You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘technology’ category.

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. 

 

If you read this blog regularly, you’ll recall I spent a large part of June and July on a liftboat called Legs III.  A similar liftboat called Ram VII did some work in the sixth boro in September.   Now for parts of November and December, a huge liftboat has operated off the South Fork of Long Island, and recently came in to dock in Bridgeport CT.  Legs III legs are currently around 70′.  Ram VII legs are 145′.  Any guesses on the height of the legs on the liftboat below?

Legs III had two cranes;  L/B Jill has four, with the largest a capacity of 500 tons, and a 140′ boom.   The other cranes have lifting capacity of 60, 25, and 10 tons. 

Another Secor vessel was also docked at Barnum’s Landing, but I’ll save that for another post. 

L/B Jill has an impressive helideck, capable of supporting helicopters no larger/heavier than a Sikorski S-92, which weighs just shy of 14 tons.

 

Note the life boats and lifer aft canisters.  Jill operates with 12 crew and can accommodate up to 136 passengers, i.e., technicians usually on whatever project

it’s supporting in depths up to 275′.   This means that Jill could “leg down” in almost any part of Long Island Sound.  Dimensions on Jill are 178′ x 135′.

Liftboats have been described as combination of a cargo vessel, crane ship, hotel, and restaurant. 

I’m not sure how long Jill will be at Barnum’s Landing or what exactly it’s doing there. 

All photos, any errors, WVD.  For more info on Jill, as well as some great layout drawings, click here. As to the length of legs, she’s a 335 class;  usually that number represents the length of legs.

If you’re wondering about that name Barnum, the reference is indeed to Phineas Taylor Barnum, the showman, entrepreneur, and politician; the guy who said things like these . . .

This photo on FB “historic Erie Canal” group on December 4.   It appears to show a westbound vessel approaching Lockport on the Barge Canal, no date given, but the cars appear to be mostly late 1950s models, so it could be from the early 1960s. The Rebel is pushing a barge that looks to be a  tank barge lacking a manifold.  Maybe it’s a deck barge or a scow.  A photo from the bow would be helpful.   There’s also a derrick that I thought was along the portside of the barge.  All the tanks on The Rebel confused me. 

Groupsourcing resulted in this fantastic identification from William Lafferty:  “It was a former YSD-11 class seaplane wrecking derrick for the Navy, YSD-28.  It was built at the Charleston Navy yard in 1942.  It was sold in the early 1961 to King & Doan, Inc., of Georgetown, Delaware, and converted to what we see here.  King & Doan was a dredging concern.  The tanks hold lubricating oil and fuel for the dredging outfit, I suspect.  It was sold in 1971 and went to New Orleans for a couple of owners.  Seems to have passed out in the mid-1980s.”

My conclusion then is that this was King & Doan’s trip through the Barge Canal to a dredging operation somewhere on the Great Lakes, maybe a Great Lakes port, possibly in 1961 or 1962.   Googling King & Doan,  I come up with one of my own photos and more context. 

Click on the photos below to get their original source. Photos there include one attributed to frequent tugster-contributor George Schneider

 

 

This last one comes from William Lafferty. 

Adding to these connections, George Schneider sent along this photo (scroll) of Raccoon, a USACE debris collector that works in the Bay area.  You may recall the the sixth boro has its own USACE debris collector, Driftmaster, launched 1947, a different design that must surely have been influenced byYSDs.

Unrelated to this post, but to OPP 91 (scroll) and tug Thomas (Weeks) in the Netherlands on a RT from/to Ascension Island.  A Youtube channel I follow recently added a 17-minute video called “Unloading Stone at Ascension Island.”  It tells a different part of a magazine article I did last year here.  

If you enjoy “Unloading Stone,” give Joe Franta a like!

“Vintage CJ” has to come to mind when you see this photo, and time has modified this folding windshield jeep to give it an “articulating” frame. The lake middle left side is Canandaigua. 

This is a photo from a month ago; by now along this road, snow lies on the grass at the foot of bare trees.

Certainly a seasonal photo of a truckload of Christmas trees coming out of the Adirondacks.

This is the first UPS EV I’ve ever seen, taken recently in lower Manhattan.  Here’s more on UPS’ embrace of new power vehicles. 

Here the second Rivian delivery van I’ve seen in Amazon colors.  It was one of a batch crossing the VZ bridge.  I saw the first one (and batch) leaving a facility about a month ago in Connecticut.   Unless I’m researching this too quickly, Normal IL is the launch point for all these Rivian vehicles.  How far back do electric vehicles go?  Answer at end of this post.

