will Van Drop, who suggests these places to celebrate the green saint’s day.

 

A to P, being Atlantic to Pacific, beginning in Limón Bay–the Atlantic side of the isthmus:  it has a lot of ACP boats, and I’ll focus on those later, but for now, let’s sample the others I saw on the trip across the Bay to Cristobal.

This one on the hard in Shelter Bay . . . all I tell you about it is that it’s a Damen Stan Tug 1606 registered in Port Louis and likely operated by Jan de Nul Group, which has huge dredging interests in the Canal;  I’ll post photos of dredging soon.  Port Louis . . . would that be Grenada?

Choroy was built in Singapore in 1997.

The colors here in the port of Cristobal are perfect.

SST Portobello, built in Vietnam and the Netherlands and arrived here last year, bears the name of a Panamanian port recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

SST Yagui is a 2011 build, flagged Mexican, or was at one time.  The prefix SST could represent SaamSmit Towage.

Smit Aruba (2006) has been painted in Saam Smit colors.

I believe that says Choy Lee, which suggests the owners of this small tug want to be associated with builder of a class of  ACP tugs. 

Choy Lee‘s partner on the job is Thelma S. 

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

Tugster robots have done most of the work around here the past week and a half as I’ve transited a continent, in the skinniest possible location, starting from old Fort Sherman . . . past the Toro Point Light

hightailing past some toothy denizens

and fuel boats and

avoiding treacherous reefs of Limon Bay

to rise up across the continental divide

past the signs and

cut through that divide and under the 100 years’ bridge

and down to Pacific level.  This shot shows the entrance to the Miraflores locks to the right and the the new Cocoli locks to the left.

Turning Pacificward, that’s the islands of (l to r) Tabogilla and Taboga, where Gauguin recuperated.

We anchored in a bay just off the Flamenco Island signal station.

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who has hundreds more covering the transit and gallivants at either end.  By the way, the first ship I saw at Gatun was NYK Daedalus, a sixth boro regular.

 

or peazey-teasey?    Tamesis— thanks to Brian DeForest for this photo–was built in 2000.  And what is Tamesis?

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Topeka, with a slightly different design, dates from 2006.  In the Topeka series, there are at least 10.

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Here Topeka has the stern ramp down in Bayonne.

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Turandot dates from 1995.

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Tortugas, seen here Pacific bound on the Panama Canal, began service the same year as Topeka.  This series is powered by a 17750 hp Mitsubishi plant that looks like this.

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To see how this design has evolved over the better part of a century, click here.

For previous tugster posts showing PCTCs, click here and here.    And see Tortugas leaving coastal Colombia here.

Thanks to Brian DeForest for the top photo.  All others by Will Van Dorp, who dedicates this post to bowsprite, who offered this version of a Tortugas’ sister here in December.

 

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