Friday 15 February 2013

Tow Boat NIKKI-JO-C (Revisited)

The light blue markings are tugs underway (triangles)
or stopped (squares) - MarineTraffic 17.12.20@09:30
The shipping season maybe over on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway due to winter, but it's business as usual along the Mississippi, its tributaries like the Missouri, and Ohio and the other American inland waterways. Just like the tow boat NIKKI-JO-C and her barges photographed by my good friend Jim Moyer of Salisbury, Maryland, the inland trade moved more than 760 million tons of products in 2017, for $33.8 billion in revenue. The 60' NIKKI-JO-C was built in 1980 and according to Jim, "she is pushing a barge full of grain, probably corn, maybe soybean, up the winding Wicomico River about 10 miles yet to go to the port of Salisbury, the second largest port on Maryland. The Wicomico River is a 25 mile tidal river, from the Chesapeake Bay, and the depth and volume of water is not affected by the drought (like the Mississippi and other waterways in the central US). Only the salinity level of the upper reaches of the river is affected by drought, or excess rain. The grain carrying barges also known as 'hoppers' originate weekly, mostly in Virginia near Norfolk, at the lower end of the Chesapeake, about 90 miles away. The grain is then off loaded onto trucks and carried 5 miles to a huge processing plant to make feed for the large chicken industry centred in Salisbury". 
An anxious moment for the NIKKI-JO-C skipper for certain as a
fire truck on a call also waits for a Salisbury bridge to open.

Like the Wicomico, there are approximately 12,000 miles of navigable waterways used by domestic shipping in the United States, not including the Great Lakes and according to the American Waterway Operators, with 5,500 tugboats and towboats and 31,000 barges hauling anything from dry cargo goods, oil, petroleum products, stone, cement and more. Regardless of the cargo and meandering passageways, these versatile little ships just keep motoring along doing what's required to keep the American economy going and it's people working. Keep up the Good Work boys & girls!!.

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