The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Tugboat transit at Hells Gate

with 2 comments

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Hanging out at Astoria Park, waiting for the Greater Astoria Historical Society‘s “Haunted East River” tour to start, what did I spy crossing under mighty Triborough?

The John Reinauer tugboat- that’s what- moving a fuel barge north on the East River, through the bright passage at Hells Gate.

from wikipedia

Liquid cargo barges are barges that transport petrochemicals, such as styrene, benzene and methanol; liquid fertilizer, including anhydrous ammonia; refined products, including gasoline, diesel and jet fuel; black oil products, such as asphalt, No. 6 fuel oil and coker fuel; and pressurized products, such as butane, propane and butadiene, which are transported on the waterways from producers to end users.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The John Reinauer was built at Main Ironworks in 1969, and was christened the Esso Crystal River. (Esso, is of course, the brand name for Standard Oil -S.-O- Esso, later Exxon) The now Exxon Crystal River went to Reinauer Transportation in 1993. A 2,600 horsepower, 86 foot long steel hulled towing vessel, the J.R. is 27 feet wide and has a draw of 9 feet.

Check out the company’s J.R. page for photos of the ship in its various incarnations here.

from wikipedia

The terms “Tonnage” and “Ton” have different meanings and are often confused. Tonnage is a measure of the size or cargo capacity of a ship. The term derives from the taxation paid on tuns of wine, and was later used in reference to the weight of a ship’s cargo; however, in modern maritime usage, “tonnage” specifically refers to a calculation of the volume or cargo volume of a ship. The term is still sometimes incorrectly used to refer to the weight of a loaded or empty vessel.

Measurement of tonnage can be less than straightforward, not least because it is used to assess fees on commercial shipping.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Like many other tugboats, the John Reinauer participated in the evacuation of Lower Manhattan necessitated by the September 11 attacks.

(The John J. Harvey Fireboat, which was discussed in some detail in 2 prior posts- here… and here, similarly served the city that day).

from wikipedia

Immediately after the first attack, the captains and crews of a large number of local boats steamed into the attack zone to assist in evacuation and provide supplies and water.Water became urgently needed after the Towers’ collapse severed downtown water mains. The size of the dust and debris cloud following the collapse of the Twin Towers was such that it necessitated that many of these trips were navigated by radar alone. Estimates of the number of people evacuated by water from Lower Manhattan that day in the eight hour period following the attacks range from 500,000 to 1,000,000. As many as 2,000 injured people in the attacks were reportedly evacuated by this means through there were no reported injuries resulting from the evacuation itself.

Written by Mitch Waxman

November 16, 2009 at 2:56 am

2 Responses

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  1. […] busy industrial corridor in the ominous 21st century, the efforts of engineers have rendered Hell Gate tame and predictable, […]

  2. […] A busy maritime industrial corridor in the 21st century, the efforts of engineers have rendered Hell Gate tame and predictable, although one might still observe the occasional spiral eddy and acre wide pools of swirling water near the shorelines on a windy day. If one watches carefully, a variety of animals persist in this part of the river- diving cormorants are common, Birds of Prey are present as are riverine and littoral mammalia. […]

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