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First I need to make a correction:  in M2 I stated that Tigre would have traveled through the Panama Canal;  she did not because she worked out of the Peruvian Amazon in the area of Iquitos!  Thanks to Paul Strubeck for the image below.  That would have been an interesting delivery!!

Next, photos and details of the STs Matton built in the first half of the 1940s are detailed in this fabulous site compiled by by Dan Friend.

Now we jump to 1954 and this photo showing a Cleveland 498 engine being lowered into a tugboat simply named Matton, which was reefed in 1990 as Troy.

Moving forward chronologically, William Lafferty has shared these two old Kodachromes taken on a sunny late September 1960 on the Welland Canal and I adapt from his comments:  “The 1957 Ralph E. Matton has entered the lock.  The tug was powered initially by a Cleveland Diesel 12-278, 2100 hp, later repowered with an EMD 16-567C.  It hauled oil barges on the Barge Canal and Great Lakes in the summer, mostly for Seaboard Shipping Corporation and Moran’s Morania division, and fuel oil barges in the winter on Long Island Sound. Its Great Lakes service ended by 1962.” 

To add my comment, the opening of the Saint Lawrence Seaway in 1959 effectively ended transportation of cargoes between salt water and the Great Lakes via the Barge Canal.

“Bart Turecamo  purchased the Matton operation in 1964 and the 84′ x 25′ Ralph E. Matton became the Mary Turecamo and then Albany in 1972 for American Dredging Company of Philadelphia. In 1994 it was sold to Casco Bay Towing Company, Portland ME, where it was dismantled in spring 2007.”

“Following the Matton tug, the 1923 UK-built Keybar was carrying 2600 tons of pulpwood for a mill in Erie PA.    Keybar would then proceed from Erie to Oswego to load coal for Montréal, clearing Oswego 4 October 1960.   The handsome Keybar (look at those windows beneath the pilothouse) was launched 19 March 1923 at South Bank-on-Tees, England, by Smith’s Dock Co., Ltd., for Keystone Transports Co., Ltd., Montréal, a shipping firm organized by the Montreal Power, Heat and Light Company, Ltd., to bring American coal to its generating plants.  Laid up at Kingston ON after the 1961 season, it arrived at Port Dalhousie ON for demolition on 1 June 1963.”

Matton launched Everglades in 1959.     Later, renamed Captain Nelson, she shows up in this submarine assist.   That particular submarine suffered substantial damage in a Kittery ME fire, and was subsequently decommissioned.    

Everglades was Matton’s only tugboat in 1959, and their only one in 1960 was ChallengerHere she is after 1970 as Captain Brinn.    A 2012 image of her in Kingston, St. Vincent as Captain Bim can be found here.     This site claims she’s still afloat, but if you follow the location of her icon, she’s in mid-Sahara Desert, so  . . . uh, no.

Bart Turecamo was the first tugboat the shipyard produced after Turecamo had taken over the Hudson River shipyard. 

She’s still at work in Philadelphia bearing the same name, as seen in my photo from 2010.

After a series of launches for NYPD including the still extant No. 5, the yard released James Turecamo in December 1969, and she’s still works in the Albany area of the Hudson.  Has anyone seen James above the Troy Lock?

July 1971, the yard launched Mobil 1, which in 1992 was renamed Tioga and in 1993 was sold and renamed  Zachery Reinauer, still extant but I’ve not seen her in a long time.

In Sept 1976, the yard launched Largo Remo for Refineria Panama;  it eventually became Tridente and now (?) Vesca R-18.  Click on the photo below for more info.  Largo Remo is an island on the Caribbean side of Panama.

After Largo Remo, the yard produced only three more tugboats or boats of any kind:  Michael (now in Honduras as A. J. Ellis) , Joan, and Mary Turecamo, the latter in March 1983 being the very last.  Mary is alive and still working in the sixth boro, as evidenced in my photo from October 2021.

Many thanks to Paul Strubeck, William Lafferty, and the Canal Society for offer of and use of these photos.  Any errors in information attributable to WVD, and correction of such errors is appreciated.  Changes in font happen because of cutting/pasting.

