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Of course, there are little known gunkholes in the backwaters of the sixth boro where fossils–living and inert–float.  This one is off an inlet behind one island and concealed by another, a place easily missed, and if seen, it gives the impression of being off limits by land and too shallow by water, near the deadly bayou of Bloomfield.  But with the right conveyance and attitude, it’s feasible if you’re willing to probe.  And the fossils have names like . . .


Caitlin Rose.  I don’t know much, but built in Savannah GA in 1956?  Relentless.  She’s before my time here, but I suppose she’s the one built in Port Arthur TX in 1950.


I can’t make out all of the words here.




Ticonderoga is obviously playing possum. Only a month ago she doe-see-doed into the Kills with the ex-Pleon, the blue tug behind her,


a Jakobson from 1953.


Dauntless .. . built in Jakobson & Peterson of Brooklyn in 1936, was once Martha Moran.


From right to left here, Mike Azzolino was built for the USCG at Ira S. Bushey & Sons and commissioned as WYTM-72 Yankton in 1944.  Moving to the left, it’s Charles Oxman . . .


was built by Pusey & Jones in 1940 and originally called H. S. Falk., and looked like this below, which explains the unusual wheelhouse today.  She seems to have come out of that same search for new direction as David, from a post here a year ago.


The photo above I took from this tribute page. 


The small tug off Oxman‘s starboard, i don’t know.





The low slung tug that dominates the photo here is Erica, and beyond here is a Crow.


Someone help me out here?


And as far into this gunkhole as I dared to venture . . .  this one is nameless.


Oh the stories that could be told here!  I hope someone can and will.  Balladeers like Gordon Lightfoot could memorialize these wrecks in a song like “Ghosts of Cape Horn,” which inspired a tugster post here years ago.  And looking at the last photo in that old post, I see Wavertree, which leads me to this art- and detail-rich site I don’t recall having seen before.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.


I have not been back to a closeup of the scrapyard in the Arthur Kill since last spring, but recent correspondence both in the comments area of the blog and private and directly to me prompt this revisitation.  Click here to see the original post from August 2011.  Let me just add that this vessel–Bayou Plaqumine–was originally called Junior Mine Planter (JMP) MAJOR ALBERT G. JENKINS, built 1921 in Bay City. MI.  She didn’t become Bayou Plaquemine until after 1951.  The photo below shows her location since the early 1970s.


Here’s the view looking northward from Plaquemine‘s bow, and


from a slightly different vantage point.


and in the opposite direction.


Here’s the text of an email I received last week and for which I am very grateful.  “The Jenkins (aka Bayou Plaquemine) was captained by my grandfather, David B Nettles; the Jenkins was used to tow gunnery targets for the Navy and the shore batteries to take target practice with back in the 30’s in addition to her other duties while stationed in Pensacola, FL. My uncles and father all spent time aboard the Jenkins during their childhood and young adulthood. There was a second vessel stationed there as well,  a twin sister of the Jenkins. I have photos of both.  In fact I have one of the bronze bow emblems that was mounted to the Jenkins bow.  I know she was docked at Fort Barrancas and at times Old Fort Pickens. I grew up with many stories about the vessel being shared. The family is all gone now but me and cousin or two. So the stories are all but gone now.”

Cold and damp winter weeks are a time to celebrate the past by telling its stories and sharing photos of its many faces.  I hope this prompts more sharing.


I’ve paid attention to the recent activity on the blog in relation to “189 Ghost Ships,” including a question I received today about anyone having photos of the ghost fleet maintenance crew, including 85!! civilian employees.  I’d love to see and post some of these photos if you are willing to scan them and share using my email address on the upper left hand side of the main tugster blog page.

By the way, sometimes conversation happen on the FB side of this blog;  I’d rather they happen here so that archiving of comments is more certain than on FB.

All photos here by Will Van Dorp and taken in May 2010 and August 2011.   If you want to see more of the scrapyard and a few of the stories, please order Graves of Arthur Kill.  Click on the image of the DVD to get ordering info.


. ..  to paraphrase Mark Twain …are highly exaggerated.

What?   . . . you ask?  Well, click on Auke Visser’s link.  You’ll see a foto of her being raised after a sinking.   Then follow through to the phrase “disposal date.”

September 2005.

Ticonderoga looks pretty good for being technically scrapped.



I took these pictures in December 2013, earlier this week.

Check Auke’s link:  she was built in Baltimore in 1954 and had sailed as Socony 9, Mobil 9, and Exxon’s Ticonderoga–her name when she ran aground and sank in 1992.


. .. that gray vessel on the Jersey side just north of the Outerbridge, we know what it is, and


that’s Vulcan III at its stern, but what is it doing in the Arthur Kill portion of the sixth boro?  Just curious if anyone out there knows . . .  Here and here are more sites on IX 514.


And this from l’amiga . . . Frances pushing north and Captain D pushing south . . .


kind of a reminder me of a Dr. Doolittle character . . .  pushmi-pullyu . .


I hope a reader can clarify above vessel and procedure.

The first two fotos come compliments of Tony Acabono, and the last two by l’amiga, both of whom I’m grateful to for passing them along.

And to paraphrase the former vizier of defense, there are known unknowns and unknown unknowns . . .  as in these two additional fotos from l’amiga.


