Silt Happens 2

Silt indeed happens. Witness all the work taking place up in the northeast with dredges correcting (or attempting to do so) all the damage wrought by Hurricane SANDY. Our problems stem from silt being carried down The Sound and being deposited in some now expected areas. A survey discovers some unanticipated silting in St Mary’s River Entrance channel in this particular case so Great Lakes Dredge & Dock comes to the rescue. This was a win for everyone. Dredge ALASKA was transiting from a job in Louisiana to North Carolina, NAVY needed the dredge NOW and there was time in between jobs for ALASKA to respond.


Here are her particulars:
Length: 220 ft (67.1 m)
Breadth: 56 ft (17.1 m)
Depth: 12.5 ft (3.8 m)
Overall Length: 312 ft (95.1 m)
Draft: 8 ft (2.4 m)

Operating Parameters
Dig Depth Range: 11 to 87 ft (3.4 to 26.5 m)
Suction Diameter: 34 in (864 mm)
Discharge Diameter: 30 in (762 mm)
Ladder Weight: 335 tons (303,907 kg)

Machinery & Power
Cutter Power: 1,400 hp (1,044 kW)
Total Installed Power: 11,315 hp (8,438 kW)

ALASKA was put into service in 1959. According to her Chief Engineer she was electrically and electronically upgraded in 2010. I never considered dredging to be a precision affair, I mean there is always silt being deposited, they dig stuff up, pump it somewhere. A hellacious mess is created and they leave. I couldn’t have been more mistaken. This IS precision work with equipment and computers that lend to that kind of detail.

In the back of the Operators Shack looking to starboard
Looking to port

Some view screens with SCADS of data:
In this case, the data indicates slurry density, slurry pressure, how much material moved, how fast, where it is in the pipe, etc. Amazing amounts of data for the operator to be cognizant of as he swings the cutter head left to right.

This one tracks the cutter head and it’s progress in the channel, the bottom part illustrating the rise in the bottom.

He additionally has cameras tracking these points, anchor points and other things necessary for him to get the job done. Again – NOT a job fer a flunky.

I haven’t been able to find an accurate diagram of the lay out. Five anchors total. One stern anchor with a long lead. Port and starboard breast anchors. Port and Starboard bow anchors. The bow anchors are heavily tended. Meaning Starboard wire eased while port wire is heaved in – cutter head sweeps to the right. Reverse and sweep left. Complete the sweep, heave around on stern anchor to move and reposition.

Cutter head. Ran into the replacement head on my way out.
BIG. It’s about 8′ across and those teeth are just shy of 9″ long

So the Chief Engineer (or ‘Chief’ in industry vernacular) takes me for gander inside. Chief is a PERFECT moniker as he is a Retired NAVY Chief Petty Officer who served in one of OUR boats here at Kings Bay. First thing we see is BIG RED

This is the main pump impeller that essentially sucks the material off the bottom and and pushes it to the booster station. That bad boy is 94″ across.

THAT is powered by two mains

Electric for the for all of this provided for here

MUCH like a tugboat she’s a floating engine room

These guys eat like kings. It was Friday therefore it was Seafood day. Fried fillets of Grouper, catfish, tilapia and fried MAYPORT shrimp accompanied by a seafood gumbo.

That booster station? It’s about 3 miles west of the dredge and can BARELY be made out in this pic at the end of the floating hose

Presence of the booster is gauged by the distance from dredge to beach and the quality of the slurry being moved. Far away and thick material equals need for booster.

This dredge operation AIN’T no one man show. Support services are also required. This support barge is moored inside the Amelia river and it’s sole function is to support operations by staging possible repair parts and acts as a separate work space.

There are people on the beach moving dredge spoils to replenish the beach in a CLASSIC recycling maneuver. With a peak of 3000 cu/m of material an hour it’s more than just a couple guys with shovels. Everybody wins as well – channel is cleared, essentially free material to replenish the beach and the dredge company doesn’t need to add another step to spoils removal.

