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Beyond Celebrity Apex, look!  It’s a container ship

from 1988

escorted into port by 2016 Trident.

The 2016 Trident, 99′ x 44′ and 5730 hp, has an unusual configuration below the hull:   she’s a Robert Allan Ltd-designed advanced rotortug (ART), meaning three engines and three Schottel z-drives, creating triangular propulsion to enhance maneuverability. See more on that here.

National Glory is a 575-teu box ship.  That’s NOT 15000.

In comes another, Galani, 1732 teu.  Assist is provided by a 1995 Broward, 5100 hp, 96′ x 40, a relatively conventional z-drive boat. 

The other assist is from the 1998 St. Johns, 88′ x 50′ 4000 hp and nothing conventional below the waterline.  She is referred to as a “ship-docking module,” aka SDM design.  See a schematic and read all about it here.

All photos by C. Baker, my sister, to whom I am grateful.

As of March 1, 2022, CMA CGM Adonis was still in the shipyard, not yet delivered.  By March 31, the vessel was in Qingdao and loaded, casting off lines.  And April 29, 2022, she had a Sandy Hook pilot on board and was proceeding up the Ambrose Channel, making her first ever cargo call anywhere.

And here, as a SeaStreak fast ferry overtakes it off to port, a Moran tug is about to land a docking pilot on board for her first call.


It turns out that James D did the honors, not JRT, which took the stern. 

Click here to learn some of the invisible but significant technology built into Adonis to make it safer and cleaner. 

All photos, WVD, who wishes to say “welcome to the sixth boro, CMA CGM Adonis.


I’ve seen this image printed and framed somewhere . . . in a lower Mohawk town, but I don’t remember where.  The lines are quite similar to those of Urger. As to Schenectady she was ex-Buffalo, George W. Aldridge, and City of Schenectady. Around 1910 the name was shortened to just Schenectady.   Per her state description card, she was 50′ x 15.4′ x 5.9′ tug, crewed by three.   By 1924 she was back in Buffalo doing commercial work. The last mention of Barge Canal work is 1922. 

For anyone who can colorize this, I wonder what the color scheme was.  As to the quayside scene, I gather this is what the Waterford canalside buildings looked like in 1915.

Below is the view of Schenectady from canal side as shown above.  Beyond the Fourth Street bridge, that’s E-2, the first lock of the Flight of Five, numbered 2 through 6.  Yes, that can be confusing.

Here’s the view from the Fourth Street bridge above, with a lot of cargo barges waiting their chance to transit.  And the two men atop the wheelhouse appear to be operating a motion picture camera on a tripod, no doubt filming their and possibly others’ passage through the flight.  That tells me Schenectady was working as a press boat here, not the attraction.

This photo begs the following question:  Which larger boat and smaller motor launch are those in the lower right hand side of the photo?   Double click on this link from the NYS Archives Digital Collections to learn what dignitaries were on the unidentified and very crowded boat partly obscured lower right.  The small motor  launch might be NYS Police, which had been created only a month before by the Governor, who happens to be on the crowded boat below.  It’s hard to overstate the importance of May 15, 1915 for NYS politics and Barge Canal history.

Wouldn’t this be lock E-4, white ink captioning notwithstanding?  Adjacent to lock E-3 westbound, there’s a dry dock.  And it’s been a couple years, might I be remembering this wrong?

And below is a different state boat farther west and at lock E-12,  tug Buffalo, built in 1923 as a steam tug, westbound here with some heaping cargo on a deck barge. Could that be trash?  If so, where might it be headed?  Notive the crewman on the barge about midships?  In 1948 she was sold to a private company. Currently she has a 1931 Cooper-Bessemer diesel engine which ran in 2010.  Before 2017, when she was  sold  to Buffalo interests, tug Buffalo was a fixture at the Waterford Tugboat RoundUps, as captured here by Fred Tug44 at the 2010 Round Up.  I don’t know its current disposition.

Many thanks to the Canal Society of New York for letting me wander through these archives and post my best information.  Any additions/corrections are welcomed.

If you have the Marinetraffic app on your phone, you might recognize this.  Note the info on destination for Driftmaster, a USACE debris collector in the sixth boro.  “No place” is what is usually displayed.  It might just as well say “wherever debris is.”

These next screens are already out of date:  by now, H. Lee White has departed its winter lay-up quarters in Toledo and is back at work. 