Remember the Canal Society winter symposium is coming up a week from today;  I plan to be there.  Also, remember the conference in the early fall 2022.


Here’s another calendar’s worth . . . starting with Josephine.  I have many more of this bot coming up soon.

Capt. Brian heads out through the Narrows to meet a tow.

Cape Lookout returns for her anchored barge.

Nathan G delivers a brace of scows.

Ava M heads out for a job.

The “new” Kristin Poling returns to her barge as well.

Ellen and Bruce A follow a job.

St Andrews heads east and

Ernest Campbell, west.

Challenger, some weeks ago, brings a Weeks crane up for a lift.

Stephen B has some additions to her paint job since last I saw her.

CMT Pike heads back across the Upper Bay.

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who can’t believe it’s already mid-November 2019!!



It’s been a few months since number 265, so let’s catch up.

Kimberly Poling had brought product upriver via Noelle Cutler, and you can tell some time has passed since I took this photo by the foliage.

Edna A was assisting a crane barge working on the power lines near Hudson NY.

Challenger came in through the Narrows yesterday, delivering a crane barge.  A few years back she delivered what was initially a mystery cargo here.

Eli stood by as salt was transshipped from scow to large truck.

Mister T was westbound for the Upper Bay with four scow to be filled.

Pokomoke brought petroleum upriver.

Memory Motel, the original exotic,  . . . I wondered where she had gone until I saw her high and dry up by Scarano.

Betty D and Mary Kay . . .  they were docked just south of Albany.

Mary Turecamo brought container barge New York from Red Hook to Port Elizabeth . . .

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who has many more saved up from the summer and early fall.

Quick post here:  This is the best I could do with Prentiss Brown Bradshaw McKee and her barge, Challenger, formerly the vintage St. Marys Challenger.  Click here for the story of the conversion.

They departed after us and passed far to starboard.

Here headed for Ste Sainte Marie, it’s Avenger IV, another classic.

The barge is PML 9000, and I’ve no idea of the cargo, regular or otherwise.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.


Let’s go farther south–i.e., up the Elizabeth. Covered barge . . .


pushed by Gram-Me.  Coal?


Capt. Woody and Alexis of w3marine have the best logo.  See it better here. Fleetmate Ocean Endeavor was in yesterday’s post.


Lorette is one of two Norfolk tugs that used to be Moran boats.


As you can see by the livery, Ellie J is also a Norfolk tug, but although


similar, Stevens Towing’s Island Express is not.


Here’s a small portion of McAllister Virginia‘s fleet:  Nancy and Eileen.  The last time I saw Eileen she was returning a Staten Island ferry post rehab.


Vulcan construction has its logo on a number of tugs here, including Arapaho,




Capt. Ron L, and


VMC Chattanooga.


Alexander Duff is a Vane tug.


Kodiak, here I think leaving the soybean depot– used to be Vane’s Capt. Russi.


Kodiak has been in the sixth boro on a few occasions.  Here’s more of her current fleet:  Maverick, ?Southern Star?, and Challenger.


Hoss, like the boats immediately above is also an Intracoastal Marine boat. Hoss is a close relative via Wiley Manufacturing of the sixth boro’s Patricia.   Sun Merchant, which I saw here in Savannah, is a Vane boat.


Corman Marine’s Captain Mac is yet another tugboat in the Elizabeth owned by a construction company.


Camie and Cajun look alike but may be owned by Robbins Maritime and Bay Transportation, respectively.


Three Sisters seems to be owned by a family-oriented company called Smith Brothers.


Elizabeth Ann, operated by Atlantic Gulf Towing, used to be known as El Hippo Grande, a truly satisfactory name for a workboat.


And finally, we seem to have two Skanska-owned boats, Ranger and


Cap’n Ed.


All photos here by Will Van Dorp, who imagined there’d be only about 10 photos in this post about a short section of the waterway in the Norfolk/Portsmouth VA area.  For the entirely delightful travel through the area, I am very grateful to the USMMA Sailing Foundation.

