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For some context, by this time this scheduled post appears,  I will have completed step 4, and I’ll come back for all the other NOL river sights, but for now, enjoy this one from the waters of the crescent city.

My first association upon reading “unmanned” on this small craft relates to a Hemingway novel and a character who suffered a war wound that . . . unmanned . . . him.  I guess that this is not the reference here, however. 

Here’s a question:  why include blacked-out windows on an uncrewed vessel?

Dry Tortugas serves as support vessel; in fact, behold the afterdeck . . .

there’s a companion, a twin,  supported there.

If the first boat we saw was Savior 1, then this must be Savior 2.


In faint lettering, there’s the Savior 2 name.  Here’s an article about Romeo Papa Boats.

All photos, any errors, WVD, who’s not sure he sees these boats in NOL as tugster or traxster, but thinks it does not really matter.

Addendum:  When they returned a few hours later, I noticed a window open and now I call BS on the “unmanned” claim.  Maybe the sign could say “observer on board this driverless boat.”

All photos, any errors, WVD.

Previous “uncrewed” posts can be found here. This post is used with permission from    I’ve added that publication to my blogroll. Google helps you translate. 

The images below show what that publication calls “le drone Drix,” a drone developed by exail.

This surface drone has been traveling the Bay of Biscay this month studying the interaction between dolphins and their prey.   It’s part of what’s called Delmoges, expanded as shown in this link. 

Part of what interested me about this article is that the French use the word “drone.”  This sent me in search of the word’s derivation and I found it reflects back to WW1, bugs, Dayton OH, and the bee world, as seen here

Many thanks to the editor of LeMarin  Anne-Laure Grosmolard for use of this article.  Credit for the photos is Bernard Jégou. 


I’ve got a backlog of photos you all have sent along.  I’ll start here with some photos from my sister, Cookie Baker, who has sent along this and this, along with others over the years. 

Any guesses as to the what and where?

Some of you already know, but the 

location here is Alameda CA.  Saildrone fits in the same niche as the XOcean vessels that were working in the NY Bight a few months back.  USVs have been used on the Great Lakes already also here.  And then there’s Sea Hawk, what the USN is experimenting with in the SURFDEVRON program.

Many thanks to my sister for sending these photos along to her sixth boro brother. 


One more to underscore the increasing frequency of a variety of these boats . . . Brooks McCall even today is working an area of Long Island Sound between Plum Island and Fishers Island.

That’s Millstone Point in the background. 

Brooks McCall is slightly older and longer than Miss Emma McCall, from yesterday’s post.  Brooks appears to operate out of the Thames River. 

Note above three towed surface “sleds” (not sure what they are called) attached to the boat, as seen below.  

This is the best I could do from a bit 

over a mile distance . . . .

Abreast of us, she turned to starboard and showed

her arm.

All photos last week, WVD. 

Here’s where TDI worked earlier.  “Our specialty is the survey, geotechnical and benthic components of these wind farm projects,” according to their CEO.


Look what Bjoern at New York Media Boat observed in the the New York Bight

surveying the hithers and the yons of Ambrose Channel and other locales last week.

First, have a good look at the communications “superstructure,” with a FLIR camera, radar, four regular cameras one pointing in each direction, nav lights, lots of solar panels, bunch of other antennas, and who knows what’s inside the hull   Next, a query, which I’ll answer later in the post:  who controls these unmanned surface vessels (USVs) and where is the remote pilot located?

You might recall I was following UI #15 and #19 via AIS also a few days ago, and you may recall

then I mentioned that wherever the USVs were, a small boat named Free Time was near by. 

Later, Bjoern caught the one of the vessels out of the water and had a closer look.  Below, that’s the bow of the trimaran.  The instruments and generator are located in the center hull.  Propulsion comes from a one-cylinder diesel generator.  Diesel fuel capacity is 80 gallons, and I’m not sure what the range is.   

You’re likely wondering what they are doing:  according to Ocean, it’s called forward scouting, and as has been the case for most of this blog’s “exotic” posts, it’s related to offshore wind farm planning

For specs, click here.