Ditto, Herbert C. Jackson;  she’s off and running, pushing through ice if need be to move ore from Lake Superior down to the steel plants.

Clyde S. . . .  same story:  no nap now except as allowed by the watch rotation.

As of late March, Canadian Coast Guard Ship Griffon was stopped in the ice, along with all these

vessels as of March 27.  In this case, it was high winds in the lake.

So now you know what I might be looking at if I’m staring at my phone.

Captures, WVD, who has been traveling outside the sixth boro.


Cargill’s Carneida and her sisters were unique enough, forgotten enough designs that when I stumbled onto this image yesterday AFTER posting, I decided to dedicate a whole post to Cargill’s vessels on the Barge Canal. The resemblance to the cargo portion of the 1000-footers currently on the Lakes is unmistakable although she’s less than a third of their size, but Barge Canal max.  She even has a hatch cover crane that runs along the deck.

This image would be the maiden voyage.  After construction in Leetsdale PA, she headed down the Ohio, up the Mississippi to the Illinois.  John MacMillan Jr. joined this vessel in Cairo IL for the voyage to Chicago.  There, Carneida was loaded with 1900 tons of corn.  On August 22, 1940, eight miles off Wilmette IL on Lake Michigan, however, the vessel found the weather not as favorable as predicted and swamped the towboat and two of the barges in almost 80′ of water!  The third barge broke free and floated away. 

In early September, a diver reported that the units were still connected and resting right side up on a coarse gravel bottom.  The found a salvage company that brought the corn up first.  The towboat and two barges stayed on the bottom until May 1941, then winched to the surface.  Once cleaned up, the two main engines and two auxiliaries ran. 

The lesson learned for the subsequent Carneida-class boats was . . . to put significantly less than 1900 tons of cargo into the holds for the Lakes portion.  These were canal cargo carrier, Barge Canal max ones.

Also after posting yesterday, I stumbled upon this version of the last photo in yesterday’s post:  this clearly identifies the boat as Carutica, an Odenbach vessel launched in 1946 with substantially more space in the towboat portion of the unit. The location is clearly below lock E-2 in Waterford.

All photos here from the archives on the Canal Society of New York. 

In the background on the river, with exhaust emanating from each of the corners, what is that!!!?  

Above you’re looking at the stern of a truly unique towboat launched in the summer of 1940, Cargill’s successor to Protector and Carbany.  Below, that’s the stern of Carbany and the bow of that unique vessel,  a Carneida-class grain mover.  I believe the first six photos of this post were taken at the Cargill facility on the Hudson in Albany.

Below are three (at least) Cargill units, from near to far, CCI  No. 3, Carbany, and then two of the Carneida-class.   CCI expands to Cargo Carriers incorporated, a Cargill transportation company created in 1930.

Here at the Cargill elevator in Albany is Carnectady. Cargill had a lease in port of Albany  from 1932 until 2018.  Carnectady here appears to have a sunshade installed over the “booth” of a wheelhouse.  I wonder if that wheelhouse could be lowered.

Cargill’s John MacMillan Jr visualized a design of integrated steel barges: three cargo barges cabled together with a fourth–a stern unit referred to as a towboat–containing power, controls, and accommodations.  In the photo below, you’re looking at the towboat with the name on the stern.  Overall, the four-part vessel was 265′ and comprised of a 49′ loa towboat with three 72′ loa cargo barges, all the breadth of a Barge Canal lock, i.e., uniformly slightly less than 44′. 

Below you’re looking across three cargo barges, likely of Carnectady, and to the right

you see the stern of Carswego.

Here at Little Falls, top of lock E-17, Carneida enters the lock.  It appears that the towboat was not ballasted to the same depth as the loaded grain barges ahead of it.  Might that be the captain talking with the lock tender?

I’m not sure what’s happening here with the state boat on the port bow of the lead Carneida-class barge, but clearly, the Cargill unit is eastbound at the bottom of lock E-9.

Note the “booth” of a wheelhouse.

Here the Carneida-class boat is climbing the flight, and

this photo may have been taken moments before as, with a burst of power and smoke,  it entered the bottom of E-5.

So this one has me puzzled.  I believe I see the Cargill logo on the wheelhouse, but the “towboat” section of the unit is much more substantial than that in the other photos of this post.  So, what is this?

