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That vessel in yesterday’s post was the 1983 Curaçao-flagged Mighty Servant 1, a semisubmersible heavy lift ship that hung around the sixth boro for much of December 2011.  As of this posting, Mighty Servant 1 is traveling between Shanghai and Singapore.

“Semisubmersible” in this case means  she can ballast herself so that large and heavy objects can float into place above her “flat bed” deck.  When she deballasts, she lifts those objects out of the water.  To deliver these same objects, the sequence is reversed and whatever heavy floating object floats off.   I recall that while watching this process, which is very slow, uninformed folks near me watching it thought the USCG should be informed of a sinking ship in the boro.

Notice the clear deck area above and then below, large barges–sold to foreign buyers–being loaded over cradles. 

Besides barges, two large tugboats were also floated onto the deck.

Centurion was an Invader-class Crowley tug from 1976 until this sale to Nigerian interests in 2011.  Hercules was YTB-766 from 1961 until 2001, when it was sold to Boston Towing and renamed Hercules, a name it carried over to Nigeria. Charles A. and Gabby still work in the boro.

 

Once loaded, the deballasting begins and the underside of the vessels become visible and dry

How tall are you?  That’s an 11′ diameter prop you’re looking at.

Once loaded correctly, a few days went by to snug all the cargo for the crossing.  For some scale, the barge nearest us, RTC 90, is about 364′ loa.  Also in the photo below, bottom right of the Empire State Building, that’s QM2.

All photos, WVD, who at this point headed south, so I’m not sure which day they departed for Nigeria.

For recent photos of another cargo on Mighty Servant 1, this one for SpaceX, click here.  And a USN job, click here.

 

Ten years ago, the lower Manhattan skyline looked quite different.  A vessel bringing orange juice from the southern hemisphere was also a smaller one;  the 1985 Orange Blossom last sailed into Alang six and a half years ago, and if you don’t know what that means, click on the Alang link.  As it turns out, I may have caught photos of her last voyage inbound  Port Newark here.     Orange Blossom 2 completes her most recent voyage today, arriving in Santos BR–read this link for some superlatives–after departing the sixth boro on November 13. 

I’d thought 1976 Barents Sea was a goner, a reef candidate, when I caught this photo of her running after a long hiatus, but she was thoroughly rehabbed and lives on as Atlantic Enterprise.

The 1970 Evening Tide below was nearly 40 years into her career with Bouchard;  she’s now a Stasinos boat but her superstructure still painted in this brilliant red.

Laura K Moran–launched 2008– was among the top horsepower assist tugs in the harbor then.  She currently works in Savannah.

The 1981 McKinley Sea is currently laid up, carrying Kirby livery.

Ice Base and I had a misunderstanding;  upon first seeing her and lacking at that time a smart phone with AIS, I read her name as something different that I can no longer un-see. She’s currently in the port of Quintero CL, 50 miles north of Valparaiso, with the less ambiguous name of Cabo San Vicente.

Back in those days I often took advantage of the walkway along the west side of the Bayonne Bridge, something I’ve not done with the new walkway.  Note the absolutely ship-shape Gramma Lee T Moran as seen from above assisting 

NYK Romulus with Margaret Moran standing by.   Margaret is still in our fair boro, Gramma Lee is in Baltimore, and NYK Romulus is currently in Southampton UK.

The 1973 Amy Moran has been sold out of the fleet, and was last in the Jacksonville FL area wearing Stasinos tan and green as John Joseph.

And tomorrow I’ll post a part B of December 2011 retrospective, building on the odd orange vessel shown below.

All photos from December 2011, WVD, who’s astonished by the amount of change in a decade.

 

 

Note:  The barge in the link has been reported as RTC-105, but I’ve gotten some notes saying it is not.    Sorry I can’t positively say either way.

This isn’t going to end well, but you may remember this post from a bit over a year ago.  Mighty Servant 1 came to town and left with some equipment . . . including this barge,

0aaaar1

RTC 105, 

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which went in the center of Mighty Servant.

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Other barges were loaded, one on each side, as well as three tugs, and they sailed out the Narrows and over the horizon.

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Click here to see its demise captured on video recently.  What the audio says is unconfirmed.

Fotos from December 19, 2011 by Will Van Dorp.

Thomas D. Witte . . . I did nothing to manipulate this image, no liquification, no DAP . . .

Yet another Mighty Servant 1 foto with four movers of the Miller’s Launch fleet.    As of this writing, the Mighty is still anchored at the Narrows.  Bravo on what appears to have been a flawless loading.

Gustav Schulte passes the loading on a very slow bell, partly because of the tow happening off its port bow also.

I’m not sure what this tow is . . . Sea Lion (?) and a thousand feet tailing it.  The tail boat may be Iron Wolf.    Can anyone help?

December means fishing on the sixth boro . . . here’s a newcomer for me . . . Mary Virginia (ex-Maazee).

Irish Sea moves a barge into the Bay.

