The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for September 15th, 2013

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A short Maritime Sunday visit with the Vane Bros.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Vane Brothers’ brand new Tug Magothy recently rolled past me at the exit from Kill Van Kull, while onboard with the Working Harbor Committee. Vane started out as a Ships Chandlery in 1898, down in the port of Baltimore. They’ve become a towing company over the last century, and operate a fleet of tugs and barges in the ports of New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Norfolk, and Charleston.


The tug Magothy is the fourteenth in a line of Patapsco-class tugs. She was designed by Frank Basile of Entech & Associates, and is under construction at Thoma-Sea Boat Builders’ West Yard in Houma, Louisiana. The Magothy is 100’ long, with a 34’ beam, and a depth of 15’. Her gross tonnage is 99 tons. She is powered by two CAT3516, 2100 horse-power engines with Kort nozzles.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Oyster Creek, as seen on the same Working Harbor Committee Newark Bay tour, steaming along on the Kill Van Kull. Many of my photographer buddies abhor white tugs, decrying their lack of contrast with the sky and water, preferring the pigments and color ways of McAllister, Reinauer, and Moran tugs (all incorporate reds). Me, I like the challenge of getting the exposure right.


The Oyster Creek is a coastwise 3,000 horsepower towing vessel measuring 90’ long, 32’ wide, with a 13’ hull depth. Powered by two Caterpillar diesel engines, she is dedicated to 30,000-barrel tank barges. Her gross tonnage is 99 tons. The Oyster Creek is named for the Oyster Creek cove and tributary stream in Maryland.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Vane sent the Hunting Creek and Red Hook to compete in the 2013 Great North River Tugboat Race. Here they are just about crossing the finish line. Official results not handy at the time of this writing,


The Hunting Creek officially joined Vane’s ranks on February 3, 2012. Since then she has been a bunkering workhorse in New York Harbor. The sixth in a series of eight from Chesapeake Shipbuilding in Salisbury, Maryland, she is a 3,000 horsepower vessel, measuring 90′ long, 32′ wide, with a 13′ hull depth. She was designed by Frank Basile of Entech and Associates of Houma, Louisiana, and is named for the Hunting Creek cove and tributary stream in Maryland.

Upcoming Tours

Saturday- September 21, 2013
13 Steps Around Dutch Kills Walking Tour with Atlas Obscura- tickets on sale now.

Saturday- September 28, 2013
Newtown Creek Boat Tour with the Working Harbor Committee- tickets on sale now.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

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