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First I need to make a correction:  in M2 I stated that Tigre would have traveled through the Panama Canal;  she did not because she worked out of the Peruvian Amazon in the area of Iquitos!  Thanks to Paul Strubeck for the image below.  That would have been an interesting delivery!!

Next, photos and details of the STs Matton built in the first half of the 1940s are detailed in this fabulous site compiled by by Dan Friend.

Now we jump to 1954 and this photo showing a Cleveland 498 engine being lowered into a tugboat simply named Matton, which was reefed in 1990 as Troy.

Moving forward chronologically, William Lafferty has shared these two old Kodachromes taken on a sunny late September 1960 on the Welland Canal and I adapt from his comments:  “The 1957 Ralph E. Matton has entered the lock.  The tug was powered initially by a Cleveland Diesel 12-278, 2100 hp, later repowered with an EMD 16-567C.  It hauled oil barges on the Barge Canal and Great Lakes in the summer, mostly for Seaboard Shipping Corporation and Moran’s Morania division, and fuel oil barges in the winter on Long Island Sound. Its Great Lakes service ended by 1962.” 

To add my comment, the opening of the Saint Lawrence Seaway in 1959 effectively ended transportation of cargoes between salt water and the Great Lakes via the Barge Canal.

“Bart Turecamo  purchased the Matton operation in 1964 and the 84′ x 25′ Ralph E. Matton became the Mary Turecamo and then Albany in 1972 for American Dredging Company of Philadelphia. In 1994 it was sold to Casco Bay Towing Company, Portland ME, where it was dismantled in spring 2007.”

“Following the Matton tug, the 1923 UK-built Keybar was carrying 2600 tons of pulpwood for a mill in Erie PA.    Keybar would then proceed from Erie to Oswego to load coal for Montréal, clearing Oswego 4 October 1960.   The handsome Keybar (look at those windows beneath the pilothouse) was launched 19 March 1923 at South Bank-on-Tees, England, by Smith’s Dock Co., Ltd., for Keystone Transports Co., Ltd., Montréal, a shipping firm organized by the Montreal Power, Heat and Light Company, Ltd., to bring American coal to its generating plants.  Laid up at Kingston ON after the 1961 season, it arrived at Port Dalhousie ON for demolition on 1 June 1963.”

Matton launched Everglades in 1959.     Later, renamed Captain Nelson, she shows up in this submarine assist.   That particular submarine suffered substantial damage in a Kittery ME fire, and was subsequently decommissioned.    

Everglades was Matton’s only tugboat in 1959, and their only one in 1960 was ChallengerHere she is after 1970 as Captain Brinn.    A 2012 image of her in Kingston, St. Vincent as Captain Bim can be found here.     This site claims she’s still afloat, but if you follow the location of her icon, she’s in mid-Sahara Desert, so  . . . uh, no.

Bart Turecamo was the first tugboat the shipyard produced after Turecamo had taken over the Hudson River shipyard. 

She’s still at work in Philadelphia bearing the same name, as seen in my photo from 2010.

After a series of launches for NYPD including the still extant No. 5, the yard released James Turecamo in December 1969, and she’s still works in the Albany area of the Hudson.  Has anyone seen James above the Troy Lock?

July 1971, the yard launched Mobil 1, which in 1992 was renamed Tioga and in 1993 was sold and renamed  Zachery Reinauer, still extant but I’ve not seen her in a long time.

In Sept 1976, the yard launched Largo Remo for Refineria Panama;  it eventually became Tridente and now (?) Vesca R-18.  Click on the photo below for more info.  Largo Remo is an island on the Caribbean side of Panama.

After Largo Remo, the yard produced only three more tugboats or boats of any kind:  Michael (now in Honduras as A. J. Ellis) , Joan, and Mary Turecamo, the latter in March 1983 being the very last.  Mary is alive and still working in the sixth boro, as evidenced in my photo from October 2021.

Many thanks to Paul Strubeck, William Lafferty, and the Canal Society for offer of and use of these photos.  Any errors in information attributable to WVD, and correction of such errors is appreciated.  Changes in font happen because of cutting/pasting.

Remember the Canal Society winter symposium is coming up a week from today;  I plan to be there.  Also, remember the conference in the early fall 2022.

 

Tribute to all things cat?  This one is teamed up with an APE?

 

Yes, Vespa’s APE.

For streets like these in the Viejo Casco, smaller vehicles are just right, but

walking is better.

La Iglesia de la Merced (church of mercy) had a cool atmosphere on a 90-degree afternoon, and when the organist began to play, I could have stayed much longer . . .  1038 pipes!

This was low tide and sea walls look formidable.

Here I turned to the left, looking beyond the “coastal beltway” from the Casco Viejo out toward the causeway, built on 1914 Canal spoils, beyond which is the shipping channel,  where a CMA CGM vessel heads into the Pacific.

