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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.”
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.
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.
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.
Barbour also made some classy runabouts, like this one seen in their old boat works, now operating as the North Carolina History Center.
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?
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.
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.
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 . . ..
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.
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.
First time photo of this tugboat underway . . . Stephen B pushing James Joseph. AND first time photo on this blog by Glen Dauphin, whose work I have admired on FB.
If I’m not mistaken, this is the same tug–previous name–and sans upper wheelhouse. I took the photo on New Years Day.
Haggerty Girls and RTC 107, with an assist from Matthews Tibbetts . . . getting underway.
Franklin Reinauer pushing past . . .
Kimberly Poling with Edwin A. Poling, no doubt headed up to where the ice is thicker.
Eric McAllister precedes her.
And finally Pacific Dawn . . .
. . . coming in from Gravesend Bay, where . .
can anyone explain what part of the gas project–if any–they’ve been working on just off Coney Island’s western tip?
Thanks much to Glen for the first photo above. All others by Will Van Dorp.
Many thanks to Pierre Kfoury for sending along this very clever photo in shades of black, white, and gray of Bruce McAllister he took up by New Hamburg, NY. In Pierre’s photo, I like those gray shades and gray reflections too.
More shades of spray take us to Emerald Coast, passing Chesapeake Coast.
Sitting out on deck has to be evidence of a warm heart on a vessel
that will miss Mardi Gras in a warm place.
Frozen spray reinforces the fenders maybe?
The glaze coats the hull with a very light-gray layer.
Even on this vessel with a hot name . . . the icy shading is present. Is it true that this tanker was briefly in port to deliver the love drug –phenethylamine– to those of us crowded on the edges of the sixth boro? A few years ago, this vessel was in the sixth boro with the name Golden Venus; for photos of her and other vessels with fantastic names, click here.
So . . 50 shades of spray? How about 56 or 65 or . . .spray, gray, play . . . ? The number is only limited by the imagination and the eye.
I had gone looking to get a photo of this vessel, but by the time I got to my favorite cliffs, they all have headed to warmer waters. And given the usual fashion of mermaids, I can’t blame them.
Thanks again to Pierre Kfoury for his photo. All others by Will Van Dorp.
Captain Willie Landers from 2001,
Chesapeake Coast 2012,
Eric McAllister 2014,
B. Franklin Reinauer 2012,
and Marjorie B. McAllister . . . the dean today, from 1974.
Wait . . . there’s one more, Lincoln Sea, shot in NYC’s sixth boro in September 2012 and built in Tacoma in 2000. She’s just traversed the Panama and is now back in her home Pacific waters.
Thanks to the Maraki crew for the first photo and to John Jedrlinic for the second. All the other by Will Van Dorp.
Storm Juno was all hyperbole in the five boros . . . not as harsh as in eastern Long Island and southern New England, but it was cold the day after. Nevertheless, Mary Alice and Cheyenne were hard at work,
as was Mister Jim.
The same is true for Barbara McAllister and
Buchanan 1 was at work.
The government boats were out like Liberty V and
Of course, cold means demand for fuel . . and Matthew Tibbetts was moving it , as
was Crystal Cutler.
Joyce D. Brown was moving the railroad and
Treasure Coast had a barge astern headed south. Anyone know what cargo was/will be in the barge?
All photos by Will Van Dorp, who went out to see the sights after the storm.
I gave up sending Christmas cards quite a few years ago, but I do put up a holiday post. I look for festive scenes, and this year my pick was not on a creek upriver, or on a barge on the river. This year’s does not involve Rockettes per se . . . . But right here on our very own Richmond Terrace, I did chance upon what might be an end-of-year dance. I think bowsprite started it and she just charmed the red-clad deckhands
into life! Whatever bowsprite did, the deckhands mimicked! I was so spellbound that I put down my camera and just watched, entranced.
Seriously but not too seriously . . be happy with yours and what you have.
All photos by Will Van Dorp, who wrote this version of 12 ___ of Christmas a few years ago and made a modest proposal here after an inspirational trip to Gloucester. If you need some late gifts . . . or early ones for any event in 2015, check out bowsprite’s online shop here.
Specialist (Texas) is looking good for a 1956 vessel.
Dean Reinauer (Rhode Island, 2013) heads into the rising sun.
Eastern Dawn (Louisiana 1978) passes the hose rack.
Gramma Lee T Moran and Barney Turecamo in the KVK under an unsettled sky.
Caitlin Ann (1961, Louisiana) with tons of scrap.
Patrice McAllister (Alabama, 1999) stands by. Here was how she looked her first hours in the sixth boro.
Neptune (1992, Louisiana) tends the dredge along the Con Hook Range.
All photos taken this week by Will Van Dorp.
A search for a photo assignment sent me to the August 2009 section of the universe, and these photos served as a cold water shock . . . how much stuff has changed in under five years. Crow of course is as “good” as gone, but do you know which tugs are attached to Freedom and RTC 28?
How about Vernon C on Freedom and
Janice Ann Reinauer? In 2009 there was as much demolition happening on the Brooklyn side as is now crumbling on Manhattan side.
And from the same week . . . K-Sea was still in full force here. Where is Greenland Sea today?
And this classic . . . Kristin Poling along with fleet mate . . .
John B. Caddell, which as recently as last week was still awaiting the torches and jaws of repurposing.
All photos by Will Van Dorp.
Oh . . . this could be the first of many time warps.
To pick up where yesterday I ended . . . Chemical Transporter is not a ship. Rather it’s the barge married to–or at least in a relationship with–ATB Freeport.
This Workboat article makes clear the circuitous and costly ($91 million !@#@!) route this 150′ tug followed from keel lay to launch.
I’d love to see the interior of this 2007 vessel.
R. L. Enterkin is a tug I’ve seen on AIS for a long time, but the other day,
I finally got a close-up as she went out to pick up a “tail job” at sunrise.
At the head of the tow was Layla Renee.
Click here for many posts I’ve done on Resolute.
Thomas D. Witte–here passing off Wall Street– has carried many names since 1961.
Zachery Reinauer was launched nearly a half century ago at Matton Shipyard . . . up above the Federal Lock in Troy and right across the river from the boyhood home of Herman Melville.
Ellen . . . focus of countless tugster posts… as
has Brendan Turecamo.
And to close out this post . . . from M. McMorrow . . . the most intriguingly named tug of all . . . Tug of War.
The last photo from Mike and Michelle McMorrow, who’ve contributed photos here before. All others by Will Van Dorp.
Here’s the first in this series. David sent me some photos earlier this week and offered to write the commentary as well. Hence the quotation marks.
“Marie J. Turecamo steam harmlessly through the harbor.”
“James Turecamo makes a splash as she heads towards the Kill.”
Lincoln Sea sits patiently in the notch of the DBL 140.”
“Two displays of heritage in the form of New York State Marine Highway tug Margot and Ellis Island.”
“Herbert P. Brake pushes a scrap barge (possible future additions to her hull?) through the harbor.”
“Crystal Cutler pushes the Patricia Poling as Andrew Barbieri bears down upon her.”
My take: if a waterborne Rip van Winkle had fallen asleep 80 years ago and awakened today, the bridge and the light might be among the very few structures he would recognize.
“Stephen Reinauer steams lite through the harbor towards her next assignment.”
“Ever ready, ever vigilant.”
Thanks, David. The sixth boor’s the star here, IMHO. To post some corny doggerel in Poetry Month “collaboration is the game and “sixth boro” the star’s name!