A request, though.   Over by the Norfolk Dredging yard, I saw their small tug Palmyra through the trees and could not get a good shot.  Has anyone taken one over the years?  If so, could you share it on this blog?  Send me an email, please.

Finally, some of you got an earlier version of this last night when I pushed the wrong button.  Sorry about that.  I could give other reasons for that error, but it was a slip and I had not intended you to think I had started using placeholder gibberish as captions.



With a tip of the hat to Jonathan Steinman for the photo and everyone else for updates, here’s a screen capture I took moments ago.  The destination of the cargo was Charleston Charlestown Navy Yard Drydock 1.  For a photo showing the existing door . . . identical to the one that traversed the East River two days ago, click here.


Thanks all for your group sourcing efforts.  And greetings to the crew of tug Challenger. What is the life expectancy of a graving dock door?  Click here for a post I did in March 2011on the floating door to the dry dock in Bayonne.  Here’s more about the shipyard.  Also, the dry dock featured in this tugster post from almost two years ago . . . I think it’s no longer used.  ??

And for a closing photo, here’s a phonesnap from Steve Munoz from 48 hours ago, also taken with an intensely urban Manhattan context looking across half the East River toward Roosevelt Island.


I was about to put up a different post–that’ll be for tomorrow–when Jonathan Steinman sent along these photos.  As I post this, tug Challenger is eastbound on the East River, approaching Hell Gate.  The question on Jonathan’s mind, as well as mine and maybe yours . . . what is that assemblage balanced on the barge?

For outatowners, this photo is taken from the east side of Manhattan, looking over Roosevelt Island in the direction of Queens.  The red-white chimneys are part of the Ravenswood #3 Generating Station aka Big Allis.  And against the sky to the far right, you can see the tops of the towers of the Queensboro Bridge, aka the groovy 59th Street Bridge.


It looks somewhat like a floating dry dock door, but I’m inclined to guess that it’s a vessel component.


Here are some previous quite unique photos sent along by Jonathan.   Jonathan . . . thanks much.

And here was Whatzit 24.


No matter what the posts are this week, the backdrop is that around this time  three years ago I started this blog.  Now nine hundred fiftysomething (!)  posts later, the greatest gratification for me is the  sense of community I’ve gotten from my work.  I feel it!  Thanks to all who’ve read, commented, contributed info and/or fotos, and lurked.  If you’ve only read and lurked, great although I’d love to hear from you too.

Recent traffic has been heavy on Grouper, a 1914 tug that languishes upstate along the part of the Erie Canal where I grew up.  Click here for the details.  Anyone need a project for a mere $26,000?  I took the pic of Grouper in early November 2009, less than three weeks ago.

Fire Fighter, to date FDNY’s unit with the greatest gpm output,  cuts an impressive profile as she cruises Gravesend Bay.

LORO Baltic Mercur has an intriguing silhouette.

An unidentified tanker disappears out the Ambrose, way beyond the bow of barge Charleston.

Uh . .  Brendan (3900 hp), who are you trying to kid?  You’re no stand-in for Pati R, (5100 hp), at least from a “see-over” perspective even with your telescoping house.

And what you do NOT see in the offing of the sixth boro, large fishing vessels like this one, a midwater trawler like Challenger.  This foto was taken off the east end of Cape Ann.

A front page story in today’s NYTimes links Challenger and Brendan Turecamo, in a manner of speaking:  a guy catching a 157-pound bluefin from a kayak that weighs less than 30 pounds,  human-powered although it had to be registered as a motor vessel for him to get a tuna license,  Check it out; tuna have impressive bollard pull.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Here’s a herring song to hold you over til my fishing post:   version a and version b.  I prefer b.

Note:  Although I like assembling/looking at a random set of fotos, I’m aware that each one tells at least one good story . . .  only problem is that I don’t know the story, the very one that in fact I should.  These common unknowns overlay the pictures with a sense of mystery.  Maybe seeking the mysterious and exotic is why I keep doing this blog.  Of course I also do it because it completes me.

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