Saturday, May 1, 2010


I noticed to day that there has been a bit of whining on this blog the last couple of posts.
Catastrophic oil spills and news reports of Tigers manners will do that to a guy.
Lots of whining will occur when it's time for me to get off and go home.
I'll lighten it up today and share with you photographically, what today consisted of.

Today was a pretty uneventful day. We lightered a ship.
Lightering a ship is a necessary evil, if these huge tankers, that sit very deep in the water, have any chance of getting to some of the smaller docks in the United States.
Smaller dock usually means shallow water.

To raise the hull of the ship so it can travel in shallower water, it must first offload some of it's weight, or cargo to raise it's depth in the water, or as is normally called in the industry, it's "draft."
That's where we come in.

Here we are tied up alongside the "Boston Eagle", an average size ship by today's standards, but she had too much draft to travel to her destination here in New York City. She was anchored just inside the bridge in New York harbor.

Not the best picture in the world, but the big white superstructure pictured above, is the ship, and the orange thing in the foreground is one of the pump houses on our barge.
Below is a photo of the ships crew disconnecting the two hoses they used to transfer 100,000 barrels of diesel oil into our barge.

The view below may give you a better picture of what I'm trying to explain.

As the ship discharges it's oil into our barge, now there is another concern.
The draft of the barge.
To make sure our barge can navigate the shallower waters, as she is loading it's heavy cargo, it also discharges it's ballast, or sea water, from her ballast tanks.
Pictured below is the barge pumping it's ballast off.

When the lightering is finished and everyone is happy with their "drafts", we let go from the ship and mosey around the harbor looking for a place to anchor, because the dock we are heading for is not ready for us yet.

Pictured above is the deck of the barge as we push it towards Manhattan.
The problem with moseying around NY harbor on a weekend, while pushing a barge loaded with millions of gallons of oil, are these little buggers pictured below.

If you want to give a tug Captain heart failure while he is pushing a loaded barge, which he barely has control of, through one of the busiest harbors in the world, then get in your little sailboat on a weekend and get as close to the big tug boat as you can and dart this was and that across his bow. It works every time.
See the guy below, cutting right in front of our bow?

Um, dear Mr sailor man. FYI.
These barges will not stop or turn on a dime.
Damn it. There I go whining again.


Frau said...

Great pictures! I love the one with Manhattan in the background. Have a wonderful Sunday!

slommler said...

Wow! Fabulous pictures!
Have a great day!

Janney said...

I thought that's what blogs were for!! lol. Sharing your opinion is not always whining... its just what you think, and your opinions are often an interesting insite.

nacherluver said...

Great pics! Makes me want to work on a boat! So does that make the little sail boats weaving in and out the Crotch Rockets of the water? ;)

beth said...

but your whining is sooooo good !

great photos....and a bit scary, that no turning on dime thing....i think i'll stick with my car which totally does do that......just like pretty woman, even though i drive a honda pilot :)

dcpeg said...

If I remember correctly, sailboats have the right of way over power boats. Too bad so many idiots own boats and sail them like they probably drive their big ole SUVs!!

Great pics and explanation. I always learn so much reading your blog!

Vicky said...

I love these posts Mark. I love hearing ship and barge talk... and seeing how things are done. I'll have to show the boys... they will get a big kick out of it. I'll bet the guy on the sail boat would feel like an idiot if he knew what he was doing to you!!

Mark said...

Peg, I hate to do this to my friend from DC....but

If a tug and barge (considered one unit when made up in push gear)is in a narrow channel, like say NY harbor, a sailing vessel less than 20 meters (about 70') IS NOT to impede the passage of any power driven vessel greater than 70' proceeding within the channel. ( when in push gear we are about 475' long)
The larger vessel (us) is expected to stay within the channel in order to avoid smaller boats.
So, in a nutshell, the small little sailboats are not supposed to be in the channel...ever.

But, if we are 50 miles offshore and come across a sailboat, the sailboat has the right of way.

Source) Coast Guard navigational rules of the road # 9 and 10.

Thank you very much...I'll be here all week!