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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.
Remember, doubleclick enlarges. Any ideas what you’re looking at? Notice parallel “vertebrae” center left and right; right side is submerged below the “barrel,” and left side four white tips emerge from sunken “structure.” Just in case your life doesn’t have enough puzzles, I’m injecting this one.
I love easy puzzles as respite from the daily complications of life. So . . this is easy with “bayou plaquemine” on the port side bow of a wreck. Here’s what Matt (?) wrote six years ago on Opacity:
” This ship was originally built by DeFoe Shipbuilding, Bay City, MI in 1921 for the U.S. Army and comissioned as the steel-hulled Junior Mine Planter (JMP) MAJOR ALBERT G. JENKINS. The vessel and crew were assigned to the Fourth Serivce Command during World War II and homeported at Fort Barrancas, Pensacola, FL . She was decomissioned in 1951 and sold to the Oil Transport Company, New Orleans, LA. Renamed BAYOU PLAQUEMINE [Coast Guard registery 261281], she was rebuilt as a tug. In September 1966 she was sold to the Nickerson Marine Towing Company of Tampa, FL, retaining her name. McAllister Brothers, Inc. of New York, NY purchased the vessel in June 1968, renaming her COURIER. She was scrapped in 1972.”
Puzzle solved . . . . well here comes the fun: why mine planter and not mine layer . . . who was Major Albert G. Jenkins . . . are there any fotos of COURIER in her McAllister colors between 1968 and 1972 . . . and does anyone know anyone who crewed her?
“Michigan.” Here’s a quote from a tugster post last year: “Jeff identified it as “canal tanker Michigan. Built by McDougal Duluth S B in 1921 as Interwaterways Line Incorporated 105, shortened to ILI-105 in 1935 before becoming Michigan. She carried caustic soda, vegetable oil , liquid sugar and such on the Erie and Welland canals. Twin screw.” For the record, Day-Peckinpaugh was ILI-101–the prototype–built in the same year. Thanks much, Jeff. See an image of ILI-105 in her prime here.” For now, Michigan carries a load of living trees, scale, and memories; I’m guessing she went out of service before I was born . . uh . . . 1952. Seriously, anyone know when she retired? I’d say Michigan –by design and intention– slightly senior relative of Kristin Poling . . . 1934.
I hope this isn’t cheating to copy and paste, but I am reiterating info from last year and the questions it generated: ” YOG-64 was delivered to the US Navy in May 1945, arrived in the Pacific just after the end of the “9th inning,” served in various capacities at Bikini Atoll during Operation Sandstone, judged decontaminated and decommissioned, spent two decades hauling fuel as M/T Francis Reinauer, and has rested here since the mid-1980′s. Anyone know of a foto of Francis Reinauer?”
It’s PC-1217, one of two WW2 submarine chasers in slow-motion decay within the waters that make up the sixth boro. PC-1217 was built in Stamford, CT and first deployed out of Tompkinsville, Staten Island. Can anyone identify the tug to the right?
In PC-1217‘s five-year career with the Navy, it underwent one major rebuild in Jacksonville, FL after taking a beating in a “great hurricane.” Before 1953, it seems hurricanes were just referred to as great. So to get back to the “vertebrae” in the topmost foto, they are the tops of the twin HOR engines that once moved this vessel at 19 or so knots through Atlantic seas.
As for that other puzzle . . . John Watson, frequent contributor to this blog, has traced Blue Marlin to its current location: notice it moored along the great Mississippi downstream a few miles from New Orleans. I’ve no clue what’s loading down there, but if someone wants to arrange a “business gallivant” for me, I’d already packed.
All fotos today by Will Van Dorp, who feels empowered to tackle bigger puzzles after solving these. More soon. Many thanks to Ed, James, and Gary for their help.
Unrelated: Rick “Old Salt” put up a great video on short sea shipping on the Manchester Ship Canal.