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May Day!  It’s a busy day without access to my archives.  May 2011 . . .  Urger in Lyons NY, waiting for the dry dock to flood.

Back in the sixth boro, it’s Elk River and Siberian Sea…eastbound at Con Hook, and  

near the same location, it’s Lincoln Sea and Eastern Dawn, both westbound.

Greenland Sea . . . also westbound.

Barbara McAllister has long gone from the boro, as have some of the vessels above and below. 

Others, like Eagle Service, have been renamed. 

This Ken’s Marine Service boat I saw once, and I’d still love to know the story and current disposition.  Anyone?

Shelby Rose is still in the boro, but when I last saw her at a dock, her vivid livery was greatly faded.

Gazela is still in Philly.  She arrived here in May 2011 to dock at Atlantic Salt, I believe, in a driving rain.

And in late May, the orange Blue Marlin arrived in town for the longer-than-expected loading process of some boats sold to Nigerian interests. If I recall correctly, that Trumpy (?) yacht is still in the boro.

Happy May Day . . .  smell the flowers, work in the garden, or even dance around the pole today if you are so inclined.  Or, you might choose to adopt the May Day tradition of  University of St. Andrews students in Scotland . . .

All photos from the archives . . .  WVD. 

aka Blue Marlin‘s Vigorous cargo, with all photos and most text by Seth Tane, whose painting site has long been linked to this blog AND who took the photos of the sixth boro during the 1970s and ’80s that he and I collaborated on last year in the 10-post series I called “sixth boro fifth dimension.”  By the way, the dry dock will be the largest in the US, built by ZPMC.  Do you recall hearing of them here and in other posts like here and here?


 On the bow, Foss’ Pacific Escort.  On port, Tiger 9.  The view is from the St. John’s Bridge.




On the stern is Shaver’s Sommer S.   That’s the city of Portland upper left.


Ahead is the BNSF drawspan. They’re going to crane lift a few bits and pieces at the Vigor Swan Island shipyard (Click here for photos I took there last year.) and then transit back under the bridges to a deep hole off terminal 4 to float off the dock where they have the required 50′ draft.



Here’s the side view.  Recall that it was Blue Marlin that returned a damaged USS Cole from Yemeni waters.


Many thanks to Seth Tane for these photos.  Click here for another look at his painting.


Entering Guanabara Bay, it’s Wilson Sons PSV Tagaz.


Inside the Bay west of the Rio-Niteroi Bridge and with the Christ statue atop the peak in the distance, it’s Olin Conqueror.


Lined up here are C-Enforcer, Olin Conqueror, and Wyatt Candies.


Identifying fotos of this densely- parked anchored gets complicated, but this is clearly Skando Mogster, Blue Marlin, and  . . . I think . . . Sudaksha.


Here looking toward Niteroi is DSV Wyatt Candies.


All fotos yesterday by Will Van Dorp, who has a lot to learn about these vessels.   Any errors are entirely my own.

Here are my posts from June 2 and 3 last year.  It was the day Maltese Falcon stooped across the bay with all sail set, sending the orange boat in the foreground to flee in panic, as if prey.

Crew on the barge pushed by the McAllister tug to the left clock it at nearly 20 knots before

she douses her sails, at the push of a button and cruises past a Blue Marlin in Day 12 of a prolonger loading.

It took ten more days to have the load secure for departure.   A day-by-day report of that loading process is in the “Tale of Two Marlins” link to the left.   Since that trip last June, two more Dockwise vessels have taken US equipment over to West Africa.  Today, Blue Marlin is anchored off Malta, Maltese Falcon at the dock in Genoa, the former Reinauer tugs work off Nigeria.   So far I’ve gotten no response to requests for fotos from Nigeria.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

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?

Text . . . almost as illegible as hieroglyphics . . . frustrates, but this is

“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?”

For me, this is new territory.  Can you make out the text?

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.

On July 25, I gave a presentation to New York Ship Lore and Model Club along with Rick Spilman, Carolina Salguero, Jonathan Atkin, and Ed Fanuzzi. Here is my slide show. Enjoy!

Click the “full screen” button to view a larger format and manually control slide-advance speed.