All photos thanks to the Canal Society of New York.   Here‘s an article about these boats that adds a bit of detail.

The 1955 Merchant Vessels of the US show Carchester, Carswego, Carnectady, Carneida, and Carnesee still operating.  It also appears that Carbany-class vessels Carutica, Caryuga, and Carport were built after WW2.

Do plans exist anywhere for the towboat section of these units?  How long did they ply the Barge Canal?  What was their disposition?

Below is a variation on the photos I posted yesterday, showing a bit more context to the west.  Let’s recap identifying right to left:  Regulus, Teresa with Acadia, and GLDD tugboat Douglas B. Mackie and dredge barge Ellis Island.  

I’ve posted other GLDD dredges in the past:   Padre Island here, Terrapin Island here, Dodge Island hereGLDD trailing suction head dredges have “Island” in the name, but they are only some of GLDD’s dredging machines.

Mackie is huge:  158′ x 52′ x 27.3′ draft, and powered by two Mak 12M32C-T3, 7,831HP each, turning controllable pitch propellers. The dredge barge has its own power for the pumps.  See some stats here, and more  stats here.

Note the black hull of Mackie and the red of Ellis Island

Ellis Island measures 433′ x ’92, can dredge down to 122′ and has hopper capacity of just shy of 15,000 yd3.  Dredge spoils can discharged through the bottom of the hull over a designated dump site.

She’s been working off Sandy Hook. I believe this is the only ATB trailing suction hopper dredge in the US.

All photos, WVD, who supposes she came in for protection from rough seas;  as of this morning, she headed back out to the work area.


The point of this series–other than the point of this whole blog which is to document commercial happenings in the sixth boro–is to track changes, and changes in size and capacity have clearly happened in the container vessel department. I try to add other info as well.

Yesterday, besides enjoying the cold and snow accumulation, I caught three ULCVs moving through the KVK within the same hour.  Although this did happen, you shouldn’t conclude that ULCVs regularly pass through the KVK at the rate of three per hour. 

Cosco Development was the last of the three, so these are not in chronological order. 

For the stats, the 2011 build had assistance from four tugs;  her dimensions and capacities are as follows:  1200′ x 158′ and 13100 teu.  She departed Busan Korea on November 21 last year, making this the end of a one month, nine-day voyage.

The first ULCV moving yesterday was Ever Far, which had been in port almost exactly 48 hours. 

Her stats are as follows:  1095′ x 158.7, launched 2020 and carrying up to 11850 teu.  After clearing the Ambrose pilot, she headed in the direction of the Panama Canal at an unstoppable and consistent 21 mph, about the same speed I rolled eastward on the Belt Parkway yesterday. 

If you look carefully to the right side of the photo below, you’ll see Cosco Development beyond the trees and following the vessel below, CMA CGM Jules Verne.

Ditto below.  CMA CGM Jules Verne also had a complement of four assist tugs;  it was windy yesterday.

CMA CGM Jules Verne is one of the handful of largest ULCVs–or vessels of any sort– to traffic the sixth boro ever:  1299′ x 177′ and 44′ draft.  the capacity of this 2013 launch is 16,100 teu.  She departed Port Klang Malaysia on December 10, making this the end of a 29-day 4-hour voyage.

All photos, WVD, who hopes you enjoyed seeing these photos and reading these numbers and places.

If you’ve read through to this point, I have a curious story I can not confirm, but it was told to me yesterday by my friend bowsprite, who attributes it to someone she spoke with in a phonecall to the Department of Motor Vehicles.  She had called DMV because she’d not received her replacement for an expired car registration sticker.  The DMV told her not to worry because they would send her a new temporary sticker to print out herself because–here’s the kicker–the DMV was out of official sticker paper because of the supply chain backup.  Wait a minute . . .  does NYS, which has a paper industry of sorts, get its DMV “sticker paper” from abroad?  Of course, i know that many specialty papers exist, and even consumer toilet paper differs from the commercial type.  Ah, the things we’ve learned because of Covid!

Like I said, I can’t confirm the veracity of this story, but don’t you suspect were are truly doomed if we’ve outsourced sticker paper to foreign manufacturers?



I just happened to look at the August 2014 section of the archive, and this was the engine room at that time of the living, breathing tugboat Urger.

The top photo shows the Atlas-Imperial fore-to-aft along the portside, and below, it’s the opposite . . .  starboard side aft-to-fore.