I’ve read references to a food truck revolution.  I had planned to use Buenos Nachos Amigos in a Halloween post, but the time came and went too quickly.  

Here’s an unusual drink truck I saw at a wedding recently . .  a 1933 Ford, just a month ago in a place where snow and sleet are swirling right now.  Maybe working at a food or drink truck truck would be a fun part-time job. 

Hummers certainly attract attention even when they’re painted a sedate color, as this one is not. 

I had to get this photo on a northbound highway.  Is this a Kenworth towing a Hinckley?

It was still summer when I saw this approximately 60-year-old Willys pickup looking like it had just been manufactured.  All restored, it has every bit as much vintage as the lead photo.

All photos in the past few months, WVD, whose truckster! posts represent a lot of fun for me and go back to my demon wanting to make mischief back on April 1, 2015.

Click here for a timeline of EVs.

Drive safe, sober, and clean. 

Might it be fun to do a truck calendar . . . best of truckster! . . . this year . . .    Have you seen an extraordinary vintage truck on your local roads, trails, and highways?  Send me a snap?

Thanks to Jan van der Doe, enjoy these photos of a radschleppdampfer, translated as “side wheel steamer,” a museum ship in Duisburg, Germany.

The side wheel barge tug Oscar Huber was built in Duisburg Ruhrort in 1922. She towed barges until 1966 between Rotterdam and Karlsruhe, about a 300-mile trip on the Rhine. She’s a sole survivor, the only of its kind on the Rhine River saved from scrapping. In 1974 it was turned into a museum.

   

See her in her 1950s b/w glory in this video, with all narration in German. Color video sans narration can be seen here. More video here

 

She was recently moved w to a shipyard in Friedrichsfeld–15 miles down the Rhine– as shown here by Herkules IX and Franz Haniel 14.  Both push boats operate for HGK.

 

Note the folded down stacks.

 

Many thanks to Jan for sharing these photos. 

Click here for some posts of Swiss side wheel steamers, photos thanks to Rich Taylor. 

Speaking of HGK and inland river towing, my latest favorite YouTube channel is marktwained, chronicling the work of a Mississippi River captain/pilot.

 

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.

Full disclosure first, I met the author, Paul Strubeck, around 15 years ago, and he’s been working on this voluminous tome for almost a decade.  We met on a retired diesel railroad tugboat, of course, not either of the ones depicted below.  Over the years, Paul has shared photos and information on this blog.

I’ll tell you what I think about this book in a moment, but first, any guesses on the date, location, and info on the two tugboats depicted on this striking cover?

The rear cover has some Dave Boone art.  Anything look familiar in that painting?

Soon after Paul and I  met, we took this same WHC tour together.  I’m certainly not a packrat, but the fact that I still have the program attests to my sense that it was an extraordinary tour, much narration of which was prefaced “you can’t see any trace any more, but …” because rail marine in the sixth boro is mostly a thing of the past.  What’s not in the past but an immutable geographical fact is that the sixth boro surrounds an ever more densely-populated archipelago that still needs resupplying today, mostly provided by trucks and frustrated drivers clogging highways today, hence efforts like the recent beer run, to name but one.  

Contractors move carfloats today, but at one time rail lines built their own dedicated tugboats, steam and diesel, and the evolution of the latter type is what Paul’s book interprets for us.  These tugboats are mostly gone, and he tracks the disposition of each one, but a few still in use have been redesigned so successfully you might never guess their previous lives.

As I said earlier, Paul has worked on this book for the better part of a decade.  When he wasn’t employed on a  tugboat, he got jobs on the railroad, which employs him now fulltime.  But when he wasn’t scheduled by some employer, he traveled to places where he researched this book in harbors, photo archives, libraries, and museums.   To “unpack” this table of contents a bit, the “Oil-electrics” chapter focuses on  the railroads that switched from steam propulsion to diesel:  first in 1916 the Pennsylvania RR re-powering steam tug Media with a 4-cylinder Southwark-Harris heavy oil engine;  in 1926 NY Central RR built a pair of tugs on Staten Island and named NY Central’s No. 33 and No. 34, and Erie was next. 

Then next four chapters elaborate on the naval architects, the decisions they made, and the tugboats they built.

“What’s inside a tug?” includes nomenclature

 

and specialized information not commonly known to a layperson as well as to a mariner who works on non-railroad tugs.

