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Being on inland roads for now and rendered somewhat blank-in-the-head, I’m happy to finally use these relief crew fotos.  Call this a ship-tease or port-tease post.  Look them over closely and guess the location.  Answer and stories at the end of the post.  A sub and a trawler headed for sea . . . sounds vaguely like the start of a joke?

and  Zeus enters port . . . now that sounds like a mythological tale, fractured or otherwise.  So where?

SeaBart aka Uglyships sent me these.  He writes:  “The fishing boat & the submarine pic is made by my wife in  January 2006 in Den Helder, the official navy port of the Netherlands.  The fishing vessel is obvious:  every port in the Netherlands has it’s own fishing fleet, going out on Sunday evening/Monday morning coming back Friday or Saturday.”

And Zeus:  “has 2 main engines driving one propellor, bollard pull is 101 ton, and from what I heard although she has only one prop she is a very manoeuvrable ship. Finnish flag but she had a Dutch master until he retired a few years ago. On the picture she is just entering Den Helder. She is on the spotmarket and is mostly used for rig moves, when she isn’t chartered usually she is stand-by in Den Helder. I have no idea when the pic is taken because, as I said, she is coming & going.
Den Helder is besides navy-port also the most important offshore-port in the Netherlands. The big oil-companies have bundled their supply-vessels in a pool: the Southern North Sea pool (SNS-Pool), about 12-15 vessels all operating from Den Helder, which gives a tremendous amount of traffic to and from the port, almost too much. On a daily base you see 4 or 5 suppliers coming & going and a lot of shifting  going on in the port it self. If you have a berth, then it’s not for sure that you can keep it…….very annoying!”

Thanks, Bart.  Gelukkig nieuwjaar!   And I say that and a hearty thank you to all who read, in whatever language, patois, or register you say that.

While we’re on the topic of year’s-end, thanks to my referrers, the top 10 of whom for 2009 I list below for special thanks.  A glass of whatever exuberance-bubbles I certainly owe you; please collect.

10   Google Reader

9   WordPress

8   propercourse.blogspot.com

7   samgreenfield.com/log

6   bowsprite.wordpress.com

5   intheboatshed.net

4   urban-archology.blogspot.com

3   70point8percent.blogspot.com

2   San Diego Union-Tribune, who picked up my  US Air Salvage post

1   gcaptain.com/maritime/blog

And staying on stats a moment, my top 10 posts for the year are:

10   Mermaid Parade 2009

9   Ghosts

8   Figureheads

7   More Mermaid Parade 2009

6   NYC Tugboat Race 2009

5   Mardi Gras

4   NYC Tugboat Race

3   Pleasure Tugs 2

2   Weeks and Flight 1549 Re-Emerges

1   Equinox

Now I’m not saying these are my favorites or most-representative posts . . . just statistics.

For an example of one of my favorites, how about this:  magic in the mists by the Kill.

The sixth boro has had a lot of weather this past month;  Bowsprite‘s drawing and writing about it.  I’m just trying to weather it.  And Andres has arrived.

Hmm.  “Weathering storms”  . . . now that phrase puzzles me.  Storms are weather.  Metaphorical storms that need weathering like illness or loss   . . . what does it mean to “weather” them?  Be a hurricane to a gale and outlast it?  Be an anticyclone to a cyclone?  Uglyships’ very own Zeebart sent these fotos along from the North Sea.  Here  gCaptain writes about waterspouts.

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I’m not sure how to describe my attitude toward weather, but I show such profound respect that I might just lack the uumph to weather serious storms or wild seas.   Last summer I met a Croatian sailor who’d just sailed the Gulf of Mexico through Rita.  To paraphrase his words:  “Our container vessel was a plaything tossed by the storm:  what a rush!

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I loved it!  In fact, it’s why I work on the sea rather than an office,” he stated, smiling.

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From the cliffs of Lower Manhattan, Joel Milton caught this weather, an approaching Jersey storm, downpour over Newark obscuring the Watchung ridges.

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Here are some of my weather shots . . .  Mary Turecamo (?) exiting the Narrows for sea.

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Newark Bay in April.

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Unidentified unit at the Narrows in December.

