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Captain Charles . .  1953.  Know the location?  The bridge in the background is a clue.  Answer can be found at the end of this post.


James Turecamo, like me class of 1969, foto taken just before yesterday’s planned building implosion.  By that early hour, James had already earned a fair amount of “keep.”  To see James in Turecamo livery, click here.


Hunter is something different!  She’s just towed in a dead fishing boat.  How much would a RIB like this cost new?


Catherine and Kimberly, both Turecamo, escorted Tonna up the Arthur Kill, past the scrapyard where Gary Kane and I filmed the documentary.


Jennie B, 1955, in the mighty Columbia.


Captain Bob, August 1945 Marietta Manufacturing Point Pleasant WV hull #538, is a one year younger sibling LT of Bloxom (June 1944 and hull # 519)!  Also, in this run was Mary E. Hannah and James A. Hannah, posted here on tugster in 2012.   To get a sense what Captain Bob (ex-Sea Commander) looks like high and dry–and by extension what Bloxom of Graves of Arthur Kill once did–click here.  On the vessel below, I love the green “door.”

Scroll through here and here for more LT Army fotos.


HMS Liberty 1978 here sidles up to schooner Virginia.


Linda L. Miller, eastbound of the East River.   Linda L. and Gabby Miller assisted in loading Mighty Servant a year and a half ago.


Coastline Bay Star, once known as Coney Island, dates from 1958.


Longsplice (originally Shrike, 1959) recently high and dry near the Arthur Kill.


Pilot, 1941 out of a yard in Sturgeon Bay WI, is a sibling of Spooky!


And this vessel, on the left bank of the Willamette, I’ve no idea.  Anyone help?


Getting back to that first foto, the bridge in the background is the Bronx-Whitestone.  Foto then is taken from the north end of that unique part of the Bronx called City Island.

All fotos taken in the past month by Will Van Dorp.

Very related:  I’m looking for someone (or some group of people)  to take over guest editor position of this blog for about a month this summer.  Compensation is a fortune of sixth boro shellbacks as well as fame;  you could become a paladin of the port.  You really can be geographically any watery place.  And you have to adhere to a disciplined foto-driven/sparse verbiage mix of workboats, history, eccentricity, and apolitical wit.  Of course, you can add to that a smattering of your own favorite sprinklings.

Hmmm . . . does that describe tugster?  Feel free to add to a characterization of the blog.  But seriously, I need to step away for a while this summer . . . to gallivant, of course.   Get in touch for details.   Learning the blogging template is not difficult.

The “really random” posts are just that.  I believe what follows, is.

Thanks to Jeff Schurr and Dave Boone, behold Bloxom in her better days, in this case during her life as a Pennsylvania RailRoad tug.  Bloxom has been on this blog here and here and other places.  Anyone else know Bloxom PRR fotos?

Also thanks to Jeff and Dave, Ned Moran below in work mode compared with a foto of the vessel (scroll down to the last one)  I took a few months back.   I have to say there’s so little left of the vessel now that it’s hard to corroborate their being the same vessel.

Mighty Joe (ex-Maria) in the Hughes Marine portion of Erie Basin yesterday.

This is my first ever sighting of Marquette’s  Layla Renee, defying a current trend as a Gulf boat working up here.

When I last posted a foto of  a Marquette boat, I also included one of Colleen McAllister.  Yesterday she looked powerful pulling a deepladen dredge scow.

Last three fotos here taken by Will Van Dorp, last week.  The next two come from Cheryl, an important friend from way back.  Both were taken in Holland, Michigan.  First, it’s James Harris, one of 10 Army STs built in the first half of 1943 in Sturgeon Bay, WI; and

Haskal, about which I can find no info.  The design of  Haskal looks older than that of  James Harris.  Anyone help out?

Again, thanks to Cheryl, Jeff, and Dave for contributing fotos.

Unrelated:  I’ve added a new link to my “resources”   a list of all (maybe) US-flag operators of tug and tow boats.

Thank you all for reading and commenting.  Let me pass along some of what I’ve learned.  Also, check out frogma’s latest.

Below, from Jeff S:  “The passenger vessel with the lifeboat on deck is the famous New Bedford built at Bethlehem-Quincy in 1928. See hull # 1417.  She was loaned to Britain in WW 2 and served as a hospital ship at Normandy landings.”