Documents like this top one from August 1978 demystify the daily/hourly activity of tugboat crew, in this case,  the marine engineer.  Paul brings his tugboat/locomotive perspective to the page.

The book has 266 color photos and 131 black/white, for a total of 397, of which 342 have never been book/web published;  he scanned them from company records, trade literature, negatives, and slides.  Each photo has a detailed caption.  Further, the book has 4 original maps, 22 blueprints/drawings, and 17 documents/advertisements from vintage marine diesel magazines.

There are 11 appendices, including

 

17 pages of Appendix K listing all East Coast diesel railroad tugboats and their dimensions, designers and builders, engine specs, multiple names, and [what I find very helpful] their disposition, i.e., still in use, scrapped, reefed, or other.  A total of 23 railroad companies are mentioned.

On the last page, you learn a bit about the author.  He’s already working on a volume 2, focusing on railroad tugs of the Great Lakes and Inland Waterways.

To me, this book is a delight to read through and a reference for East Coast tugboats.  On my bookshelf, it goes next to Thomas R. Flagg’s book New York Harbor Railroads In Color, volumes 1 and 2, published in 2000 and 2002 but with most information cut off in 1976.  Paul’s book will be a delight for historians, aficionados of rail and marine technology, modelers, urban planners, and the general public with curiosity about how we get stuff from place of manufacture to place(s) of use.

As anyone who releases a book or other work knows, an author does not want to keep a pile of books like this at home.  For info on ordering your copy, click here.  This is not a “mainstream” book you’d see while browsing the all-too-few bookstores surviving these days.  Rather, it is published by an independent railroad-focused publisher called Garbely Publishing.

To answer the questions about cover “photo,” the front cover shows Erie tugs Elmira and Marion  in Hoboken in March 1975. Marion was launched at Jakobson’s  in Oyster Bay NY in 1953 and is being prepared for reefing at this very moment in 2022.  Anyone know details?  Elmira was launched the same year on Staten Island and was scrapped in 1984 after an engine room fire.  The Dave Boone painting shows New York Dock Railway tug Brooklyn southbound on the North River.  Notice the Colgate clock along the right side.  Brooklyn (now Florida) is currently a rebuilt but active boat in the Crescent fleet in Savannah GA.  My image of the boat as I saw it in 2014 is below;  that day I took another shot of the tugboat which appears on page 190 of Paul’s book.

Previous book reviews I’ve posted here can be found at these links.

2021

2020

2017

2014

2012

2012

2010

 

 

 

aka . . .  where we heading?

Down on the Jersey Shore some puzzling instruments float or drift or play … or whatever verb an instrument does.  The fact that said instruments are GB-registered (I thought it was the UK?) leads me to suspect this associated with that Ford etc. Unfortunately I was not there, so the only image I have are these from my phone/AIS app.   Some blogs readers have reported seeing unusual aircraft in that area as well, which might monitor UAVs like these or USVs like these.  Then there are UUVs . . . NOMARS  . . .  or all these . . .   it just goes on to a future unknown.

 Here is a CRS report on “plans” released last week.  Here is a summer 2019 tugster post on USVs.  And from earlier this year, it’s unmanned Sea Hawk.

Another indicator of incoming change is here, a tanker bearing sizeable external tanks.  When it was farther out, I didn’t take photos because I couldn’t imagine what I was seeing, very white shapes, I first thought, diffuse floodlights.

But at this, I knew:  it must be a dual-fuel vessel, at least the current iteration of it.  Back in August I saw a methanol-powered tanker, or so marked. LNG bunkering in the US is very limited at the moment.  Here’s what seems to be available in Asia and Europe.

Combusting different fuels must require additional “exhaust” configuration.

Proteus Jessica is a crude oil tanker and brand-new, launched in 2022;  she may be the latest  newest hull in the boro.

And then there’s this! Apollonia the merchant schooner has been around for a few years, but this was my first time to see her.  I’ll do another post on the schooner, but consider this photo for now:  new fuel and old fuel. Does anyone have Apollonia upriver photos under sail to share?  I’ve not seen any.

All photos, any errors, WVD, who wonders what sixth boro October 2032 will look like.

 

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.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,564 other subscribers
If looking for specific "word" in archives, search here.
Questions, comments, photos? Email Tugster

Documentary "Graves of Arthur Kill" is AVAILABLE again here.Click here to buy now!

Seth Tane American Painting

Read my Iraq Hostage memoir online.

My Babylonian Captivity

Reflections of an American hostage in Iraq, 20 years later.

Archives

January 2023
M T W T F S S
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031