Below, note the orange propellers on the ground.   Also, the solar panels, removed and leaning again the hull, can provide a minor amount of power.  With very little sail, these units, of which about 20 exist worldwide, can operate in winds up to 50 knots.


I’m guessing this cluster at the deepest draft of the vessel includes the sensors and transponders. 

With props and thrusters, a precise chosen course is followed.  

All photos, thanks to New York Media Boat.  Any errors of interpretation or reporting, WVD.

And  . . . the vessels are piloted/remotely monitored by pilots in the Ireland control center.  Maybe you noted Belfast as registry on the stern.  Free Time is a safety boat, required in the US.

More from this article:  “XOCEAN isn’t the only company riding this wave. There is L3Harris, whose unmanned vessels have been used by the US Navy, Saildrone which has collected data from the Arctic to the equator as part of environmental research, and Ocean Infinity, which is spearheading the development of larger uncrewed vessels.”

Maybe you read the title as “unscrewed?”  My autocorrect thought that’s what I intended.  Hmm.  I considered leaving the title that way, but wrestled with the helm on autocorrect and took the title from the image.  I need to crew this blog mechanism after all. 

I’ve alluded to these uncrewed vessels before in this blog, and they’ve been busy and attracted my attention this weekend as well as right now.   Since they show on AIS, I’m just wondering what they look like as vessel/instruments skim the surface acknowledging three-dimensional patterns, capable of observing and being observed. 

Above was uncrewed instrument 15 and below, 19.  Hardly folkloric vessel names?!!  Since robots do not choose their own name, are we the creators that lacking in imagination?  Another interesting detail here is the white print way at the bottom on the right side of image. 15 uses Atlantic Beach as an AIS source, and 19 uses 15.  There’s a hierarchy.

By the way, it appears to be this USV 

Here’s a closeup of the image of 19 on AIS. The wheels on the trailer show scale.

But I learned something, a wider pattern.  It’s this:  wherever thing 15 and thing 19 go, a magenta vessel is there too . . .  Free Time.  Magenta is for recreational vessels.  Below you see her track.

Furthermore, notice that Free Time uses 19 as an AIS source, or at least was doing so when I grabbed that image! A contractor relationship exists there,  I suppose, but I also wonder what to call the crew of Free Time . . . USV command and control officer?  USV commodore?  survey boat tech?  If crew of Free Time rotates through, 15 and 19 can work 24/7.  Here’s a question . . . when they do come to dock, do they dock themselves, get a slip in the water, or are they lifted in/out by a crane?  If so, is Free Time actually a recreational cargo vessel?  It seems also likely a common boat name.

Below is a segment of the track for 19.   In the image below, the intermittent track of 19 intrigues me.

Here was 15 at a slice in time this morning.

All AIS grabs and any errors, WVD, who’s so intrigued by these largely invisible hints of exotic tech in the boro that he’s only tenuously in control of the alleged spellchecking autocorrecter.  This  tech, now exotic, might in 20 or 50 years from now be as ubiquitous as  . . . say . . . ATM machines, which began to appear less than 50 years ago.   And this stereotype of trackless oceans and unplumbed seafloors, parts of them are as mapped digitally as  . . . our own mouths on the dentist’s x-rays. . .

Keep your eyes open and you may see a USV or a swarm of them out there.

And to consider alternate exotic tech, here‘s a story I read recently about kayak-like and lethal applications, and it led me to the long history of USVs.

How about a “twofer” today . . . two exotics for the price of one, both in the sixth boro at the same time.  GO Discovery was over at Bayonne Dry Dock and has since headed out to the “survey site,” which I’m thinking means sites.  More about the layout of this hull #2 from New Generation Shipbuilders of Houma can be found here

She’s part of the GuiceOffshore (GO) fleet.  She has worked with SpaceX in the past.  The current SpaceX fleet has the most unusual names, like Of Course I Still Love You, Just Read the Instructions, and A Shortfall of Gravitas, not surprising given the owner, CEO, and chief engineer.  Ms. Tree and Ms. Chief are quite clever also.   Might a Ms. B. Haven be in the offing?

Meanwhile, taking on fuel in the sixth boro was Endeavour, formerly Deep Endeavour.

This 1999 vessel has since left for Charleston. 


