The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘Captain Zeke tug

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recently, a college student contacted me and asked if she might tag along on one of my walks around Newtown Creek. After enduring my usual admonishment toward the wearing of sandals, we met in Greenpoint and engaged In a generalized saunter around certain points of interest in what I refer to as “The Lower Creek,” specifically the area contained on both north and south banks between the Greenpoint Avenue and Pulaski Bridges. At the Newtown Creek Waste Water Treatment Plant Nature Walk in Greenpoint, we encountered the Captain Zeke tug.

Welcome back to Maritime Sunday at this, your Newtown Pentacle.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Captain Zeke has been discussed before, in the posting “average specimens” from February of 2012. The barges Captain Zeke was handling seemed to be headed for the Allocco dock whose street address is on Kingsland Avenue in Greenpoint. That would indicate that these barges are for moving bulk materials such as rock, gravel, or even scrap metals. From my vantage, I could not see any cargo in the barges, and they were sitting quite high in the water so they were likely empty.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After maneuvering their charge into place, the tug crew began moving around the boat, coiling rope and stowing away equipment. The tug reversed itself away form the barges and proceeded eastwards up the Creek to unknown destinations. In this case, the hearty Maritime Sunday shout out was offered in person, as the tug was less than 100 yards away from where my collegiate friend and I stood and the sailors onboard waved back.

As always, the thing in the Megalith watched on.

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Captain Zeke is an 88 ton tug owned and operated by the White Near Coastal Towing Corp. of Syosset, and was built as the Lady Ora for Falgout Marine at Houma Shipbuilding in Louisiana back in 1980. Unfortunately, neither the company nor the tug have much information available about them, so there’s little more that can be said beyond its size- which is 30 m x 8 m, and its maximum recorded speed of 6.4 knots versus its average of 5.5 knots.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Captain Zeke ran into a bit of trouble just a few years ago, on the Hudson River.


Spontaneous combustion involving paint rags in a fidley opening may have been the origin of the Aug. 31, 2008, fire aboard the Capt. Zeke, a Coast Guard investigator said. When their fire extinguishers proved inadequate, the tug crew fled to one of the barges.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Speaking from a position of strictly deductive reasoning at this point, due to a lack of available information about this tug and its owners- Captain Zeke has been personally observed about the harbor moving small loads of a decidedly non volatile nature, as in the previous shot wherein the cargo seems to be sand.

It would be logical to assume that this role is well suited to the relatively small tug, which can most likely get into narrower spaces than the mated tug and barge gargantua which are employed by large players like Reinauer, Moran, or K-Sea (whose vessels specialize in the handling of volatiles) for the transport of various fuels and the handling of cargo vessels.

This theory is contradicted though, by this posting at the blog tuglife, which shows Captain Zeke tethered “on the hip” to a fuel barge.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

In the shots above and below, which were captured on the Kill Van Kull, Captain Zeke is tied to the sort of barge one regularly observes at Newtown Creek handling the SimsMetal trade in bulk metal. It is damnably odd, in the opinion of this humble narrator, that so little information is available online about this vessel. Normally, commercial maritime activity is copiously documented by a variety of private and government entities.

Regardless of this information vacuum, Newtown Pentacle’s “Maritime Sunday” nevertheless recognizes and sends a hearty greeting to Captain Zeke and its crew.

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