Storms have rolled through the New York area as we reach the middle of March, with a wintery mix on Friday followed by a nor’easter arriving Monday evening. By Tuesday afternoon, winds had shifted around to the northwest and were gusting above 40 knots, with gale warnings going into effect. Heavy snow accumulated on the northern end of the Hudson, but in New York City there was no accumulation, just occasional white-out conditions. River traffic has been relatively light and anchorages crowded during periods of heavy weather.
Friday kicked off with dual cruise ship arrivals, with Norwegian Getaway and Gem pulling into the North River terminal within minutes of each other. Otherwise traffic was unremarkable, with familiar tugs pushing tanker barges in either direction. Bad weather was on the way, with a mix of rain and snow expected Friday evening.
Signs of spring?
Thursday again saw typical River traffic and improving weather conditions, with winds abating and temperatures warming. Days start off frigid but struggle to stay cold this time of year as the sun gets closer to the northern hemisphere. Coast Guard Sector New York’s ice season has officially concluded as of Tuesday this week.
Windy Wednesday with a visitor from afar
Mid-week traffic on the River seemed light and entirely unremarkable after a more interesting start to the week, with the exception of a visiting fast ferry heading to Nyack for service. However, whipping northwest winds limited NRN observation opportunities. A bald eagle was sighted off 73rd Street but, sadly, not photographed.
You don’t need a weather vane…
A whipping northwest wind made it feel like winter again on Tuesday. Robbins Reef recorded gusts over 40 knots and a small craft warning was in effect for the harbor. River traffic slowed a bit after a frenetic start to the week but tanker barges began to accumulate at the anchorages again. Activity this week has been dominated by the Vane Brothers for whatever reason, with two more tug/barges seen Tuesday after Wye River and Pocomoke briefly anchored Monday.
Philadelphia Story and the voyage of the Baylander
Wye River arrived on the North River Monday with a loaded looking tank barge on the wire. This towing configuration is not usually seen on the River other than for tugs coming from or heading directly to sea, and, indeed, in this case, Wye River’s AIS showed it arriving from Philadelphia. This is another pattern we have been seeing in recent weeks: tugs with tank barges coming up from and returning to the Delaware River (or South River to stick with Dutch labels), and there may be some pipeline capacity explanation for why there seems to be more traffic than usual between these two big hubs for petroleum products. Once Wye reached the Boat Basin, they reconfigured to a more conventional North River setup, with the tug dropping back into the notch and then anchoring.
Another interesting move on Monday involved a ship that normally does not move at all. The Baylander is a retired Vietnam era US Navy utility boat that at one time was used to practice helicopter landings. In recent years, she has been permanently docked at the West Harlem Piers at the end of 125th Street. But on Monday, Stasinos’s Meaghan Marie came up the River and towed Baylander down to the May Ship Repair boatyard on the Kill van Kull, where they are presumably having some work done before reopening for the summer in April.
Other moves on the River Monday were more typical.
Saturday evening brought another bulker bringing Spanish gypsum up to the Buchanan wallboard plant, and Sunday saw the tanker Hanfia Lise heading back to sea after delivering a cargo of what was probably Canadian-refined oil products in Albany. Otherwise, traffic seemed light after the flurry of recent days. By the end of the weekend, all the tug/barge combinations at the North River anchorages had cleared out, leaving the River empty all the way up to Yonkers where Saint Emilion occupied its usual parking spot.
Return to work
The sun rose Saturday morning on a crowded North River anchorage, as tug and barge combinations took shelter from the overnight gale conditions. Robbins Reef recorded a gust over 40 knots Friday night, but conditions improved Saturday with clearing skies and reducing winds even as temperatures dropped a bit. Tugs in the River headed out for new cargos, with only Adeline Marie and Kristy Ann remaining south of the Bridge and Mt. Saint Elias just to the north.
Tanker barges and tugs seem to be accumulating in the North River anchorages ahead of weather coming in Friday night. By sundown, Genesis Vigilant, Adeline Marie, Patrice McCallister, and Dean Reinauer were all anchored south of the Bridge, and Mount St Elias and Kimberly Poling were to the north. Gale warnings and coastal flood warnings were in effect for Friday evening after a pleasantly warm day, with gusts up to 40 knots expected.
A foreign-flagged tanker moved up the River Thursday morning, arriving from Montreal and likely bringing a cargo of refined products from the refinery there. Most oil products move north on US flagged tanker barges pushed by tugs or articulated tug/barge combinations (ATBs), coming from the refineries and pipeline terminals in North Jersey or, sometimes, from the Delaware River or the Gulf of Mexico. But occasionally a medium range tanker like this one brings a cargo from Europe, the Caribbean or Canada. Traffic remained fairly heavy throughout the day, as early fogged cleared and temperatures climbed.