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Summer dusk last year.

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Here’s a link to the “eternal storm” over Lake Maracaibo (Venezuela).  All otherwise unattributed fotos by Will Van Dorp.

And speaking of “wild seas and stormy weather,” the latest report from mid-Atlantic says Henry had his foremast carried away.  Read all about it here.

Back last September, I wrote about a NYC christening, using bowsprite’s inimitable fotos.  Since I feel another christening approach, here’s a way to do it.  These fotos come compliments of uglyships’ usually irreverent ZeeBart and feature the ceremony for his command.  Smit Kamara, although it currently works the North Sea, was built in Singapore.  As you might expect, the christening blended the traditions of the North Sea and the Southeast Asian waters.

Take one glass champagne vessel and suspend it with Dutch-colored ribbon,

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move bladed hand near said-ribbon,

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cue up local drummers and a dragon ready to be roused,

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snip ribbon,

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release these bulbous-headed skinny-tailed vessels into the ether,

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and gush!  New vessel begins life halfway round the world from its work.

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Sister vessel Komodo followed the same path until the point depicted above, then traveled halfway the other direction toward its territory in northeast Siberia.

So I wonder how this next impending christening will unroll….

Unrelated:  A new logbook page has beamed in from obsessed Henry and the Half Moon headed for Cathay 1609.  Check it out here.

Question:  Can anyone recall ever seeing a Smit tug in or around the sixth boro?  I’ve known the name for a long time in part because of a cousin who worked for them, although as an accountant.  Smit Kamara is SeaBart’s vessel, that’s Bart of the uglyships site, a really subjective concept he has lots of fun with.  Let’s do a walk-around of Kamara while going off on some tangents.

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Smit Kamara‘s habitat is the North Sea.  See this remarkable video of storm travel on a North Sea Smit tug.  The foto below shows the “offshore access system,” designed to get people from ship to unmanned oil platforms.

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Smit’s history doesn’t go back near so far as Henry Hudson, but it’s quite old nevertheless.  1842 and started by a man named Fop.

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Vitals on Smit Kamara:  loa 230′ x 52′ x 22′ and 2460 Kw x 2, i.e., just shy of 6600 hp, built in Singapore.  It was named here three years ago.   Technically, Smit Kamara is an AHTS, Anchor Handling Tug & Supplyship.  She has a winch.  Her sister ships are Smit Komodo and the Smit Nicobar, working in Egypt and Sakhalin, respectively.

As a gesture of ownership, someone saw fit equip the flagstaff with an aftermarket  bowsprite, er, figurehead . . . er . . . figureduckie . . . enlarged in the circle.

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So, to return to my question:  has anyone spotted a Smit tug anywhere recently in a port along the western Atlantic?  Does the Donjon-Smit collaboration ever bring Smit vessels this side of the Atlantic?

All fotos compliments of SeaBart aka ZeeBart.

Take his uglyship poll here.

or “relief crew,” I suppose.  First, thanks to two of my “taggees” the other day for being good sports.  I tagged Seabart the other day, but he gave a host of excuses reasons–like being out on the North Sea at the moment–and sent me this pic of icebreaker Fennica to post on his behalf.

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Explanation in Bart’s words:  “… action picture of the icebreaker Fennica … next to the K14-FB platform in the Dutch sector of the North Sea.”  (It turns out Fennica is Finnish and larger than she seems on this foto:  loa 377′  x 82′ x 42′ and almost 27,000 hp. Here’s a Finnish site on Fennica.   Also, it turns out that five countries have divvied up North Sea petroleum exploration much as more locally fishermen have areas for weirs, beds, and pots. )

Bart continues: “We [Kamara*] had to be at the platform as well to discharge some cargo and we had to do quit a battle to get in a position so the crane could reach us, wind and current quite strong that day. In the end I had to ask her to move out a bit as the bows of both vessels were coming particularly close but also her thrust was causing me more problems……and after we moved out I had the captain circle the platform so I could get a few nice shots of her.”

Bart, thanks for rising to the occasion.  Bonnie, see what you started?

*More Bart and his vessel Kamara from the North Sea soon.

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