Guess the total number of ships/boats of all kinds involved in Operation Neptune, the Channel-crossing component of Operation Overlord.

According to the link above, Op Neptune involved more than 6000 vessels.   It’s interesting to imagine the fate of all those 6000.  Here’s a Normandy crossing tug I wrote about in 2007.  I wonder if any Brooklyn-built boats have remained in France?     Jeff goes on to say, “Earlier in the war New Bedford participated in ”decoy” convoy RB-1.   I think she has been at Wittes since about 1967. ”

Here’s another fabulous story:  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?

An as-yet unidentified tug whose upper portion of the house has now slumped back into eternal oblivion.

A very strange comment I got by email asked why I had sunk the red tugboat in yesterday’s post.  I’m innocent.  Nor did I have anything to do with with sinking.

A mile or so south of Witte’s yard is another graveyard aka tidal reef.  Most prominent there is this ferry:  Astoria, sister of Ferry Maj. General Wm. H. Hart, formerly docked at South Street Seaport.  Here’s a foto of Astoria I took last summer.

Here frogma documents entropy.

Here’s a favorite quote from a Rebecca Solnit essay:  “To erase decay …and ruin is to erase the understanding of the unfolding relation between all things.  To imagine [creation and destruction] together is to see their kinship in the common ground of change, abrupt and gradual, beautiful and disastrous, to see the generative richness of ruins and the ruinous nature of all change. …  Ruins stand as reminders.  Memory is always incomplete, always imperfect, always falling into ruin;  but the ruins themselves, like other traces, are treasures; our links to what came before.  … A city without ruins or traces of age is like a mind without memories.”

Serendipitous during our paddle “north” was a glimpse of W. O. Decker headed “south.”  We debated calling them but decided that we would cross paths if that was intended.  By the way, if the identification of Ned Moran in Graveyard 1 is correct, then Decker and Ned Moran date from the same year!   Maintenance IS everything.

On our return, we saw Decker waiting (haulout?) at the yard in Tottenville.  Decker is older than Bloxom and Hila and fortunate to have staved off ruin, traces of aging, and entropy as well as it has.  May she bob and pitch for many more years.

I wish I’d taken the profile of this vessel . . . . From this frontal shot, it looks a lot like Day Peckinpaugh.  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.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Some links to check:  ForgottenNY and Undercity and somehow I missed –if traces of it are still there–Fireboat Abram Hewitt thanks to Opacity.

Rossville itself has an interesting history spanning Raritan Indians, Ross Castle, Blazing Star tavern, and the Underground Railroad.

I read about this place almost 20 years ago in this NYTimes piece and clipped it, saved it, still have it somewhere.   The Witte family, Norman Brouwer, and Arthur Kill–all mentioned in the article–were just names then. Yesterday, thanks to fellow-waterblogger frogma (See her “graveyard posts here and here) and the generosity of  Sebago Canoe Club kayak Captain Minh to lend me a kayak, I got there.  Remember, double-click enlarges fotos.

To learn the specifics on 1944-launched Bloxom below, click here.  Anyone know of fotos of Bloxom and Hila in their heyday?

More of Bloxom‘s context.

The wooden hull steel deckhouse World War 2-era tug ATR-89 Hila.  An anonymous commenter last summer wrote:  “WW2 built ATR….this one ATR-89. Became HILA out of Jacksonville in 1949 and passed into Liberian registry by 1954.broke down in late 50′s on a voyage from Miami and eventually ended up at Wittes.”  Anyone know of fotos of Bloxom and Hila in their heyday?

1926-built ferry Seawell’s Point (right) and unidentified vessel (See Graveyard 2 for identification)  left seen frontal and from

from the opposite side.  The lifeboat still waits a declared emergency.

Wooden wheelhouse offering as template for craftsmanship of another time.  Notice Bonnie beyond the H-bitt on lower right side of foto.

