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Yesterday morning some pallets got lifted from a terminal in Hunt’s Point in The Bronx by a Hudson River-based liftboat

to a Brooklyn-based ex-BUSL.  

Meanwhile, a Brooklyn-based crane ship on the hull of a repurposed lube tanker took   

position on the East Side of Pier 17.  

The lift boat Legs III is operated by Maritime Projects LLC, Helen A … by Brooklyn Marine Services, and  Louis C … by Lehigh Maritime.

For what’s going on here, I quote from “Beer Delivery Returns to NYC Waterways After 100 Year Absence“,  a press release from Oak Point Property LLC and Manhattan Beer Distributors,   Hunts Point community leaders, local businesses, maritime advocates, and public officials today cheered the first maritime delivery of beer on NYC’s waterways in over a century. The pilot project, planned and executed by Oak Point Property LLC, Manhattan Beer Distributors (MBD), The Howard Hughes Corporation, Maritime Projects LLC, and Barretto Bay Strategies, with ongoing support from the NYC Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and the Greater Hunts Point EDC, delivered MBD’s six pallets of beer and Brooklyn-born Q Mixers from Oak Point terminal to Pier 17 at the Seaport.

With pallets loaded on its stern, Helen A., a New York harbor workboat, departed the Oak Point shoreline at 10:38 AM EST and reached Pier 17 at 11:38 AM. The Seaport’s operator The Howard Hughes Corporation received the shipment and distributed it to three businesses on the pier, including The Rooftop at Pier 17, NYC’s premier open-air venue hosting over 60 concerts this season.

The pilot is a crucial test of the viability of inter-borough shipping, tidal-assist propulsion, and congestion mitigation through waterborne problem-solving. One of the region’s busiest trucking hubs, the Hunts Point peninsula is criss-crossed by over 15,000 truck trips each workday.”   

“Inter-borough shipping” is a subset of short sea shipping, and in this case, short sea shipping confined to the sixth boro, recognizing that the sixth boro IS the underutilized link between the other five. Too bad “inter-borough shipping, tidal-assist propulsion, and congestion mitigation through waterborne problem-solving” doesn’t easily lend itself to a clever acronym.  IBSTAPCMWPS is quite unpronounceable. Any pronounceable suggestions?

Helen A‘s arrival was in fact timed to ride the tidal current, saving on fuel as well as mitigating the issues of delivery trucks making the approximately 12-mile run. 

Again, this was a pilot, a proof of concept, so a smaller scale cargo vessel is used, understood that you can’t scale up delivery trucks in nearly as many ways as you can a delivery vessel. 

In minutes, Helen A was fast alongside Louis C

The lift began almost immediately, and 

within 10 minutes of docking alongside with the cargo, 

Louis C crew 

lifted the first pallet

and swung it

safely ashore, where hand trucks 

awaited to move the cargo into the coolers. 

What’s next?  “The pilot will gauge the effectiveness and efficiency of waterborne solutions to middle-mile challenges while improving air quality and addressing environmental justice challenges in Hunts Point and other outer borough communities like it. To track outcomes, CCNY’s Grove School of Engineering will collect data from the pilot run and conduct a comparative analysis with truck-based delivery.”  I look forward to reading their report.

The first two photos are credited to Oak Point Property LLC and Manhattan Beer distributors;  all others and any errors, WVD.  

Some previous posts on similar projects include Black Seal , Ceres, and Grain de Sail.



Foto and alert thanks to John Watson, as are the first three fotos of this post.  Genuine Ace arrived here this weekend after having been launched just six weeks ago.  Given that it’s a PCTC, I’ll bet it really has that “new car” smell.  To see where this design is headed, click here .  . lower right.

I’d seen QM2 bunkering a few hours before, but John caught it headed out . . . currently on a flat Atlantic for Hamburg.

Short sea shipping continues in the sixth boro, here with Doris Moran barging containers.  To see where this might be headed . .  now that American Feeder Lines is changing their game, click here . . .   Unrelated, look into the mid-distance and the long-necked tug at the end of the GMD Bayonne pier . . . a K-Sea tug repainted?