Below is that same view as above, except with a tighter frame on the top of the engine.  On my YouTube channel here,   are several videos of this engine running and Urger underway. 

Below from early September 2015 are three NYS Canals boats, l to r, Tender #3, Gov. Cleveland, and Urger. . . .  all old and in jeopardy.

At that same 2015 Tugboat Roundup that precipitated the photo above, notice the juxtaposition of old and new:  passing in front of the 1914 Lehigh Valley 79 is

Solar Sal, which a month later would earn distinction as the first solar vessel to transit the canal from Buffalo to the Hudson with four tons of cargo, as a demonstration of its potential. Solar Sal‘s builder was David Borton, whose website has all the info on his designs for marine solar power.

A story I’d missed until looking something else up yesterday was David Borton’s 2021 adventure, sailing on solar in Alaskan waters.

And that brings this zig-zag post to another story linking the Canal and Alaska. 

Last August Pilgrim made its way through New York State to the Great Lakes and eventually overwintered in Duluth. I took photos above and below on August 1, 2020.

Earlier this summer, Pilgrim was loaded on a gooseneck trailer

so that it could transit the continent

along the Interstates to the Salish Sea.   As of last week they’d made Ketchikan, and their next stop will be Kodiak Island.  Eventually they clear customs and their next stop will be Russia.

All photos except the last three, WVD.  Pilgrim photos attributed to Sergey Sinelnik.

The Waterfront Museum in Lehigh Valley 79 is now home to a high-res livestream harbor cam aimed from Red Hook;  check it out here.



I’ll return to the Erie Canal tomorrow, but for now . . . the clock is ticking louder.

In exactly 24 hours, Grouper will thaw out;  a new owner, the person with the highest bid, will be acclaimed.  I’ve been following the fate of this boat in Wayne County for so many years that I can’t look away as we get to this milestone.  So have a lot of people who live nearby, or live farther away and have been intrigued about it since it arrived.  Many others know it from its various places of work in the Upper Great Lakes, having some family connection going back many decades.

The big question is . . . Will it be scrapped or reimagined as a vessel of some sort.  Reimagining has been a theme of NYS canal efforts in recent years, right?

Here’s one of my first photos of the boat, literally frozen in place, a great metaphor for its years of being frozen in time, showing remarkable resilience to the ravages of rust.  In all this time of neglect and in the absence of bilge pumps, it has not sunk, has not gone down to a muddy grave where the catfish and gobies lurk.

Friends have devoted countless hours reimagining Grouper.

Lee Rust sent along these diagrams highlighting the hull similarities, the 1912 tugboat and

a late 19th century sail/steam half model.

Lee writes:  “Maybe we’ve been misunderstanding the possibilities of Grouper by getting [ourselves] stuck on the old tug story. Here’s what she really is. Subtract Kahlenberg, add ballast, masts & sails. Maybe an auxiliary electric motor to turn the propeller. Voila! Clean and green and good for another 100 years. Piece of cake! Only [a day] left to decide to take that plunge. Here’s [an aerial] view of the hull model revealing the significant difference in beam [and bow design] from Grouper, but the profiles are almost identical. This even shows where the masts would go.


A simpler approach might be to remove 15 tons of Kahlenberg and replace with 7 tons of batteries and an electric propulsion system. This might be enough to decrease draft by the 3 feet needed to maneuver in the current Canal. Compare the waterline on the model to that of Grouper.  Image below shows ship model by my friend Rob Napier.

Looking back at this hypothetical lift diagram I made [above],  aside from the difference in beam, the antique hull model could be that of any ‘City’ class Great Lakes tug. (You can pick out the ‘City’ class tugs here.]  The ‘lifted’ waterline on Grouper is awfully close to that of the model. I suppose this hull form was pretty normal back at the end of the 19th century and the tugboat designers of the time just went with what they knew and hoped the vessels wouldn’t sink when they threw in all that coal and machinery.

OK, I know… daydreaming again. Must be time for my nap.”

Thanks,  Lee.  As I said before, lots of people have been looking at these “excessed canal vessels” for a long time now, and tomorrow, in the heat of summer, Grouper will thaw out.  May the highest bidder win and show exuberance in reimagining canal technology.


Related:  This NYTimes article from this past week which examines sail designs on cargo vessels is worth a look.



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May 2022