I know this is Grey Shark, but will the trucks onboard come back?   What if anything is in them?  If they return, will they be empty?


Any answers to any questions would be quite satisfactory.

Over six years ago, here was the last time I used this title.  At 09:23 this morning, E. R. Denver was at Howland Hook as an outbound tanker eased by.   E. R. seems to have been created by erasure from MaERsk.


. . . nine seconds later, it’s


Mount Everest.


This is serious, precision navigating,


with even less tolerance of errors because of the channel work, and


surrounding traffic, like Kristy Ann Reinauer and Paul Andrew and dredge units.




This short stretch of Arthur Kill, where serious dredging is enlarging the channel, were featured here and here (a blast!!) back last October.   I’m not given to playing video games or using simulators, but if such a thing were available, I can imagine spending time playing “games” imitating professionals piloting different types of vessels through ports of the world in every sort of conditions.  Hats off to the professionals.

All fotos today by Will Van Dorp.


It’s been over a year since I’ve used this title . . .  I worry sometimes that someone I catch in the act of working might feel intruded upon. Such is the farthest thing from my intention.  I’m certainly not the first or last to state there’s dignity in labor, whether it’s performed indoors or out.

Here Doubleskin 37 approaches NYK Rumina (named for the goddess of breast-feeding mothers!!!) as

day breaks to refill

the bunker tanks;  Coral Coast (1970, McDermott, and attractive) in pushgear.

Green Bay shuttles between dredge and

shore, throaty as she pushes water.

Paul Andrew seems headed for a shore base as well,

as Sarah Ann heads for Newark Bay

with a deck barge.

Scott Turecamo pushes New Hampshire into the interior of Arthur Kill land.

And Maria J moves a crane barge in

the same direction.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp, who’s mindful that for every member of the crew outside, there are possibly four inside.

For a bit more context than yesterday’s post . . . I visited the AK twice yesterday . . . before my “shift”  started and at a break eight hours later.  Doubleclick enlarges fotos.

At 0651, I caught my first glimpse of Bayonne’s new landmark.

I know about the “green flash” at dawn and dusk;  I don’t know if there’s a counterpart term for this yellow spear pointing to the sun’s track.

The foto below of Howland Hook was taken less than a minute after the one above;  looking southwest v. east makes an amazing difference.   And this difference is much more noticeable on fotos than to naked eye.  I like the pink clouds in the orange morning.

Watching this diving bird (grebe) was part of my prep for a long work day.

At 1442, I took a break, and headed down the street to revisit the AK.  Marie J Turecamo (1968, ex-Traveller) was southbound on the Kill as Matthew Scott headed for the dredge.

And another type of orange flowed onto the scene . . . 830′ x 144′.

Eagle Beaumont, escorted by Bruce A. McAllister (1974, ex-Ellen F. McAllister) and McAllister Responder.

Thirty-six feet of her below the surface of the AK,

regally she passed, a huge cistern

to be avoided by all traffic

all around.

By this point, I was about halfway through my break.  More tomorrow.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Call this a 4000+ word post.  Arthur Kill is the complement of the much referred-to KVK, and it’s gorgeous, here at sunrise, just before 7 am.

I hope you agree what they say about the picture-word number correspondence.  If so, this post has about 4,058 words.


Here’s a dismal afternoon, 14:45 brightened by Eagle Beaumont.

More fotos of Arthur Kill orange tomorrow.

For a walking  lunch, the  crescent along the Elizabethport side of  Arthur Kill ‘s northeast end tip satifies.  It’s no picnic, but many worse places come to mind. 

Yesterday I arrived, sandwich in hand, at 1:07, to catch Evening Tide headed for Newark Bay following

Evening Mist.  1:09

By 1:32 I had reached the end of the park and glanced at Mariner’s, where Maryland lay.Pegasus rounded the bend at the east end of Shooter’s and passed me at 1:36

1:40    Turecamo Girls and

(1:41)  Gramma Lee T were returning from a ship assist I must have missed.

1:43  Meanwhile, Patapsco and McAllister Responder headed southbound into the Kill.  1:44

McCrews, which I’ve never seen before, headed into Newark Bay.  1:44

All fotos yesterday by Will Van Dorp.  Now I mentioned the “crescent” earlier because this “park” where I walked was once a shipyard.  Crescent Shipyard made submarines;  fotos here.  It went by other names before and after, but of them all, now there is no trace.  Seems a shame.

From Howland Hook to the parking lot at my job takes about 10 minutes.  On a clear morning, a quick stop across from the port gives me ballast I need for whatever I might face at work.  What I wrote about dawn here a year and a half ago still holds.    The ship here is NYK Rigel, which I wrote about here last year.  It departed the sixth boro last night after the “tornado.” It spent about a day in Howland Hook after having left Qingdao, Ningbo, and Shanghai … in mid -August.  Today, those containers are starting to fan out across the eastern US via truck and rail.

The gantry operator has a fantastic vantage point but a schedule that prevents him from stopping to enjoy it.

I linger across the Kill and watch the light play first here, then there, on

countless surfaces.  Differing areas light up almost like the

sounds made by fingers crawling around the keyboard of a piano.

Even later in the day, reduced light is not a deprivation; darkened or even bleached out

light invokes magic.

Here’s a light post from last spring.

All fotos today by Will Van Dorp.

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June 2023