You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Elsbeth II’ tag.

Given the history and range of projects of Elsbeth II, you might imagine how thrilled I was to see her for the first time yesterday.  And she has to be among a small set of working vessels based in North America with brightwork!  She truly fits under the category exotic.




I saw this tugboat six years ago in the Delaware River, but Sarah D looks spanking new  in NYS Marine Highway colors.


Happy flag day.  Do you know the significance of this date?


OSG Courageous, she’s one large tugboat and an infrequent


visitor in this port.  I can’t quite make out the barge name. Of course, she’s not as colossal as her big sister –OSG Vision–who spent some time here . . . four (!!) years ago.


Sassafras is a fixture in the sixth boro, but she rarely looks as good as she does when many shore dwellers in the other boros are just waking up.  Here she


lies alongside Petali Lady.


Mister Jim here is lightering (?) bulker Antigoni B, who seems to have since headed upriver.




And since this is called random tugs, let me throw in two photos from the Digital collections of the New york State archives . . . SS Brazil entering the sixth boro on May 31, 1951.  What the photo makes very clear to me is how much traffic in the harbor has changed in 65 years.   Can anyone identify the six tugboats from at least three different companies here?  I can’t.


Here the party passes a quite different looking Governors Island.


All photos except for the last two by Will Van Dorp.  These last two come from a treasure trove aka Digital Collections of the New York State Archives. 

Unrelated:  If you’re free Saturday, it’s the annual mermaid migration on Coney Island.


and so much more!  Never have I seen so many barges in such close proximity one to another.  What if you woke up and saw this from your bunk?


I’d thought to call this a whatzit post, but




the prime mover is a tug I’d long hoped to see . . . Elsbeth II, of the Smith Maritime fleet, and that link is to Burkhard Bilger’s article from the New Yorker a few years back.


6000 hp and three screws.




Built in Palatka, Florida, Sarah D was another of my subjects this morning, since she’s a new acquisition for NYS Marine Highway.  .


I never got her and the tow–aka Atlanta Bridge–in the same frame until here. Cargo barge Atlanta Bridge has transported some interesting cargoes.


Here Sarah D has pulled ahead of Elsbeth II.


You can see how windy it has been for the past 24+ hours in the sixth boro.




I hope there’s someone upriver getting photos of the ballasting and floating off, aka the second half of the FLO-FLO ops.



The first photo comes from Seaman Sou-Sobriquet, whom I thank;  all the others were taken by Will Van Dorp.


Do you recognize this vessel?

A clue is that it was made of scrap materials gleaned from around the sixth boro.  Although the hull leaked, the compass was positioned in the floor.

Here are galley supplies.

It’s John Noble’s houseboat studio aka “little monticello.”  For a 360-degree view of the interior, click here.

I’m assuming this is a fair use of a few fotos by Robert F. Sisson,  p. 808, showing John Noble at work on his houseboat, granting eternal life to the rotting hulks over in Port Johnston, then a coal dock and now a petroleum dock.

Here’s the issue.  If you find yourself with free time browsing in a Salvation Army store that sells used issues of National Geographic, the December 1954 issue has a fabulous article called “Here’s New York Harbor.”   It lends itself to an excellent then/now revery.

Pages 804-5 show tugboat races already then.  Much more . . .  many vintage fotos to check out.

Visit Noble Maritime too.

Check out  Erin Urban’s fine book on John Noble, Hulls and Hulks in the Tide of Time, or click here for the smaller work, The Rowboat Drawings.

The “houseboat” can truly be called an Artship, but I recently learned of a (now defunct??) project in San Francisco called the Artship, an arts space on a February 1940-launched vessel previously known as Del Orleans, then USS Crescent City aka APA 21, Golden Bear  II.  Currently, though, she’s slated to be towed to Texas for scrapping.   I can imagine at least two constituencies are sad to see this vessel go. I wish I’d be able to visit Artship before these days and this one-way journey.

Just ahead of her and already on the way, at the end of  Elsbeth II’s towline off southern California and bound for the scrappers is USS Mispillion  aka AO 105.

Many thanks to David Hindin for this info (and see comments)  apologies for the errors that I hope I’ve corrected.

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November 2021