Moving this whole kit and kaboodle is no mean feat. It reminds of the Supply Trains of days gone by that supported Armies. At 3 miles from the beach, that’s a lot of hose AND pipe. Hard pipe that sits on the bottom to no impede channel traffic. It needs to be moved. Haul it up, weld blanks on the flanges, pump some air in to create buoyancy, raft them together and tow them.THAT requires people. THAT requires equipment. Tug CHAMPION slings the anchor barge that is used to set/recover anchors and set/recover piping. I’m QUITE sure that don’t happen in an hour or so. And THEN, once in a new location, flanges are cut and pipes again sunk in place. Amazing.
Length (ft.): 66
Hull Depth (ft.): 7.6
Hull Breadth (ft.): 22.1
Gross Tonnage: 86
Net Tonnage: 58

ALASKA can’t move herself. Enter Dawn Services ATLANTIC DAWN
Length – 85’
Beam – 27’
Minimum Draft – 8’
Maximum Draft – 9.5’
Speed – 10 Knots

As it happened, they made the final cut when I was in the control room. With the cutting done the channel needs to be surveyed. ACoE’s FLORIDA is on hand for that

And with that It’s time to head for the beach. THAT will be done aboard crewboat COOPER RIVERShe has a flexible schedule. Shifts are from 0600L – 1800L and from 1800L – 0600L. Therefore the boat is moving crew to and from to support those shifts and to move any supplies that arrive or need to go to the beach.

SPECIAL thanks go out to Project Manager W.E. Mitchell who took GREAT care of me and made it all happen with fairly short notice.

All pix snapped by me

JED sends

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TBR2013 Out Takes

Great weekend, met some fabulous people ate some great food. Yeah, great food! Can’t get fried dough down south, they got that trash called called Funnel Cakes.
THIS was the Real McCoy

Wheelhouse of Tug BUFFALO. Take a gander at that autopilot

Peebles Island State Park is connected to Waterford via bridge. Eagles are known to roost there and truth be told I actually snapped a couple pix but they weren’t close enough to edit well enough to illustrate. I attempt to get over and take a stab at it. Of course once I get over I discover that I don’t have the lens required. I instead get these

Looking toward Erie Canal Lock #2, L-R Tug 8TH SEA, TUG44, Tug BUFFALO and Tug GRANDE ERIE. Tug 8TH SEA‘s Master, Captain Bill Curry is a Retired Navy Chief Gunner’s Mate (GMC). Yup, that’s a beloved 26’ Navy Motor Whaleboat moored outboard

A sobering item was the Hurricane Irene High Water Mark spray painted on the bridge

It’s about 7′ above the road. Keep that in mind

‘Cuz when you see THIS perspective – THAT’S A LOT OF WATER

HAD to get a T-shirt!

Tug URGER Deckhand Mike Byrnes took care of the hat part
That’s him on the settee

I wonder if I’ll get funny looks boarding a Submarine with THAT hat on my head?

All pix snapped by me, already looking forward to next year.


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TBR2013 (Day 2)

Day 2 allowed me to 1) get a better look around at the surrounding area and 2) get up close and personal with arguably the SEXIEST boat at The Round-up; Tug GOVERNOR CLEVELAND

She’s incredibly clean, her brightwork impeccable

TUGSTER would introduce me to Captain Wendy; Master of NY State Canal Corp. Tug URGER who was in absentia due to needing a new shaft.
He was quick to secure her blessing for us to go visit URGER at the Canal Corp. dry dock adjacent to Erie Canal Lock #3. NOT yer run-of-the-mill graving dock. And she wouldn’t be alone
The first vessel of her kind built for the NY State Barge Canal

Here, the Lock doors keep the water out of the graving dock. It’s not great perspective but essentially there is only TWO real walls to the dock, the doors and the wall on which URGER is leaning or DAY PECKINPAUGH is shored against in the upper pic. The other two are natural berms better seen in the above pic as well.