Well, here’s how I caught Taurus Friday afternoon!!!

It’ll take some getting used to, but that’s life . . . all getting used to . . .

which is precisely my challenge here . . .   although if you go back to the link just above Doris Moran, the sketch of the tug looks just like Discovery Coast.  By the way, anyone upriver know where Discovery is hauling the dredge spoils from?

Thanks much to John Watson for the top three fotos.  All others by Will Van Dorp, who is on the cusp of having more free time.  That’s the Newport lighthouse in Jersey City creating an additional “jar” to an already “jarristic” set of patterns.

But first . . . Blue Marlin has sailed!!  I went upriver Sunday midmorning, and soon thereafter, she headed for sea.  Actually for Bonny Town, ETA July 4, 2011.  Click here to see what this Niger River delta town looks like, and then you’ll know why they’re buying tugs–like ex-Curtis Reinauer below–and barges.  The link explains the unusual house configuration.  If anyone got fotos of Blue Marlin exiting the Narrows or  wishes to shares fotos of the journey, please get in touch.

Click here for history, economics,  and controversies related to the Niger delta.   The Niger River, 14th in the world in length, flows through unlikely places such as Timbuktu–high on my “gallivant list”–and drains 10 nations.  Name them?

 Yesterday I volunteered on Pegasus for the Riverdale Riverfest.  In fact, Robert Apuzzo just sent this foto; I’m the tall guy in faded blue on the “upper deck” in the gap between the stack and the house.  I volunteer because it’s fun and important.  As “safety officer,” I help ensure no one gets hurt, and since I like to talk, I answer questions.  I’ve noticed people like to see the boats but also their own communities FROM the river.    Ensuring “guest safety” is vital and sometimes difficult;  a tugboat has industrial-strength hazards . . . it moves and steel is hard and forgiving, yet it is a fascinating opportunity:  throbbing noise and vibration, power of invisible prop and rudder and versatile line, huge engine, …

Believe it or not, Riverdale IS in the Bronx!  Therefore, this water too is the sixth boro of NYC.  By the way, in the background are the Palisades on the Jersey side.

Cornell was there also, here coexisting with human-powered vessels (HPVs).   I love to kayak myself, but I suspect people in some HPVs underestimate commercial vessel speed and over-estimate their own visibility.

Spud barge Black Diamond served as a makeshift dock, serviceable but labor-intensive but the popularity of festivals like this illustrates the value of serviceable commercial docks in many more Hudsonsonian towns and cities.  Imagine not only entertainment but also food coming ashore from boats for several reasons including reducing highway congestion.   Vessels in Riverdale included also Mystic Whaler (1967 reproduction of a coastal cargo schooner) and fireboat  John J. Harvey.  Of course, the distinctive red barge is the itinerant  Waterfront Museum, aka 1914-built Lehigh Valley 79.

These festivals showcase the skill of  maritime professionals and, though fun, are stressful and laborious.

Just north of Riverdale is Yonkers.  This foto of Yonkers as a storm chased us upriver in 2010 shows two frequently inquired about buildings on the this part of the Hudson:  the Yonkers Power Station and the “Blue Cube,” which has had lives as diverse as a test lab for PhelpsDodge and a movie studio.

Yesterday a young peregrine (?) feasted on a fish high atop the Power Station.

Traffic headed up and down the Hudson is diverse:  trawler Manitou from Ludington, MI,

MV Universal Amsterdam with a load of sugar,  escorted here north from the George Washington Bridge by Mary Turecamo and Margaret Moran,

trawler Muddy Waters from Miami Beach, FL,

Thomas Witte towing a tall load of scrap metal for export,  and much

much more.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp, except the one thanks to Robert Apuzzo.

