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That’s twelve hundred feet of France heading into Bergen Point.  Note the scale of 108′ McAllister Sisters near the bow.  Of course, this group of ships set a record back last summer and that was then eclipsed by early September with the arrival of CMA CGM T. Roosevelt.  But it is my first time to photograph a ULCV;  previous arrivals and departures were at night, or I was distracted or traveling.  Does ULCV apply to vessels of this size?

And if OOCL France looks a drab shade of grey, well, she left China on Christmas day and this is her first port since then.

Tailing straight back is Capt. Brian A. McAllister . . .  until

she gets the signal to

initiate the rotation, assisting the twin bow thrusters on the ship and

the other tugs:

Sisters, Marjorie B., and


and Alex.

That makes over 19,000 hp of ship-assist spinning OOCL France clockwise in front of Shooters Island.  For the record, this is my first time to catch one of the largest box ships in the Kills.  Details:  1200′ x 157′ and 144,044 summer dwt;  launched 2013 as NYK Hercules and 13,208 teu, i.e., over 1000 teu fewer than CMA CGM T. Roosevelt, photos of which I’ll post soon.


All photos yesterday by Will Van Dorp, who keeps watching the names and numbers in hopes of catching a larger vessel or an autonomous one.


Suppose we go back to “random tugs 2,” which was 10 years and two and a half months ago.  What might be the same?  Answer follows.  These photos I took last week.  Alex and Capt. Brian were not around when I did the #2 post.

Craig Eric Reinauer was, but the barge RTC 103 likely was not.

In 2007, Diane B had a different name and was a Kirby machine.  Now she’s a creek-specialist and pushing John Blanche.

Here’s the best photo I got of Millville and 1964, the newest unit most likely to pass through the harbor.

Emerald Coast heads westbound.

Oleander passes Normandy.  Anyone know why Bermuda Islander (I got no photo.) was in town last week?

And Evening Tide is eastbound in the KVK.  So just by chance, if you look at Random Tugs 2, Evening Tide is there as well.

And since we started with a team of escort boats, have a look at these:  (l to r) JRT, Miriam, James D, and Kirby Moran.

All photos taken last week by Will Van Dorp.

Here was a related post, Yano, watched by John Watson and me simultaeously and from different vantage points, each of us unbeknownst to the other.

Before the snow and cold hit this past week, actually Wednesday Jan 4, I was tipped off about an impending BDD dry dock exit in Bayonne.  And when James E. Brown grasps the door–think of it as a plug–that confirms something will be floating out.

To the extreme left,  see the plug, and Capt. Brian A. McAllister positions itself on the stern of USNS Soderman.

Ellen has the starboard stern quarter, and

Eric has a line on the bow.  For a point-by-point comparison of Eric and the Moran 6000s, click here.


Note how the ship dwarfs the lighthouse, and

the harbor dwarfs the ship,

almost entirely obscuring Alex standing by.

All photos by Will Van Dorp, whom wonders if anyone’s going to get photos of Millville and 1964 in the anchorage today.  I’m tied up.

Here are dozens of previous posts in this series.

I put this one up today specifically in response to a comment by a dear friend Rembert, who commented here about the apparent high center of gravity on American tugboats.  Mein Schiff 6, which is 969′ x 139′, appears to be quite “tall” but largely because of its verticality.

TUI operates Mein Schiff 7.  I’m guessing the “Leinen los”  here translates to the Dutch lekko [itself an approximation of the English],  the English “cast off.”

Here, from a different angle, is TUI’s logo projected overtop USNS Gilliland.

Steel–a great name–has similar vertical sides,

as does Orange Star, a transporter of my favorite beverage.

Ditto Denak Voyager.

For tugster, here’s an unusual shot of Avra, at the dock at night.

Let’s conclude with Navigator of the Seas, 1021′ x 127,’ so appearances aside, N o t S is actually less beamy than Mein Schiff 6.  Note the Chrysler Building in the photo below?

All photos by Will Van Dorp,who’s been unable to find air draft, particularly on Mein Schiff 6 and  Navigator of the Seas.  Anyone help?

And if you fans of the NYTimes missed Annie Correal’s story about shipping vehicles to Haiti out of Red Hook aboard Beauforce (replacement for Grey Shark?), click here to read it.


. . . a sixth boro set on a day that was predicted to bring rain.  When I first saw the photo below, I thought the McAllister tug was assisting a DonJon unit?

A few seconds later it was clear that Alex was overtaking the slower Paul Andrew.


Dr. Milton Waner–named for a plastic surgeon!!— here travels light.  Harley does have this focus on medicine in their recent namings, like Fight ALS and One Cure.  That’s Durham in the distance with the spud barge.


Around the same time, Eric McAllister, Thomas D. Witte, and James E. Brown appear, headed for the Kills.


Mr Russell comes out of the Kills.  And can you name the Vane tug in the distance?


It must be the newest Vane tug in the sixth boro, and I don’t know if she’s even more recent than Capt. Brian A. McAllister. For all I know, this could be her first week in town….  And from a full decade ago, here’s the previous Philadelphia in town, the ITB Philly.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

Here’s what’s on the surface and

here’s a bigger picture.  That trio in the sky following Bruce A McAllister tails us as well!

Big Jake once

trafficked the sixth boro as Juliet Reinauer.

