Labor Day weekend Sunday saw many New Yorkers out of town, but on the River some less-frequent visitors were in evidence. The tugboat Hercules, normally based in Florida, came south from Verplanck with a former landing craft now known as West Bay, heading for Florida. A bit of research on the navsource.org website tells us this 1976 vintage landing craft was formally known as Bushmaster and was retired by the Army in 2003. She subsequently found work for the North Carolina Department of Environmental and Natural Resources maintaining oyster beds. A photo on the site shows a rustier version of the boat in 2017 somewhere on the Hudson, presumably Verplanck, but gives no information on what she was doing up there. Interestingly, the small tug in that photo, the Madeleine Marie, also traversed the North River today, moving a deck barge with construction equipment down to the Liberty Marina in Jersey City. It can’t be a coincidence, although the destinations of the Hercules and Madeleine were different.
Meanwhile, the Captain Brian A. McCallister, named for a company patriarch who passed away earlier this summer, is based in New York Harbor, but this traction tug spends most of its time assisting big container ships and bulkers docking in the Port. Today, though, they were on the River with a crowd on deck wearing matching t-shirts. They came up to 72nd Street and did some donuts in the River, showing off their variable pitch z-drive propellers before heading off. This was presumably a company outing of some kind.
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