A different view.  Is this what remains of the Meseck twins?  Great fotos of Carrie T. Meseck (later Susan A. Moran) at

According to a December 2006 comment by “the dude” on the fabulous Opacity site, the tug below is “Ned Moran sailed for Moran Tugs 1954-1963, the tug with a brt of 206 tons had 1040 ipk, she was 20.48 x 8.28 x 4.27 mtr and build during 1930 at A.C.Brown & Sons in Tottenville, she sailed first under the name Federick (sic) E Meseck in New York and was purchased by Moran during 1954 where she served until 1963 when she was sold to Witte’s Staten Island yard.”  To be noted, Moran purchased Meseck Towing Company in 1954.  I’d love to see fotos of Ned at her zenith.

More trip fotos soon.  Here’s a foto of Courier aka Bayou Plaquemine from two years ago.

All fotos here by Will Van Dorp.

Tip of the hat to Miru Kim, O’Boyle, and Opacity.

And a propos of nothing, see surfing the dunes of Peru here.

In the numismatic world, “pristine” means “never cleaned.”   This captures something about the beauty of the “inner coast” aka “the Kills.”  As industry moved there, particularly, petroleum, which–like it or not–is the life blood of our world culture, the Kills have served as a laboratory in which human environmental modification and nature’s reaction have struggled in a dance of action v. reaction.  Click on the fotos to enlarge them.  I admit I can’t identify a lot of this debris, so please help me out and I’ll revise this post as we go.

Between Shooter’s Island and Mariner’s Harbor lie these remnants of  . . . paddlewheels and ship’s boiler.  Osprey have recognized the strategic value of the boiler as a nesting platform and moved in.  Anyone know the paddlewheel story?


Here’s a view of the second paddlewheel.


Farther down by Rossville rests retired Army tug Bloxom (1944), which I wrote about last year.  Amazing to me is that tugs of this same era–and older–still work.


A little farther south are two unidentified wooden tugs.  Anyone know them?


In the same Witte yard, here’s another wood-hulled tug.


This interesting steel hull–on the bank off Charleston (Staten Island)–seems to have been a smaller ferry.  Anyone?


In the same collection of decrepit wrecks, notice the nest (osprey?) on the stem bitt of the vessel to the left.


More interplay of decaying machinery and nature, here with a car joining in.


Also off Charleston, and in this case, a meadow forms on the erstwhile deck.


I hope to get back here soon.  More Circum Staten Island fotos next time.  For now check out fotos of Shaun O’Boyle, opacity, and –of course–the intrepid Miru Kim.

All fotos here by Will Van Dorp.

I mean the title here as “I’d love to see more Bloxom.” John Dupee took this shot of Bloxom from the waterside,

Franz Von Riedel took the one at this link from another water angle, and standing on the bank, I took the one below. Doesn’t smoke appear to be leaving the stack?

Bloxom (aka LT-653) was built in Point Pleasant, WV, for the US Army in 1944. Can anyone point to a foto of Bloxom in service either for the Army or later? Now, it disintegrates in Rossville in the Arthur Kill.

Unrelated odds & ends: Check out the comment by “rice hauler” which identifies the cargo on MSC Alexa.

Also, more pirate action along the Somali coast.

Photos, Unless otherwise stated, WVD.

One of my favorite “ear worms,” Gordon Lightfoot’s “Ghosts of Cape Horn” has a line “see them all in sad repair, demons dance everywhere … and none to tell the tales.” New York City’s waterways have ghosts of this sort as well.


This vessel lies in the mud not far from the Whitestone Bridge.


Can you make out the masts of a submerged lightship just north of the Erie Basin in Red Hook?


Not submerged but locked into the south side of the entrance to the Gowanus Canal is this ship. A stern view, listing Rio Lobos as registry port, is visible from the Brooklyn Queens Expressway .


The Kills have a wealth of ghost ships. Short of travelling through the Kills at low tide and seeing many like the above, you can see Noble’s fantastic drawings of ghost ships that have been claimed by the kills mud at Snug Harbor Cultural Center on Staten Island. It houses the fabulous Noble Maritime Collection, the drawings of John A. Noble.


Above is a waterway view of the white-black-gray stern of Wavertree, not really a ghost ship although it has moved mostly only vertically since coming to Manhattan in 1968 from … Argentina. Wavertree was dismasted off Cape Horn in 1910 and could have become one of the vessels of the Lightfoot song; instead she became an elegantly shaped warehouse and barge in southern South America until she came to New York, where she waits in a ship purgatory.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

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May 2023