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South Street Seaport Museum welcomes everyone to Spring Revival on Saturday, April 26th, 12 noon – 6pm, with free activities and music, and an opening ceremony at 2pm!

Join us to celebrate the spring opening of our historic ships, which tell the story of how our great natural harbor gave rise to the metropolis we know today. Tour 1907 lightship AMBROSE, 1911 barque PEKING, and 1885 schooner PIONEER.

See traditional artisans working on the pier, including the carving of a new figurehead for 1885 ship WAVERTREE.

Ambrose Lightship and tall ship Peking at South Street Seaport’s “Street of Ships”. Photo: Joe Mabel via wikipedia

Sing along with shanties, and enjoy the bands. Help us set a sail, and join in other family friendly activities.

Everything takes place on Pier 16, at Fulton and South Streets on the East River in downtown Manhattan. Rain or shine.

via Capt. Maggie Flanagan for the Working Harbor Committee

Have you ever seen these huge ships that regularly sail in and out of our harbor?

Wallenius Aida underway with her vehicle ramp stowed. Photo: ©Mitch Waxman

They have no portholes to speak of, and look like gargantuan floating boxes, their mysterious contents shrouded within.

They are called “Ro-Ro’s” by the industry… but why?

Courageous Ace with Charles D. McAllister. Photo: ©Mitch Waxman

Ro-Ro’s are vehicle transport ships.

Vehicles, unlike other cargo, are not packed into shipping containers and loaded by gantry or transfer cranes. Instead the automobiles are driven right onto the ship and then off again, once they reach their port of destination.

A Moran tug assists Wallenius Tancred passing Robbins Reef Lighthouse and the Statue of Liberty. Photo: ©Mitch Waxman

“Ro-Ro” is short for “roll-on, roll-off”, a descriptive term used to describe car carrying cargo vessels. Loading and unloading vehicles in this way is very effective in getting the gigantic carriers in and out of port quickly and efficiently.

Eminent Ace. Photo: ©Mitch Waxman

I wonder how many Ro-Ro’s cruise in and our of our port daily. I never fail to see at least one every time I am out on the water.

Asian King at dock with the vehicle ramp extended. Photo: ©Mitch Waxman

What about you? Have you see any Ro-Ro’s lately? Share them with us! Post your photos at the WHC photo pool on flickr.

And to all who celebrate, a very Happy Easter and Passover to you and your loved ones!

by Mai Armstrong for Working Harbor Committee, Thanks to Mitch Waxman / Newtown Pentacle for the generous use of his photos.





Some ships come to grief, and when they do the salvage industry is there to right the wrongs.

Join us for the Working Harbor Committee’s annual spring program showcasing this little known, but vitally important, arm of the maritime industry with dramatic films of actual salvage operations and talks by some of the salty professionals who work in the industry.

Tuesday 6 May 2014
6 – 9 p.m.

Community Church of New York
40 E. 35th Street
New York, NY 10016

Refreshments will be served

SS Normandie, renamed USS Lafayette, lies capsized in the frozen mud of her New York Pier the winter of 1942. Photo: National Archives via wikipedia

See dramatic footage of:

  • the raising of the SS Normandie which burned and sank at Pier 88 North River in 1942
  • the dismantling and salvage of the freighter, New Flame, off the coast of Gibraltar
  • and largest salvage operation in history – the raising of the cruise ship Costa Concordia last September off Giglio, Italy

Costa Concordia Shipwreck with buoyancy caissons and heavy lift vessel “SAL Lone”, July 2013. Photo by Isjc99 via wikipedia


A panel of three salvage industry professionals will give a brief overview of the salvage industry, describe their work as salvage masters in some hands-on projects, and answer questions. Reserve your seat today!


by Capt. Betsy Frawley Haggerty for the Working Harbor Committee

The nice weather days we had last week were really welcome, but that blast of April snow was NOT. Still, I’ve had some quiet days shooting this week, with lots of activity to shoot.

