Arrivals and departures
The first day of May brought some notable arrivals and departures from the piers along the west side of Manhattan. Leaving early Monday was the Dutch frigate HNMLS Holland, which spent a few days tied up on the north side of Pier 90. She appeared to be heading for home to Europe after some months on station in the Dutch Caribbean.
Also having left at some point over the past few days was the GCS230 barge, which spends winters moored at Con Ed’s Pier 98 fuel dock. GCS230 was the last vessel afloat to have been built at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and it spends winters tied up at Pier 98 storing back up number 4 oil for the 59th Street Steam Plant, which mainly burns natural gas but occasionally relies on oil during peak winter demand. GCS230’s departure is yet another reminder of the arrival of spring.
Genesis Energy’s tug Valiant also left town with its tanker barge on the wire, heading for sea and signaling a return to the Paulsboro Refinery on the Delaware. Valiant arrived on the Hudson Friday from Philly with a light barge. Friday night, they were down in the narrows, lightering a cargo from the tanker Pro Onyx, recently arrived from Amsterdam. After anchoring through the stormy weekend off Yonkers with the laden barge, they now appear to be heading home, with a cargo of European refined products heading for the mid-Atlantic market. Meanwhile, Pro Onyx has docked at the Shell terminal in Sewaren, presumably delivering the rest of the cargo to the New York Harbor market.
In the arrivals column was the brand new US Navy Littoral Combat Ship Cooperstown, docking at the south side of Pier 88 ahead of a commissioning ceremony scheduled for Saturday. A new Coast Guard cutter, the Warren Deyampert, also arrived. Deyampert was commissioned in Boston in March,
and may be in town for the Cooperstown ceremony. They docked at the end of Pier 86, the Intrepid Museum pier.
Meanwhile, skies cleared Monday after two days of drenching rain, but the North River anchorages remained crowded as wind gusts above 40 knots continued to whip up seas on the Harbor.
Tug/barge anchorages on the sheltered North River were in high demand Sunday after a weekend of steady drenching rain culminating in thunder storms. Recreational activity was virtually nil and even commercial traffic seemed light. Genesis Energy’s Valiant arrived in New York Harbor Friday from Philadelphia and anchored for a bit with a light barge off 125th Street. Valiant later returned to the Narrows where AIS data showed them doing a do-si-do with the tanker Pro Onyx, recently arrived from Rotterdam. When Valiant returned to the River on Saturday, the barge was clearly lower in the water, suggesting they had lightered an oil products cargo from the Onyx. Valiant went on to anchor off Yonkers for the balance of the weekend, and the ultimate destination for the cargo remains unknown.
Other arrivals on the River included a Dutch frigate, which spent the weekend tied up at Pier 90. The privately-owned Dutch clipper ship Stad Amsterdam is currently docked at South Street Seaport hosting a trade delegation, and possibly the visits are related.
The Usual Suspects
The final week of April has seen very typical traffic on the North River, with perhaps a heavier than usual parade of military flights passing overhead. Temperatures have been unseasonably cool, with rain coming for the weekend.
Sunday brought typical fare, a collection of tanker barges and hoppers pushed by tugs from various competing towing companies. Norwegian Prima arrived at Pier 88 after Epic left for Europe the evening before. The expedition cruise ship Ocean Explorer docked on the south side of the pier.
Ahead of a storm
Saturday saw familiar traffic passing on the North River, with oil product cargos moving north and quarry output moving south. Stephen Reinauer and William J. Fallon both arrived on the River ahead of a line of storms expected to pass through in the evening. Norwegian’s Epic arrived in the morning fog at Pier 88, en route from its winter cruising territory in the Caribbean to its summer grounds in the Mediterranean. Winds were brisk, gusting up to 20 knots out of the northeast.
There is more than striped bass in the North River. On Friday morning, a regular named Louis caught a nice looking catfish with a waited hook and bunker as bate. Later, a trip off the River to the Rockaways via NYC Ferry provided an opportunity to observe activity in the Upper and Lower Bays.
Things got off to a busy start at the Manhattan cruise terminal Thursday morning. After the Viking Octantis departed for the Great Lakes just before midnight, Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Dawn, and the Italian ship Costa Deliziosa all arrived in quick succession, stopping in New York in transit to Europe. Vane Brothers and Centerline tugs arrived with bunkering barges, and Moran tugs and Metropolitan Marine’s Pegasus were on hand to assist with docking. By evening, both Breakaway and Dawn had departed, with the former Bermuda and then Southern Europe-bound and the latter turning left for Halifax, then Iceland and the UK. Deliziosa was set to remain until Friday before continuing its transit from Chile to summer cruising grounds in the Mediterranean.
Meanwhile, tanker barge traffic was light, though a foreign flagged tanker did pass through after sundown, heading for sea after seemingly discharging a cargo of Spanish refined products in Rensselaer. A large posse of small FDNY alpha boats congregated near the GWB in the afternoon, more than would be typically seen at an actual fire, and presumably involved in some spring training exercise. The boats then seemed to be running laps around the circumference of Manhattan.
The wing surfer was back on the North River off Riverside Park South for a second day, despite continued high winds. But this time he must have appeared to be having difficulty, because someone called for help on his behalf. The Harbor Patrol boat came up from the cruise terminal and so did Marine 1’s “alpha” boat. At first he seemed to decline any assistance, and the FDNY radioed back to their dispatcher that he was fine, but then he seemed to change his mind, and clambered aboard the NYPD for transport back to his boat house.
Aside from that excitement, activity observed on the River was not particularly notable, with the usual mix of tanker barges and hoppers observed. The small (though still 600’s long) cruise ship Viking Octantis was docked at Pier 88, mid-transit from Fort Lauderdale to summer cruising territory on the Great Lakes.
Mid-April traffic remained fairly light, with cement still factoring heavily in the mix of observed cargos. A foreign flagged oil products tanker came through Tuesday morning, arriving from Hamilton, Ontario and signaling Albany. Hamilton is not a refinery port, but the tanker was riding high in the water and its possible it was heading up to load a Canadian-bound ethanol cargo, though it could also be carrying an agricultural product.
Saint Emilion anchored off 72nd Street with a light barge after returning from Albany, but then handed the barge off to Evelyn Cutler on Tuesday and headed for Bayonne. Temperatures were pleasant but winds were brisk, with gusts above 20 knots keeping sailboats off the water on Tuesday. The 79th Street Boat Basin has been in the news lately; see my article in the West Side Rag for the latest details.
The weekend passed with fairly typical traffic, with cement and possibly ethanol notable cargos as we transition away from heating oil season and head into summer driving. The cruise terminal was also busy, with Norwegian Getaway and Gem in town Saturday and Prima visiting Sunday. After a work week which featured record April temperatures in the 90s, things cooled down for the weekend with storms moving through Saturday night.