I previously posted on Blue Marlin in “Like Groundhog Day 1–6.”  I plan to leave this post on the left sidebar of the blog for a while.  And keep your eyes open:  Blue Marlin should return to the sixth boro within a week for Load #2.

aka Bowsprite . . .  and kudos for seeing and helping us see with your pen and brush and bamboo sticks, rendering all manner of floating things . . . some that

roar, some that sink and

and rise and sink and rise or open and shut and open and  . . .  ;

others that swivel and heave and sway.

They’re all treasure maps to me . . . and now KUDOS to you for passing your first 100,000 hits!  It’s not about the numbers, but the number do affirm the appreciation.

The harbor . . . the sixth boro has enough nuggets like this on Coursen and Minue (doubleclick enlarges both this “digital ark” image and all my images here)  for the next 100,000 and then the  next hundred thousand 100,000s of posts after that from your sketchbook.

In the next week or so . . . Macys and Grucchi may be feting your accomplishment . . . .

If you LOVE Bowsprite, drop her a line . . .  on second thought . . .  belay that–because she might just cleat it.    If you LOVE Bowsprite, write her.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Slightly related . . . check out this fabulous new installment of Pat Folan fotos, including one of COW, a “new” tugboat in the harbor.

Unrelated but interesting from today’s NYTimes:  road art of Pakistan .  .  . but this truck decoration custom suffuses many other countries as well.

But first, see this fabulous set of Flickr fotos of Cangarda, which by now must have passed through the sixth boro . . .

and  . .  from Old Salt Rick, let’s remember today is International Day of the Seafarer.

The waters aka the sixth boro provide the best vantage perpective on many aspects of New York:  the bridges, the architecture, the skyline, even shoreline traffic congestion.  In this shot, Margaret Moran (1979) steams southbound beyond the GW and its red lighthouse as it approaches the Upper West Side.  Dominating the scene for many seafarers, the Empire State Building (ESB), the city’s premiere landmark, señal numero uno,  for the better part of a century.  Anyone know what a premiere Moran vessel assist tug was in  1931 when the ESB was built?  Did you realize the ESB drawings were generated in just two weeks because it had a prototype . . . the Reynolds  Building in Winston-Salem, NC?  (Doubleclick enlarges.)  Some part of the ESB appears in every foto here except the last one, which I didn’t take.

With never-retired Patty Nolan (1931!! same vintage as the ESB) westbound on the East River in the foreground, the background shows the towers of LaGuardia Airport to the left and

ESB immediately to the right of the house.  If you’re wondering why this rear view of Patty, well, she has not yet received her new bikini and–in the interest of tugster’s temporary prudishness, I couldn’t possibly reveal her nudity.  For bikini donations, please email me.

Adirondack  II (1999) scuds along while sails get trimmed.

Miss Yvette (1975)–now fully red–heads eastbound on the East River.

A. J. Meerwald‘s schedule shows them in Bivalve, NJ, two days ago, but I’d identify them as northeast bound entering Long Island Sound, leaving a gray smudge of ESB way behind.

Blue Marlin is 13 days out, as of this posting;  her image will stick in my brain until she returns.  Here the loading that seemed endless about three weeks back.

Dawn foto taken just south of Miller’s yard  captures night lights still blazing on Manhattan.

Leaving Chelsea Piers southbound, it’s replica vessel Manhattan.

Another foto of Dominican cocoa being unloading from Black Seal.  For an excellent set of fotos of the entire project, click here for an inimitable Flickr set.

To round this post out, let’s back to Margaret Moran, making her way south along the Upper West Side.

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

This “foto” is a capture from Carlito’s Way, the 1993 De Palma film.  This Kosnac tug passes in the background as the Sean Penn character leaves the prison barge Vernon C. Bain.  Can anyone identify the tugboat?


It’s day 24 for Blue Marlin in the the ever-fascinating sixth boro, and I had NO intention to pick up this thread again, since I’d gone down to the Narrows today expecting a story about a certain three-masted schooner, which I hope to get to soon . . .   as that story emerges from the haze . . .  .  By the way doubleclick enlarges and MSC vessel departing is Rachele, Baltimore-bound.

But at 6:43 this morning, I had finally positioned myself on the sunny through more distant Brooklyn side.   The load looked fine to MY eyes, and when

at 7:45 McAllister Girls and Amy C McAllister showed up, I imagined they would assist the loaded Blue Marlin up to OwlsHead or maybe out to sea.