Further skulking about the yard would yield these snaps

Back to the waterfront where I was lucky enough witness this:

Watch the anchored skiff slowly work it’s way to left OR more accurately; Tug TOOT TOOT is overtaking ATLANTIC HUNTER II!
OOPS! That’s SMOKE coming out of ATLANTIC HUNTER II’s stack!

Note the quickwater at ATLANTIC II’s stern, she’s about to give TOOT TOOT what fer

An amazing day that was capped off with some eve MORE amazing fireworks seen from the topsides of TUG44. For a town of just over 8000 people they were some of the BEST fireworks I’ve ever seen. Period. End of sentence.

Start to Finish; STUNNING visuals. If it gets any better I don’t want to know….

All pix snapped by me, video courtesy of Capt Fred and Youtube

JED sends

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A Jolly Roving Tar at The Tugboat Round-up 2013 (Day 1)

Every year, the weekend after Labor Day the tiny town of Waterford, NY hosts the Tugboat Round-up to celebrate and bring light to the NY State Canal system, the Tugs and their importance in the building of the maritime economy after the War of 1812.

Waterford is uniquely situated at the confluence of the Erie and Champlain Canals which are currently maintained and operated by NY State Canal Corp.

For the four years I sailed with K-SEA and the subsequent friendship THAT created with TUGSTER – I was only able to experience a Round-Up from afar. Classic boats like Tug CORNELL, Tug FRANCES TURECAMO and Tugs URGER and GOVERNOR CLEVELAND were all to be admired from a distance with the help of the World Wide Web.

Until THIS year. THIS year I was able to complete the Hajj

Tugster and Bowsprite met me and my Dad on the sea wall shortly after our arrival and quickly took us in tow.

We would be hosted by Capt Fred Wehner, a sponsor of the Round-up and Captain of TUG44. We would cast off at 1200L and head for Albany to begin the Parade of Tugs. That could only be done by Locking down through the Federal Lock at Troy

Here, the Captain (far right) and members of his motley crew pose for a Bowsprite snap
(L-R: Myself, Tugster & The First Captain Dupee)

Once at the Port of Albany we were able to see Reinauer ATB DEAN REINAUER/RTC106 get underway and put to sea with the help of KATHLEEN TURECAMO

We would have to Lock back up at Troy and wait for the parade to begin. Once mustered we headed back to Waterford.
NY State Canal Corp. M/V GRAND ERIE

As the ‘Official’ Photo Boat we were granted unparalleled mooring privileges for the purposes of snapping great pix – you be the judge

On our way back up to Waterford we’d pass DonJon Tug HERBERT P BRAKE with towboat HR BASS in push gear

Tug Of The Year
Tug GOWANUS BAY (That’s her Skipper, Captain Jessica Dulong, in the bottom snap)


New York Marine Highway’s Tug FRANCES






NY State Marine Highway’s Tug MARGOT

NY State Marine Highway’s Tug BENJAMIN ELLIOT




Tug TOOT TOOT (note her WINDING KEY – it moves when she’s making may)

Tug IRON CHIEF (Wood-fired steam boiler)

A final look at the wall before we would head to our berth

While he may get tired of hearing it; I simply CAN’T thank Captain Fred enough letting me and my Dad tag along. It was a GRAND time. And we still had another whole day!

All pix snapped by me

JED sends

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Silt Happens

In an effort to provide SOMETHING related to the the blog name I present Cottrell Contracting‘s dredge RICHMOND

Most of the time I catch a majority of my pix at the North End of Amelia island as that is where one enters the Cumberland Sound. RICHMOND is located in the Nassau Sound at the SOUTH end just north of the bridge that connects the South end to mainland Florida

Not sure how long they’re here for OR whose footing the bill. Now that I know where they’re at I’ll maintain a lookout.