This blog has featured Dutch-built vessels permanently in North America before, like Livet (scroll thru a bit) and Golden Re’al.  There’s also a set of posts in September  2009 about a traditional  Dutch fleet transported to the these waters for a long month’s touristic sailing;  scroll through the “archives” on the lower leftside here to September 2009 and you’ll find a bunch, and here and here are fotos of this fleet riding Flinterborg back to Old Netherlandish waters.

Thanks to Rene Keuvelaar, here are more fotos of these American-built vessels that to this day still traffic European inland waterways, whether earning income carrying freight or spending savings gallivanting about.  Raised but unpainted lettering on the two closest hulls identify them as Muscadet (today Cordi Jan of Arnhem) and Corbieres (scrapped (?)  in 1995), hulls # 275 and 270, respectively.

Let me digress here.  Hic et Ubique was built in 1970 in the Czech Republic.  This foto was taken east of Rotterdam in 2005.  Can you guess

the cargo?  Answer follows.  Today Hic et Ubique goes by Vagrant.

Geran was Ingalls hull #276  (1951), originally known as Pomerol.  In 2005, she was shortened

by about 45′ and converted from vrachtschip (freighter)

to woonschip (houseboat).

Her original loa was just shy of 208 feet.

Ontario was hull  #277, originally called


Note the spare prop.

That cargo was sugar beets.  Although the US may still be the world’s leading producer, I’m not familiar with it.

Top foto from Vereniging “de Binnenvaart”  (European Inland Navigation Assocation).  All other fotos by Rene Kevelaar, used with permission.

I’d love to hear from someone familiar with Decatur, Alabama. Again, click here for some info on Ingalls Shipbuilding.  I wonder if the bunker tanker Manhasset (See 1958 here.)  I used to see in the sixth boro is the one built at Ingalls.  I know I had a foto of Manhasset, but can’t locate it.  Here’s Tom Turner’s.  Also, anyone know what has become of Manhasset and Mostank?

Doubleclick to enlarge, and take this in by details . . . name on the forward portion of the cargo deck and house as well as profiles on the horizon.  Surprise at the end of the post.

Consider this different vessel, Alblasserward by name.

Short sea shipping has been figured out in Europe using

vessels like these.  The flag is the Netherlands, and crane lifts the compact car onto the hard and dry when

inland waterwayfaring is done.

Ditto Alabama, the vessel in foto #1.

I hope by now you’re asking why an obvious European self-propelled barge carries a name like Alabama, right?  By the way, a personal connection here . . . my father reported that as a kid, he imagined growing up to be captain of such a vessel in the inland shipping business, aka binnenvaart.

So the surprise . . .  Alabama (1947) and Alblasserward (1949) and many other European waterway barges were built in  . . .  Alabama!  So you’re thinking . . . somewhere near Mobile?  Nope!  Up in Decatur, on that tributary of the Ohio called the Tennessee.  As part of the Marshall Plan.  What’s interesting is that these vessels do not appear on the Ingalls (now part of Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding) record here.

The after and fore part of the vessel were built completely on the yard, living quarters including what was touted as an “American kitchen,”   engine room,wheelhouse, etc.  The middle section was shipped in crates and the engine was installed at the yard in Dordrecht, Netherlands, after traveling the Tennessee, Ohio, Mississippi to New Orleans, and then the Atlantic.    Upon arrival in Rotterdam, the crates and forward section were placed on a barge and towed to the yard, and the aft section was towed to the yard separately.

All fotos thanks to Rene Keuvelaar;  info thanks to Rene and to Jan van der Doe.  Rene runs a web-log linked here.  You might also check a different forum/database called “binnenvaart” aka inland waterway shipping, which in Europe like the sixth boro among boros and states, seamlessly connects waters through different countries.  .  And given that these vessels are still earning their keep, I’d love to hear from anyone who knows, firsthand or otherwise, about construction and transportation of these US hulls to their final destination.  If one of these were brought back to the US, would they be considered US hulls even though they’ve never . . . in over 60 years, worked in US waters?  Europeans in Europe doing short sea shipping with US-built vessels . . . who knew?!@!!

More on this soon, I hope.

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