Eagle Baltimore and Liechtenstein swing on the hook.

Crystal Cutler does too.

Shearwater motors out the east end of KVK headed, I believe, for North Cove.

Crystal Marie exits the Narrows.

Happy last day of Fall 2011.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.  And this just in . . . as of noon today, Mighty Servant 1 exited the Bay Nigeria-bound.  I hope the good folks on Meagan Ann get a foto they will share.

at least from what I could see, Mighty Servant 1 is packed,

all deck space is taken,

cargo is lashed and ready for travel.

Some ride the seas in a limo like the QM2 in the distance, while others

ride the pickup bed . . . or the roof racks, and catch the spray.

Here’s how she looked just eight days ago.

Buon viaggio, whenever it begins.  Or maybe rather than Italian, I should use Nigerian pidgin English:  Waka fain!

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

 

Two and a half decades ago (almost) I was entering New Hampshire from Quebec and was stumped:  the US border agent brought his face to about a foot from mine and asked: “How does someone from Massachusetts (my drivers license) and someone from Maine (her drivers license)  meet?”  I knew he wanted a short, convincing answer, and I thought in paragraphs and chapters even.

This shot immediately reminded me of  that experience:  how does a tugboat from San Francisco and one from New York end up lashed together, no longer floating,

cradled on the broad back of Mighty Servant?  The answer is . . . it’s complicated and it’ll take paragraphs and chapters to relate.

And I certainly don’t know much of the story.  What I do know is that at 0902 today, here’s what I saw.

The barges loaded yesterday were still being secured, crew fine tuning as they would a huge

musical instrument.  What music would you like the Mighty Servant to play today?

0951 hr . . .  Charles D. McAllister and Gabby Miller brought their various powers to bear on the travelers.

Centurion and Hercules have pleasingly different bows.

Note the small boat (Bobby G?) preparing Centurion’s entry.

Even Bohemia comes by.

1047 hr . . .  shoehorning is happening on the far side as Albermarle Island passes with a load of Ecuadorian fruit.

From this angle, Mighty Servant thusly loaded reminds me of an ocean going sidewheeler, like SS Savannah.

By 1047, she seemed loaded and I couldn’t tell if

the deballasting aka raising had begun.

More may follow.   All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Oh . . . sorry, Johna.  I could say I picked her up hitchhiking . .  . to spice up the story.  The truth is we were coworkers in a publishing company and that led to some fairly spiced up waterborne adventures;  we were just returning from a jaunt up the St. Lawrence northeasterly from Quebec City.   If you want more on her . . . Diana, a major true love and heartbreak, you’ll have to read My Babylonian Captivity.  Diana is not her real name.

So, I watched today until a bank of clouds slid in and turned all light monochromatic.  While watching, thoughts that came to mind included . . . “mighty patient” you have to be to load such a vessel, or watch it.

0851 hr . . .  Gabby floats all alone on the Bay . . . that bodes well.  Mighty Servant 1 has been in port less than a week.

0922h.  Mighty Servant spins with the beginning of the flood tide.  Once in place, she will be mightily served.  Note the orange tender hanging from Mighty’s port side.  I’ll call it Lesser Mighty.

And some lucky end-o-seasoners heading south catch a rare view.

0943 hr . . . RTC 105 arrives, pushed by Bruce A., house up, and then

0954 . . . house down and she leaves the barge in the able hands of Gabby and Linda L. Miller.  There’s an invisible Ellen on the far side also.

At the same moment, the orange tender aka Lesser Mighty  delivers

the tower crews to their stations to winch the load into place.

1002 . . . Lesser delivers line handlers onto the RTC 105 as well.

1021 .. . Ellen and Bruce approach

with mighty patience and care.   Note the gray towers on the far side.

1058 . . .  Note the additional Miller boat, Barbara,  in the foreground and the next barge in the distance.

1107.   Lines gets shuttled between RTC 105 and Servant by Lesser.

Whatever was the snafu, the barge gets hauled off, then back on, and line shuttling gets shifted to Bobby G.,  a small Miller boat,

who makes stuff happen,

who weaves a web, and who earns the nom-de-guere More Than Lesser Mighty Servant.

1225.  By now, the lines get snugged, Ellen, Bruce, and Bobby G move over toward the next barge.  And a thick winter cloud moves in.  With cold fingers, I leave for other projects, but the loading goes on.  Maybe I’ll return tomorrow early.

Mightily done, crew!

Recognize the profile?  The gulls swarmed as harbingers, like those that preceded Moby’s rise from the depths?  Doubleclick enlarges.

She comes in like a discriminating predator, leaving Patuxent and Brownsville to continue on their various ways.  I do wonder if any crew on those vessels got any fotos.

As she passes Swinburne and Hoffman, her anchor dangles at the ready, like a claw.

She inches into the deepwater to

settle in and lie in wait.  That’s Stephen passing far on the east side of the channel.

Let’s hope things go faster than they did six months back.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.  More soon.

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