The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for October 21st, 2012

quieter bazaars

leave a comment »

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Mer de Beaufort, or the Beaufort Sea, is a body of water found north of Alaska and Canada which is frozen over most of the year. Beneath it are significant reserves of natural gas and petroleum, which are exploited by and fought over by both Canadian and United States interests. Due to its severe weather and ice bound condition, little to no commercial fishing happens, and it is home to a large colony of Beluga Whales and other cetacean megafauna. Most of the folks who live there are aboriginal- ethnic Inuvialuit Inuits and Native Americans.

It’s also a tugboat.


Built in 1971, by Main Iron Works of Houma, Louisiana (hull #258) as the Corsair for Interstate Oil Transportation of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

At the time Interstate Oil Transportation operated two fleets. Their Northeast Fleet or “Green Fleet” operated in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. And their Southern Fleet or “White fleet” which operated out of Tampa, Florida.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recently, the Kirby Corporation bought a large outfit operating in NY Harbor called K-Sea. Beaufort Sea was a K-Sea tug, now it’s one of the hundreds owned and operated by the Texas based Kirby. The acquisition, apparently, was driven by a desire to strengthen their coastal towing capabilities in the field of refined petroleum and other barge shipped volatile liquids. An extensive corporate history, which reads like something out of an Ayn Rand book, can be perused here.


The New York Division operates tank barges ranging in capacity from 1,800 barrels to 81,000 barrels, and tugboats from 400 to 3,400 horsepower. This division services a wide variety of customers in both the refined and residual petroleum trades. Many of the barges in the New York fleet are engaged in the delivery of bunker fuel to ships. The NY Division vessels also transport gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel, ethanol and other refined products for local and regional customers. In the residual fuel sector, power generating customers rely on New York division vessels for floating storage and transportation of heavy fuel oil to local power plants.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The actual Beaufort Sea- as in the section of the Arctic Ocean which is found between Point Barrow, Prince Peters Island, Banks Island, and the northern coast of Alaska and Canada’s Northwest Territories- seems like a fascinating place whose native peoples live a kind of life one can scarcely imagine as your humble narrator lives in a place called Queens. Hearty, a maritime Sunday shout out goes to both the native people of some far away coast and to the crew of the Beaufort Sea Tug.


Kirby Corp. is buying K-Sea Transportation Partners in a deal that expands the giant tank-barge operator’s business into the coastwise petroleum transport trade.

The Houston company’s latest and largest acquisition this year is valued at $600 million — $335 million for K-Sea’s equity and $265 million in assumed debt — and is expected to close by July.

The two companies share oil company and refinery customers, so the transaction announced Sunday combines complementary rather than competing businesses. Kirby operates 825 inland tank barges and 222 towboats, as well as four offshore dry-cargo barges and four tugs. K-Sea has 58 coastal tank barges and 63 tugs that operate along the U.S. coasts as well as Alaska and Hawaii.

Also- Upcoming Newtown Creek tours and events:

for more information on the October 27th Newtown Creek Boat Tour, click here

for more information on the November 9th Newtown Creek Magic Lantern Show, click here

for an expanded description of the November 11th Newtown Creek tour, please click here

%d bloggers like this: