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Archive for June 26th, 2009

Working Harbor Committee 6/15/09 tour part 2

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Statue of Liberty by you.

Statue of Liberty at Dusk -Photo by Mitch Waxman

In the first part of this post: The hired Circleline company’s Zephyr Catamaran departed Pier 16 at the South Street Seaport, passed the Brooklyn Piers and moved south in the Buttermilk Channel between Brooklyn & Governors Island, passing Atlantic Basin. We went further south and nosed into Erie Basin, crossed Upper New York Harbor, passing numerous moored barges and tugs to the entrance to the Kill Van Kull, passing tanker terminals, tug yards, and a large ship repair facility with floating drydocks. We proceeded  westerly and passed under the Bayonne Bridge, turning north to enter Newark Bay.

This amazing experience is being offered by the Working Harbor Committee. These esteemed maritime enthusiasts will be hosting 3 more of these narrated excursions over the course of this summer of 2009. (some of the copy above paraphrased from the Working Harbor Committee website)

Bayonne Bridge by you.

Bayonne Bridge, New Jersey side -Photo by Mitch Waxman

Newark Bay is a tidal back bay formed by the confluence of the Passaic and Hackensack rivers, and part of New York Harbor. Its waters are a poisonous stew of arsenic, cadmium, mercury, copper, PCB’s, PAH’s, Pesticides, VOC’s, and Dioxin. Fishing is limited by law and common sense, and the harvesting or consumption of Crab or Lobster from these waters is prohibited by State and Federal authorities. 

In 1958, a spectacular train crash happened at Newark Bay- when a passenger railroad ran a “stop” signal causing a derailment. The derailed train SLID OFF of the since demolished Newark Bay Lift Bridge and into the water. The first two cars of the train sunk immediately, killing 43. The third car hung over the edge before it too fell into the bay. 

Gantry Dock by you.

Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal -Photo by Mitch Waxman

Natural wetlands until as late as the 20th century, the City of Newark began to dredge the shipping channel in 1914 that would eventually be widened and deepened into the modern Port of Newark. 15th busiest cargo port on Earth, and largest on the eastern seaboard of the United States- the combined “Port Newark” and “Elizabeth Marine Terminal” operation is controlled by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Dock by you.

Ships loading at Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal -Photo by Mitch Waxman

A container port, the cyclopean scale of the machinery found in this place was both notable and mind boggling. How the arts of man have progressed. This particular container ship is the Ever Reward, run by a global outfit based out of Taiwan called Evergreen Marine Corp. Evergreen got into some trouble, back in 2005, and got hit with $25 million in fines.

from the United States Department of Justice:

“Charges include making false statements, obstruction of Coast Guard inspections, failing to maintain an accurate Oil Record Book, and one negligent violation of the Clean Water Act relating to the discharge in the Columbia River.  Following the guilty pleas, U.S. District Judge Terry J. Hatter, Jr. ordered the company to pay $25 million to be divided equally among the five judicial districts involved”

The Ever Reward seems to have had a troubled life, as just two years earlier- in 2003, the International Longshoreman’s Association shut down all Evergreen operations here at the Maher Terminal in the Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal. The strike also spread to other ports.

The Ever Reward is an astounding 294,13 meters long, which can move at 23.5 knots (that’s around 28 miles an hour) when fully loaded- was built in 1994 at Mitsubishi Kobe, in Japan- and is owned by Greencompass Marine S.A. (Evergreen), Panama, and is a Panamanian flagged ship.

Dock by you.

Ship loading, Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal -Photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s the CSCL Jakarta, a relatively small and slow cargo ship built in 2001 at Stocznia Gdynia, Poland– in the Pomeranian Voivodeship. Notice the smaller scale of the Container Cranes on this side of the dock. It’s operated by China Shipping Container Lines Co.,Ltd, a company founded in 1997 in Shanghai, in the People’s Republic of China. Jakarta is one of the 152 vessels maintained as part of their active fleet.

Loading Cargo by you.

Cranes at work, Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal -Photo by Mitch Waxman

As we continued along, the sense shattering size of the place struck again and again. The cargo containers- familiar gypsy’s that wander through city street and country lane- being stacked like so many children’s blocks by a gulliverian mantis.

The world’s largest manufacturer of these WHEELED and DRIVEABLE machines, which may move about on the pier to the obtain the most advantageous spots for loading and unloading, is in China. It is the Shanghai Zhenhua Port Machinery Company which is a subsidiary of the China Communications Construction Company,which is the largest government owned corporation in the People’s Republic of China.

note, editorializing…

The P.R.C. is the world’s worst and most repressive government and there’s absolutely nothing that anyone who doesn’t live there can do about it. But…

(I’m warning you, there is brutal disturbing stuff you will see if you click the next 3 links, but this is who we are doing business with) 

go to google images and type in “chinese executions

-estimates (according to Amnesty International) are that 7,500 people a year go out this way.

That’s all I have to say, except that to me- those pics look a lot like this. Peace at any price, indeed. 

Cargo Sunset by you.

Cargo ship Sunset, Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal -Photo by Mitch Waxman

Capacity of Container Ships is measured in TEU, or  twenty-foot equivalent unit. The largest containers can weigh as much as 67,200 pounds- which is apparently reckoned as 2.65 TEU. An intermodal (rail/truck/ship) steel box that conforms to size and weight restraints, the shipping container is a byproduct of the Korean War (in which the People’s Republic of China participated). The United States Army developed a shipping system called CONEX to speed the delivery of supplies to the incalculably distant Port of Pusan.

Dock corner by you.

Maher terminal dock, Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal – Van -Photo by Mitch Waxman

The motto on this van says: Safety is a standard… not an option.  There were lots of guys buzzing around in these seemingly tiny trucks. Again, the incredible breath taking scale of the place emerges. How many millions of hours of labor are represented in these photos?

Dock by you.

Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal Straddle Carrier -Photo by Mitch Waxman

The large container cranes, whose self actuating wheels can be seen in the shot below, are skyscraper sized machines. The “smaller” orange machine is a straddle carrier. This particular model seems to be the Kalmar ESC 350 front cabin twinlift, which would give it a lift capacity of 2.65 TEU. Capable of stacking shipping containers up to 4 units high, they can move up to 30 kph (which is just under 19 mph) while loaded with a full shipping container.

Loading Dock by you.

Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal Straddle Carrier -Photo by Mitch Waxman

Gantry cranes by you.

Container Cranes, Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal -Photo by Mitch Waxman

The equinox not withstanding, it was getting late, and the Zephyr had to return to its berth at South Street Seaport. We bid our hosts adieu, and wished them all the luck that their titanic endeavors will undoubtedly bring. This enormous facility, of which we visited the tiniest fraction, is less than 20 miles from Times Square.

Tug by you.

The tug Margaret Moran -Photo by Mitch Waxman

As the Zephyr moved back toward the Kill Van Kull, the frenetic movements of channel traffic continues. Seemingly having someplace to get to quickly, the Margaret Moran came zipping past. Operated by Moran Towing Corp., the Margaret Moran is a 149 ton, 3,300 horsepower twin screw tugboat built in 1979 at the McDermott Shipyard in Amelia, LA. It participated in the evacuation of the World Trade Center site.  Here’s a neat shot of the MM assisting the Queen Mary 2 into port.

Bayonne Bridge by you.

Bayonne Bridge, Staten Island side -Photo by Mitch Waxman

I didn’t make a big deal of the Bayonne Bridge on the way into Newark Bay because the sun wasn’t with me from that angle. The fourth largest steel arch bridge on Earth with a height of 150 feet over the water, it connects Bayonne, New Jersey’s Chemical Coastline with Staten Island. It’s primary mission is to allow vehicular traffic access to Manhattan via the Holland Tunnel.

Bayonne Bridge by you.

Bayonne Bridge -Photo by Mitch Waxman

The Bayonne Bridge was designed by a man who helped design the Hell Gate rail bridge on the East river- and was principal designer for the Verrazano bridge over the Narrows, The George Washingston Bridge over the Hudson River, the Bronx Whitestone Bridge over the East River, the Throgs Neck Bridge over the East River. He was brought in to simplify the design of mighty Triborough– which is actually a bridge and highway complex spanning multiple waterways and islands. A swede, Othmar Amman worked for Gustavus Lindenthal (designer of the the Queensboro and Hell Gate Bridges), and took over as head bridge engineer at the New York Port Authority in 1925. He also directed the planning and construction of the the Lincoln Tunnel.

He was Robert Moses’s “guy”.

Tug and barge by you.

Kill Van Kull traffic jam -Photo by Mitch Waxman

Lucky for us, a traffic jam was forming up behind a couple of large ships- which by necessity had to move extra slow in the narrow channel. This was lucky, because the Zephyr was running late, and the failing light coupled with a swiftly moving catamaran would soon render photography a futile pursuit. Slowing down to a crawl as we commuted from New Jersey to Manhattan felt oddly familiar, but it allowed for longer exposures. Directly in front of us was the Tug Joan Turecamo. A 192 ton barge mover born in 1981, it was built at the Matton Shipyards here in New York State.

Petrol Farm by you.

Chemical Coast -Photo by Mitch Waxman

You had to know there was no way that Standard Oil would’nt involved.

The Chemical Coast is a section of New Jersey that faces Staten Island that contains an unusual concentration of petrochemical refineries and storage plants, amongst other heavy industries.Railroad workers gave the name to the place as early as 1926, by which time Standard Oil had already burrowed its way into the mud. John D. Rockefeller  bought a large patch of land here, on which he built the Bayway Refinery in 1907. The Standard subsidiary in this part of New Jersey is the company that would one day be Exxon.

Tugboat by you.

The Tug Buchanan 1 -Photo by Mitch Waxman

As we were exiting the Arthur Kill, the tug Buchanan 1  came shooting past. Just like me, it was built in 1967 and weighs 191 tons. Home sweet hell looms on the horizon, its spires scraping sky.

Tugs at dock by you.

Chemical Coast Moran Tugs, Kill Van Kull -Photo by Mitch Waxman

From left- the tug Linda Moran (a brand spanking new, 2008 vintage, 5,100 horsepower articulated Tug built by Washburn & Doughty in Maine), the barge Houston (a 118,000 barrel articulated fuel barge), and the tug Kimberly Turecamo ( a 3,000 horsepower tug which was involved in the accidental grounding of the Container Ship New Delhi Express in the Kill Van Kull back in 2005).

Liberty by you.

Statue of Liberty sunset-Photo by Mitch Waxman

Battery by you.

Lower Manhattan at Dusk from East River -Photo by Mitch Waxman

The Zephyr showed its speed and power after we cleared the Kill Van Kull, and the Captain gunned it back to Manhattan. He offered us ample time at Liberty Island, but the one rule in a busy harbor is sticking to your schedule. Very nice experience over all, and there was a free drink!

Written by Mitch Waxman

June 26, 2009 at 2:43 pm

Posted in newtown creek

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