Penn No. 4 sporting her new “Kirby” paint job. Photo: ©John Skelson

MSC Marta…Out to Sea. Photo: ©John Skelson

McAllister Sisters with one “On the Hip”. Photo:©John Skelson

Mary Gellatly. Photo: ©John Skelson

Kimberly Poling. Photo: ©John Skelson

Launch ABC 1 delivering supplies to a ship. Photo: ©John Skelson

Tanker SFC Pechoria in Stapleton Anchorage, Robert E McAllister ducking out behind. Photo: ©John Skelson

4 Days later at IMTT Bayonne. Photo: ©John Skelson

Sea Tow to the Rescue. Photo: ©John Skelson

St Andrew with some new paint. Photo: ©John Skelson

Weddell Sea “On the Wire” out to sea. Photo: ©John Skelson

Ruth M Reinauer. Photo: ©John Skelson

Gramma Lee T Moran meets Dace at the fuel dock. Photo: ©John Skelson

All photos taken the week of 4/13/14. Until next week… John Skelson.

All photos by John Skelson for the Working Harbor Committee

Just a quick post today of a very cool photo-series by Mitch Waxman – who went down to Newtown Creek over the weekend to get a look at the dredging that is going on. The clam-shell “scooper” that was spit-shiny clean a couple of weeks ago has now been well worked, and is smeared with the black, oily sediments of the federal superfund site.

Check out how DonJon’s rig and tugs seem to match the brilliant blue sky as they work on clearing the bed of the creek. The dredging operation is now running 24/7 and if all goes as planned, should be completed in the next month or so.

DonJon’s dredging rig and tugs on Newtown Creek. Photo: ©Mitch Waxman

DonJon’s work boat keeps the barge nice and stable. Photo: ©Mitch Waxman

Industry-geeks will like this one. Photo: ©Mitch Waxman

Toxic ‘black mayonnaise’ sediment dribbles from the clam-shell. Photo: ©Mitch Waxman

The dredging is now in operation 24 hours-a-day. Photo: ©Mitch Waxman

Thomas D. Witte. Photo: ©Mitch Waxman

The dredging operation is slated to take 6 weeks. Photo: ©Mitch Waxman

The watery mix is barged out to DonJon’s dewatering station near the Statue of Liberty for processing. Photo: ©Mitch Waxman

by Mai Armstrong for Working Harbor Committee, all photos by Mitch Waxman


Well, as luck would have it, NO photos of the USS Slater arriving at Caddell’s Staten Island.

She departed Albany, Sunday morning at about 8:45 AM; and arrived and turned into the Kill van Kull at 3:30AM Monday. Not a good time for photography! I hope to be able to get some photos of her soon, and so here are this week’s photos.

Reinauer was the big mover on Wednesday morning, 5 of them. Also, US Army Corps of Engineers boats were on the job in the KVK. Strangely though, while I was there, NO Moran, McAllister or Vane tugs passed by.

Stephen Scott Reinauer at IMTT Bayonne. Photo: ©John Skelson

Zachery Reinauer in Push Gear, Stephen Scott in the background. Photo: ©John Skelson

Ruby M, dropping a barge in Bayonne. Photo: ©John Skelson

Reinauer Twins outbound in the KVK. Photo: ©John Skelson.

Meredith C Reinauer west in the KVK. Photo: ©John Skelson

Maersk Kentucky. Photo: ©John Skelson

USACE Hudson. Photo: ©John Skelson

USACE Hocking. Photo: ©John Skelson

USACE Hayward. Photo: ©John Skelson

Haggerty Girls. Photo: ©John Skelson

Emily Ann, ex Brandon C Roehrig. Photo: ©John Skelson

Until next week… John Skelson.

All photos by John Skelson for the Working Harbor Committee

The National Transportation Safety Board has determined that captain error caused the Seastreak ferry accident in lower Manhattan last year. The investigation found the vessel was being operated improperly at the time of the accident.

A hole is torn near the bow of the Seastreak Wall Street ferry after it crashed into the pier on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013. photo: Larry Neumeister/AP via NY Daily News


The Seastreak Wall Street ferry captain had switched the vessel’s propulsion systems into backup mode earlier in the journey and had forgotten to switch them back. While in backup mode, the propellers remain in a forward pitch position which caused the vessel to accelerate forward rather than slow down while attempting to dock.

NTSB Investigator examines starboard engine room of the Seastreak Wall Street. Photo: NTSB

NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman also called out the US Coast Guard for not requiring marine safety management systems – recommended by the NTSB almost a decade ago.

 NTSB: Seastreak LLC had no safety management system (SMS) in place to identify risks and take corrective actions. Although the NTSB recommended that SMS be required in 2005 and the Coast Guard was provided the authority to require them by Congress in 2010, SMSs are still not required for domestic passenger vessels. It is time to require that every passenger vessel implement an SMS.”