Over at the Brooklyn passenger terminal, Jonathan C waits,

canvas on the fenders, to assist Crown Princess out.

And given my scarceness in the sixth boro, the only image I have to date of the new Capt. Brian A. McAllister has the tug concealed by Alex and Eric.

And then out on the Sound, it’s John P Wronowski and escort,

headed for the barn.

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who recently stumbled onto an interesting blog, now added to my blogroll under a  Damn autocorrect . . . I really typed aa          the “aa” being there to keep this near the top of my links.


The top photo here comes from Brian Thigpen.  Last Monday, the first 13000 teu container ship–OOCL Berlin— entered port, and I missed it.  Bravo to Brian for photographing it.  I suspect soon the 14000 teu and then subsequent records will be set. Escort visible here is Eric McAllister, I think.

With larger ships, escort procedures seem to be changing also, like tugs coming in sets of three and meeting the vessel outside the VZ Bridge.  Just a few years ago, nothing of the the size of Northern Justice–8400 teu–was calling here.


I really should get more photos of the ships passing through the sixth boro and heading anywhere from Yonkers to Albany.  Here’s Western Aida along the cliffs of the UWS, 

leaving the Palisades to port once under the GW.

Here’s Spottail westbound on the KVK, assisted by Ellen McAllister and  Bruce A. McAllister,  and soon to pass

Stolt Pride, 2016, showing a new look for Stolt.

Thanks again to Brian Thigpen for use of his photo.  All others by Will Van Dorp.


Happy 4th of July!  Here’s the first post by this title with a story of what John Adams wrote Abigail around this time 241 years ago.

So why do we celebrate this day?  Uh . . . the British surrendered?  It marks the first battle for independence?

DDG-55 Stout  (photo taken May 20, 2015)

We got freedom to say what we want, pray to whomever we choose, buy as many guns as we want, refuse to be unreasonably searched, charged too much bail, have access to lawyers in court, and things like that?

The founders of the US signed the Declaration of Independence?

Nope!  Nope, nope.  None of those is correct.  The British didn’t surrender for another 6 years and didn’t vacate their occupation force from the sixth boro–the only boro then–until 1783.  The Constitution wasn’t written for another decade and some!!

Here’s a good quick “not fake” read for today called “9 Things You May Not Know About the  Declaration of Independence.”

I’ll get back to that . .  but what is that military gray ship over there trying to camouflage itself against Staten Island ferry orange?  I took the rest of these photos about 24 hours ago . . .   The flag at the stern is NOT US…

It’s French.  So maybe they’re here to help us  celebrate the contributions of Rochambeau, DeGrasse. and Lafayette?

Nope, they helped after 1776 . . ..  In fact the Alliance had not even existed yet for a few years .  . .

Well, maybe the crew of the French L 9032 is here to ride the NYWheel?

Nope.  That’s in some turmoil.

See the billboard there?  Maybe they’re here for “the lowest cost health plan?”

Maybe they’re here for Macy’s !!?  Rowland Hussey Macy WAS a sailor, after all;  the red Macy’s logo star was the tattoo he wore on his hand . . .


Actually  I have NO idea why FS Dumont D’Urville docked over at the old homeport yesterday . . .  maybe someone can illuminate us . . .?

But to get back to 4th July . . . here was the response of George III–the accused– to the Declaration:  I’d never read it until now and it’s short and precious and defensive!!

Here’s another 4 July tugster post from the archives . . .  And if you still have time to read, here are “Six things you (probably) didn’t know about the 4th July. . . .”  And the flag of that year?  Maybe here.  And the drink of choice to fete the day back then . . .?  Well, it was not beer or rum.  Rick Spilman has it here.

All photos here by Will Van Dorp, who offers another link to the big document of the day here, and wishes you a happy independence day.


Patricia was built in 1963 and works in the sixth boro here and here, and last I knew worked for C.H. Phoenix LLC of Green Cove Springs, Fl. . . .   I like the racing stripes.

Caitlin Ann was built in 1961 and has worked for DonJon since 2011.   Here, she and

Sarah Ann appear to be moving coal.  Sarah Ann is from 2003, working for DonJon since 2009.

Marion Moran has worked by that name since 1982.  I think that’s Katherine Weeks on the far side of the barge.

Bruce A. McAllister, 

Eric McAllister, and

Alex McAllister were all working from the Narrows the

other morning.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.



Enjoy this sampling of boats and the dates associated with their launch starting from Arabian Sea (2007) on Dry Dock No. 7,

Stephen Reinauer (1970) nearby on 4,

Miss Circle Line . . . (1954 as ST 2124 and later Betsy) ,

Alex McAllister (1985),

Joyce D. Brown (2002) headed home after completing the daily chores,

Crystal Coast (1983) and Justin (1981) heading south into the Chesapeake,

JRT Moran (2016) holding onto an argosy,

Ivory Coast (1967) waiting on the next job,

All photos by Will Van Dorp (1952).

Unrelated, for a long interpretation of Moby Dick (1851) and connections between “grammar school literature” like the Odyssea (est. 1000 BCE) and All Quiet on the Western Front (1929) and connections with folk songs, listen to Bob Dylan (1941) making his Nobel Prize acceptance speech (2017)  here . . .  It’s the best 27 minutes of listening you’ll do today, I believe.


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