Otherwise, I can’t tell you much about here.

All photos, WVD. 

Previous GO vessels in the boro can be seen here.

This title means odds and ends . . . so this is a post that represents my clearing my decks, or rather desk or electronic folders.

Compare the two screen grabs below, first recreational boats filling the Sound but heading for safe haven in advance of Henri last weekend.

Monday morning . . . the same view.  Of course, pre-AIS, small craft would do the same thing, just there’d be no trace of it.

Occasionally while looking at AIS, you might see a sub.

Might there be a portal in that location between Montauk and Block Island?  If you see subs one day and Viking Starship another day, there may be cause for wonder . . ., and yes, I’m joking.

Any idea what these tracks are?

Above and below are tracks left by the same vessel, Ferdinand R. Hassler, a NOAA vessel used for hydrographic charting, among other tasks.  Thanks to  Hassler for reliable charts. I’ve yet to catch a photo of her.

Below is a photo from the 2014 Hudson River tugboat race, an event that will again not happen this year.  The big gray tug is Anthony Wayne.  A sister tug sold last week at auction for, as I recall just under $1.5 million.  Anyone know who the winning bidder was?

And finally, excuse the backlit photos, down along the BAT side of the Upper Bay, this assemblage has been anchored.  The tugboat is Ocean Tower, and she’s alongside

what looks to be a scow, a crane barge, and a crew boat.  The barge with the landing platform

is Dutra’s Paula Lee.  Anyone know where they’ll be working?

And while we’re doing all kinds of stories here, do you know “Bring Your Dreams,” aka BYD Motors?  Well, they have a connection with a NYC port here and here.  BYD . . .  you know that’s just begging for parody, like the one about F. O. R. D.  . . .

All photos, and odds and ends, chosen, WVD.


Summer haze and location compromise these photos, but in the interest of documenting specialty vessels that enter the sixth boro, I present to you . . .

Geoquip Saentis, a recently overhauled 2005 geotechnical drill vessel.  She was in the boro last year as well here.

She’s been working in a tight clutch with her fleet mate Geoquip Seehorn and Dina Polaris in one of the wind farm parcels.  

I believe Geoquip is a Swiss company;  no surprise then that this vessel is named Saentis, an 8200′ peak in northeastern Switzerland.  Seehorn is a peak in the Alps of similar height. 


All photos, such as they are, WVD.


The Deep Helder post could have been an exotic post, but I’ll wait to do that until it comes into the sixth boro, which it just may one of these days.

But Hammerfest as port of registry . . .  this may very well be the first time I see that registry on a vessel in the port.  No, “hammerfest” is not a party for carpenters or dulcimer players.

Here was the frontal view from Owl’s Head at sunrise yesterday morning.  Note the horizontal frame extending off the starboard side?

Here’s a closer look.  The white lettering on the side spells out REACH SUBSEA.  More on this contract here.

I’m guessing that cable runs to sensors/transponders of some sort or maybe an ROV.  Maybe a reader knows more about this.

Stril Explorer has been along the Ambrose Channel (not in) and along the shore of Bay Ridge to Sunset Park for over 24 hours now.

Note the “asterisk” icons running back from the bow . . .  she has three “thrusters,” unless I need to call them “positioning systems,”  providing station holding capacity rated at DP class 2.   She’s propelled by 4 x Cat 3516 run through 2 x Schottel drives. All the specs on this 251′ x 53′ 2010-built vessel can be read here.

She’s operated by MMT, a Swedish company founded by Ola Oskarsson.

If you follow her track between the VZ and the Sunset Park piers, you’ll see a half dozen curving but parallel and equidistant  lines.

As wind farm construction phrase approaches, we’re likely to see many more “exotic” vessels.

All photos, WVD.

Unrelated:  The 16000 teu, biggest ship yet on the East Coast US CMA CGM Marco Polo will arrive in the sixth boro at some time on May 20.  However, I won’t be here.  I’ll be far inland on higher elevations.  If anyone gets good photos and wants the (dubious) fortune and fame of having photos posted on tugster, please get in touch.  I’ll have some access to WIFI, so there may also be gaps in my posting, no DP class 2 position holding for me.

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