Then Charles D showed up at 8:11 and –to the astonishment of the spectators, including me, on the Brooklyn side–

at 8:35 offloaded the aftermost three barges!

After stemming the tide a bit under the  VZ Bridge, at 9:19ish the three tugs re-loaded

the shuffled barges from the starboard side.  This foto taken at 9:25 shows the task nearly done.

The sixth boro . . . as I’ve referred to these waters since early 2007, when the concept emerged for me, offers endless delight:  a scene like the one below has never before aranged itself.  That’s Jerko in tow;  you might remember seeing the other side of Jerko–then moored in the Gowanus Canal– in the eighth foto of this post.   Jerko, now gallivanting the harbor and bound for cleaner waters, shows a more photogenic side.

By now I had to go, because I really had other things to do, but I decided to stay for a money shot, Blue Marlin spinning with the tide around midday, showing off its load.  This foto shows what might have been the logic of the reload:  now the seven barges all have their notches on Blue Marlin‘s starboard side.

In my June 3 post, I shared comments I overheard over on the Staten Island side here (scroll down a bit).    Today I overheard the following Brooklyn conjecture:

“I’ve never seen barges like those . . . they’re catamarans or something.”

“See those oranges buildings in the water over there . . . they must be testing something.  The buildings go up and down in the water.  I’ve never seen anything like it.”

And my favorite:  “They’re checking something under the water, I think.  Maybe they’re even looking for oil.  Imagine that, oil right here in New York harbor.”

12:37 . . .  this is what I’ve waited for, the “overhang shot.”  The aftmost barge–RTC 501–is 338′ loa;  Blue Marlin is 200′ abeam.  This is what 138′ overhang looks like.

It’s only my perception, but I’m thinking of RTC 501 like Philippe Petit‘s balance pole.

I started this post referring to a three-masted schooner.  This isn’t it, but the sea’s gift is all manner of surprises . . like this two-masted schooner Corsair that entered the Narrows . . . this shot at 12:42.  Anyone know where Corsair‘s bound?

All fotos by Will Van Dorp, who’s been enthralled by Blue Marlin but now wishes it would just evolve away.

PS:  Blue Marlin will leave . . .when she’s ready.  What is this all about?  Marine businesses… like any other businesses… outgrow and upgrade  equipment.  There’s a market in used marine equipment, just as there’s a used car, used agriculture . . .etc.  market.  Reinauer has sold off this equipment (and has more equipment to sell) to a company in Nigeria, although I’ve heard people mention another, farther destination also.   A heavy lift vessel facilitates the move.

PPS:  Although I’d love to catch a boat ride to get close-ups of Blue Marlin, people’s comments about the huge orange vessel fascinate me.  I’d love to hear your comments . . . what tall tales have you heard?  I’d especially like to hear . . . even anonymously . ..  from folks involved in the loading process, either aboard Marlin or on either Miller or McAllister boats.

The tide turns, literally.  More fotos will follow.

By 6:13 this morning, the first set of barges (BFT 38 ? and RTC 41) had just been loaded.

At 6:37, the second set ( BFT 50 and Putnam ) was drifting into position.

At 6:51, this second set was slipping in ahead of the supports.

For over an hour, the remaining barges remained lost in the haze.  Lucy Reinauer arrived around 9 a.m. and began a series of slow laps around the operation.

At 11:13, as Blue Marlin began to swing counterclockwise with the beginning of the floodtide, Bruce McAllister–assisted by Megan and Ellen–matched the swing with barges RTC 501 and RTC 70.

By 11:31, Blue Marlin had swung almost 180 degrees and Bruce eased the two barges into their position on the lift vessel.  What’s clear now is how wide this load is when viewed head-on.  Elizabeth McAllister stood by.

By 12:43 Amy C McAllister  had shoehorned  George Morris  in.  Note the color difference in the V-shaped flood tide waters.  Anyone know if the color difference is due more to the difference in  temperature or in salinity?

By 12:56 the flood tide had advanced farther into the Bay.  Soon, if not already, the de-ballasting would begin.  Container ships in the distance are Ecem Kalkavan and Commander.

And with 94-degree heat and my loss of shade, I left.

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May 2021