Deborah Hersman, NTSB Chairman. Photo: NTSB via wikipedia

A safety management system would have required the company to maintain current documents, to train employees to integrate safe practices into both routine vessel operations and emergency preparations and to clearly define the roles of the crew members, ensuring the captain had assistance during the emergency.

Photo via Maritime Executive

The report goes on to contribute the severity of injuries to the lack of procedures restricting passengers from stairwells and other high-risk areas. There was also no alarm sounded or announcements from the captain to inform the passengers of an emergency.

Read the NTSB Press Release here… or download the PDF summary – including findings, probable cause and recommendations here.

by Mai Armstrong for Working Harbor Committee

A “Self Propelled, Cable Laying Barge” under tow, passing through the KVK on her way to Martha’s Vineyard, was this week unusual catch. The tug Navigator had her under tow through the harbor and Long Island Sound.

What is it??? Photo: ©John Skelson

Self Propelled Cable Laying Barge C.B. Rockland. Photo: ©John Skelson

Detail of the rig. Photo: ©John Skelson

Out drive on the barge. Photo: ©John Skelson

Tug Navigator had the barge in tow. Photo: ©John Skelson

Franklin Reinauer east in the KVK. Photo: ©John Skelson

Sarah Ann westbound. Photo: ©John Skelson

Coast Guard 26 footer on patrol, Robert E McAllister in the background. Photo: ©John Skelson

Ellen S Bouchard. Photo: ©John Skelson

Diane B, barge in Push Gear. Photo: ©John Skelson

If all goes well, next week I should have photos of the Museum ship USS Slater, heading for Caddell Ship Yard. She has been Ice Locked on the Hudson preventing her from making the trip from Albany.

Have a good week… John Skelson

All photos and video by John Skelson for the Working Harbor Committee

26 mph winds, 30 degrees, cold on the water! I haven’t taken many photos this week as I’ve been away upstate for a few days visiting my mother for her 99th birthday, no water nearby to shoot.

Today, back on the water all is quiet, a couple of tankers docking in Bayonne, and not much tug traffic. I’ve also included a video, from last week, of tugs turning a tanker around on the KVK.

Laura K Moran crossing the harbor. Photo: ©John Skelson

NYPD “SafeBoat” “Det. Robert Parker. Photo: ©John Skelson

Pegasus entering the KVK. Photo: ©John Skelson

Resolute at Robbins Reef. Photo: ©John Skelson

Bow Sea docking at Con Hook Bayonne. Photo: ©John Skelson

Energy Panther docking at Bayonne, Moran tugs assisting. Photo: ©John Skelson

Doris Moran docking Energy Panther. Photo: ©John Skelson


Tanker Turning on the KVK. Video: ©John Skelson

That’s all for now, have a good week.

All photos and video by John Skelson for the Working Harbor Committee

John Skelson on the KVK. Photo: Staten Island Advance/Ryan Lavis

Staten Island photographer, John Skelson has made the news again! Kudos to our friend and Friday’s ship spotting guest-blogger, here at the Working Harbor Committee blog.

Ellen McAllister and Pacific Reliance. Photo: ©John Skelson

John’s striking ship spotting photography on the Kill Van Kull has caught the interest of local and national media alike.

Tug Crow. Photo: ©John Skelson

Ryan Lavis/Staten Island Advance: When local photographer John Skelson bought his first camera, in 1970, he loaded it with film, and headed to his favorite spot along the shoreline of Staten Island, just under the Bayonne Bridge. 

Left Coast Lifter at the WTC. Photo: ©John Skelson

He spent countless hours there snapping away at the colorful variety of ships cruising along New York Harbor and the Kill van Kull — from massive container ships to freighters, tugboats and oil tankers. Today, not much has changed.

MOL Encore about to swallow up Miss Niz. Photo: ©John Skelson

Container ships “carry about every type of merchandise you can imagine” from all over the world. Some transport expensive cars, while others are laden with orange juice. 

Suez Canal Bridge assisted by Charles D McAllister arriving at sunset. Photo: ©John Skelson

“What you see coming through here, most people don’t even know exists, but just about every bit of commerce that comes into the United States passes through the Kill van Kull,” Skelson said.

Read more at the Staten Island Advance here… and check out more of John Skelson’s photos here…

by Mai Armstrong for Working Harbor Committee

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