JED sends

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A Jolly Roving Tar at Pier 15 – San Juan Harbor aka Tugboat Tuesday

Once upon a time I was stationed at Naval Station Roosevelt Roads, PR It was there that my piloting career began after a brief tour in the YTBs also stationed there. As it would happen the YTBs were outsourced in favor of commercial, locally available tugs. In this case the company was Puerto Rico Towing & Barge and the tugs were PUNTA TUNA and PUNTA LIMA. While I have no snaps of either boat – Tugster has a snap of a sister boat belonging to PRT&B’s parent company, The Great Lakes Group‘s tug MASSACHUSSETTS

As a point of reference PUNTA TUNA and PUNTA LIMA had their hulls were CAST in 1908 and 1911. They had TILLERS in their wheehouses vice wheels or NFUs. They also had only 1200HP compared to the YTBs 2000HP.

They were crewed by some pretty amazing local mariners. The Captains were Manny & Jose – Mickey & Harry. Each skipper had an engineer and a deckhand. For my last year in Puerto Rico I would work with these little boats and there very capable crews. They made sure I learned how pilot in Spanish. And they made great coffee.

Present Day.

A Facebook page that centers around tugs has varied membership. ONE of those members I would learn was once deckhand in PUNTA TUNA and Manny was his Captain. He’s currently still employed with PRT&B and when it came out that I was going to be San Juan we decided to try and meet up. I shot an email to the Ops people and had correspondence with Joel Koslin. He was the one we dealt with at the base when we set the contract up. WHile I would NOT be fortunate enough to meet up with Joel; me and my buddy DID make it to Pier 15 and our TWIC cards got us unescorted pier access.

First up, our tour guide’s boat HANDY THREE
Built in 2012
Length – 70.1′
Hull Depth – 15′
Beam – 30′
Gross tonnage – 90T

Her Captain? Friggin’ MICKEY! Guy hadn’t aged a DAY.

Built 1996
Length – 87.7′
Hull Depth – 14.8′
Beam – 32′
Gross tonnage – 99T

Built 1942
Length – 124.7′
Hull Depth – 15.7′
Beam – 30′
Gross tonnage – 197T

Built 1975
Length – 96.8′
Hull Depth – 9.2′
Beam – 30′
Gross tonnage – 180T

Sharing the pier with PRT&B was McAllister Towing, Puerto Rico Branch

I was able to snap 2 of their 4 boats:

Tug MARIANE McALLISTER was not positioned for a good snap and tug JANE McALLISTER was in absentia

Built 1974
Length – 109′
Hull Depth – 16.3′
Beam – 29′
Gross tonnage – 243′

Built 1986
Length – 115′
Hull Depth – 15′
Beam – 34′
Gross tonnage – 192′

All in all, Tugboat Tuesday goes in the WIN column

JED sends

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A Jolly Roving Tar en El Viejo San Juan

So I’m vacationing on Puerto Rico with my family and some friends. I once was stationed here for three years (1997-2000) at the now closed Naval Station Roosevelt Roads. My wife’s family is from the northwest, in the town of Arecibo. Since we’re here with friends, we’re doing the TURISTA thing and hitting all the hot spots. Old San Juan is one of those spots aka El Viejo San Juan. One of the key landmarks is El Castillo San Felipe Del Morro more familiarly known as ‘El Morro’

Some neat viewpoints can be gained from inside the Fort as well – to include this, the oldest cemetery on the island

And the odd interloper

When WHAT to my wandering eye did appear? An inbound tug and barge

And her date was standing by

The former exYTB805 OCALA now known as Mcallister Towing’s BETH M McALLISTER

Inbounder has shortened up at this point

She’s Crowley’s Tug SEA HORSE with MEMPHIS BRIDGE astern

In the channel now she’ll require some assistance to make her berth

Just off her berth they’d be met by Puerto Rico Towing & Barge’s Tug HANDY THREE

But those pix will have to wait

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