On the wall of a marina building in what used to be a US military base, there was graffiti of sorts, a way to communicate,  reminding me of the mail drop on Floriana many miles to the SW.

Indulge me .. one more boat;  Gamboa Express was once Dutch fishing trawler Deo Volente UK-43.  The UK here, I presume, refers to the port of Urk, where I had a strong drink with a relative many years ago in a bar, in a no longer plumb building that dated from ?? the 1400s.   Read the comments on how Gamboa Express came to Panama here.

And let’s end it here with murals of the original canal construction in the administration building, now used by the ACP.  The artist was William Van Ingen,  from Philadelphia.  He was paid by the square foot, so as you might imagine, they are colossal.

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who loved Panama and hopes to go back.

Happy Easter and Passover.

 

File this under “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”  See the two skiffs at the Atlantic level end of the Gatun locks?  And the locomotives along the top of the nearer side of the center wall ?

And here are another set at the Gatun Lake level end of the locks, and again . . . skiffs, arrow, and wind sock.

As to the arrow, here’s the key, from Eric Bauhaus’ fine guide.  Yes, they still function on the 1914 locks.  And see the skiff in the water there?

And right here, earlier this month, the skiff in the water.

As it turns out, the rowboat is the most reliable way to get the messenger line out to the ship so that the wires connecting locomotive and ship can get across reliably.

Here at the Pacific level of the Miraflores lock, a skiff at the ready.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

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.

The sequence now has been US-built pre-2000, Canadian right after 2000, then Chinese with Wärtsiläs, then Chinese with GEs.  Also, bollard pull had gone from 32 to 54 to 61.

The next order of tugs went to Armon Astillero (shipyard) in Spain, the shipyard that launched all the tugs in this post.  Cerro Jefe, like the others in this series is 94.7′ x 44.3′, and uses the GE 8L 250 to generate 6250 hp transmitted via Schottel SRP 2020 FPs for 82 tons of bollard pull.  Here Cerro Jefe heads into Cristobal.

Off the stern of Maran Gas Pericles, an LNG tanker transporting product out of the US,

is Cerro Grande, hanging “cut-style” and serving as an external rudder off the stern of the ship, and

beyond her, that’s Cerro Punta.  The new rules require that LNG tankers are accompanied by two tugs during the entire transit.

 

 

 

In Gamboa, we encountered Cerro Canajagua as she

fell in behind Valparaiso Express, a NeoPanamax container vessel.  These two are escorted through the entire transit.

And finally, in Miraflores Lake, it’s Cerro Pando awaiting orders.  By the way, “cerro” means “hill,” and this class of tugs is named for geographical high points in Panama.  For greater detail on the Spanish tugs, click here.

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

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 a good number of photos so far, but I’d like to see greater variety.  Thanks to all of you who’ve already shared photos.

 

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.

After the US and Canadian newbuild orders, ACP began an order of Z-tech 6000s from China, Cheoy Lee and Hin Lee Shipyards.  The first three to arrive in Panama were Veraguas 1, Bocas del Toro, and Darién. Compared with the Canadian boats, these were shorter, wider, and more powerful.  Compared with other Z-Tech 6000s, they had low wheelhouse,  for work around ships’ flares, and two independent forward winches.  They traveled from China to Panama on their own bottoms, with a fuel stop in Honolulu.

At 89.8′ x 38.2, Veraguas I is rated at 61 tons bollard pull, generated by two Wärtsilä 9L20 engines (4826 hp total) propelling stern z-drives, i.e., ASD (azimuth stern drive).

Here she assists Grand Mercury bound for Pedro Miguel locks right after it transits the Culebra Cut.

Virtually identical to Veraguas I are the next two tugs, also Cheoy Lee and Hin Lee built;  below Panama XIV –escorted herself by three pelicans–maneuvers in Miraflores Lake.  All three tugs date from 2007 through 2008.

And here, Ocean Beauty begins a transit for the Atlantic.  Notice here centering in the lock is provided by tugboat Chiriqui III as well as the locomotives.  The new locks–that’s Cocolí atop the distant hill–utilize tugboats only, no locomotives.

 

Also, in the distance, the two white vehicles are on the road that borders the new “third set” of locks.

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who is 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.  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.

 

Our pilot identified Titan, located in Gamboa,  as “Herman the German.”  Any idea why?

She’s a floating crane, docked along the Canal but still in service.  She was one of four built in Germany for the Kriegsmarine in 1941.  From 1946 until 1994, she worked in Long Beach as YD-171.  And in 1997 she was moved to the Panama Canal.  According to this technical site (with good photos) she has lifting capacity of 350 tons.

Near the Balboa train station  I saw Bucyrus steam railway crane, No. 64, one of the originals from the 100+ year ago construction.

I took this photo from a bus while passing land side of the Balboa container port.

 

At several of the locks, Ohio cranes stand at the ready.  Maintenance on gates and valves is performed while traffic is passing; hence the crane on the lock.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

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