Saturday 31 October 2015

Tow Boat EMERALD COAST & Tanker Barge VB-38

Another hard working gem that's been sitting in my "2Bdone" folder for far too long is the 71' towboat EMERALD COAST taken here by my good friend Jim Moyer of Salisbury, Maryland. I don't know who said it but I know we can all agree that "life is not a straight line" and so is true of the the twenty-four and a half mile Chesapeake Bay tributary and tidal estuary, the Wicomico River.
According to some towboat skippers, the passage along the Wicomico with its many bends and turns is a nerve racking "sweaty-palms" experience, specially when pushing tanker barges like the EMERALD COAST is doing in all three snaps. Up here in the Great White North, where trucks and trains are mostly used to haul a variety of liquid goods from community to community, clean oil tanker barges like EMERALD COAST's payload, the 292' VB-38 are used to carry over 4 million barrels of petroleum products annually into Salisbury, the State of Maryland's second largest port.
When launched in 1973 at Main Iron Works in Houma, Louisiana,  Jim's  "Little Toot" which he snapped from his canoe, was named MAGGIE SWAN. Currently named after the emerald-green waters along Florida's northern Gulf of Mexico shoreline, the twin screw and flat bowed EMERALD COAST is owned by Dann Marine Towing of Chesapeake City, Maryland.
Meanwhile, the VB-38 which can carry up to 33,000 barrels of clean oil, was built in 1973 in Gulfport Shipyards of Port Arthur, Texas, and when launched the name she was given was INTERSTATE 38. In 1974, she became TEXACO 38, before being re-named INTERSTATE 38 in 1980. In 1983 she became TEXACO 38 again, and like the back and forth channel along the meandering Wicomico, her name was changed back to INTERSTATE 38 in 1988. Finally, when purchased by Vane Brothers of Baltimore, Maryland, she was given her current name, VB38 in 2000. Though she currently remains operational in Vane Brothers' fleet of 45 barges, I'm not 100% certain whether she is double-hulled which effective 2015, is the standard requirement for all petroleum product vessels like previous posted and snapped by Jim, the DOUBLE SKIN 214:
Whether it's repeated name changes, continuous manoeuvres to avoid shallow spots and bends along a river or shipping lane, or for all of us just having to endure life in general, perhaps Forrest Gump's "Mamma" had it all right when she said, "Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna to get." Ain't that the truth!! c);-b

Sunday 25 October 2015

Tannerz Boats

For anyone who has been following my blog over the last three years, you may have noticed my four-legged friend and family golden retriever, Tanner, situated somewhere in my boat snaps. What can I say, he was very photogenic and seemed to do any pose to please me or anyone around him. It saddens me to say though that two weeks ago today our family dog and my "Best Friend Forever" Tanner passed away. Ironically 13 years earlier, also on Thanksgiving weekend, we met our puppy for the first time. In our 41 years of marriage, we have had three other dogs who were all great family friends, but Tanner was unbelievable, always wanting to run and play, Play, PLAY. Regardless of what time I got in from work, Tanner would be there at door or he'd immediately emerge from his bed with sometimes two tennis balls in his mouth and ready to play fetch in the backyard. He sure kept me young.
Look at me, I'm a duck!!
Tanner probably enjoyed going for a ride in the car as much as any dog and even when the final destination ended up along a Seaway bank or at Iroquois Lock, he'd patiently look out the car window or lay down along the shoreline or fence and wait for however long it took for me to take take my boat snaps, for his turn to get some attention and play fetch.
As expected for anyone who has lost a next of kin, sibling or an friend, being enthusiastic or simply "yourself" has been difficult these last two weeks. In fact it's been a lot like the Burt Bacharach and Hal David classic tune, "(There's) Always Something There To Remind Me". You know what I mean eh?

Last weekend I was watching the Disney animated flick "Big Hero 6" with my grandson José, and in the movie the plus-sized inflatable robot "Baymax" says to his prodigy "Hiro" who had lost is brother in a fire, that "someone is not gone as long as you have memories of him". Sorry, after I heard that I couldn't help but tear-up, but when you think of it, what a beautiful way for someone to help cope with the death of a loved one, especially if that lost family member or friend you're grieving, is just a dog. With all the fond memories and photos of him, we know Tanner will never be GONE.

We already know that it is different when we're down to river or seaway to snap boats, but we know Tanner is there with us, maybe not in clear view as he was these former Carlz Boats posts, but he'll be there. c):-)

Play!! (

Man, it's COLD!! (

Play!! (

Could have been napping by the fireplace. (

What squirrel? (

Still waiting to play!! (

Can't you see I'm resting HERE?? (

Wasn't me!! (

Play!! (

Would rather be playing at Ron Beaupre's place eh!! (

Thursday 1 October 2015

Oil & Chemical Tanker ALGOSAR (Re-Visited)

Like they say, "you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover". Just because she may not be as sleek looking as all the other Algoma tankers that we see so often with their bulging bulbous bows, high multi-deck superstructures, and tall monolithic funnels, the 434.5' ALGOSAR which I snapped motoring through Morrisburg, Ontario in July 2013, works as hard as any other tanker plying the Great Lakes, and then some. When launched in 1978 at Levingston Shipyards in Orange, Texas, for Cleveland Tankers of Cleveland, Ohio her was name GEMINI, and despite her squatly appearance and out of this world namesake, she was known then as the largest American flagged powered tanker on the Great Lakes. Along with her fleetmates (which also bore celestial names) MERCURY, SATURN, JUPITER and METEOR, the GEMINI continued to carry heavy oil and asphalt throughout the Great Lakes for Cleveland tankers until she was purchased by Algoma Tankers in 2005 and renamed ALGOSAR.

She is actually the second Algoma tanker to be named ALGOSAR. The first, the former IMPERIAL ST. CLAIR was given the name soon after Algoma Tankers acquired her when they bought out Imperial Oil's marine division in 1997. When ALGOSAR (1) was sold in 2004, the GEMINI, which needed to be flagged Canadian, was purchased the following year and given the name with the suffix "SAR" to commemorate the City of Sarnia which is known in Canada for its massive growth in the petroleum industry located there. I first snapped the 12,000 gross liquid ton ALGOSAR as she was entering the Welland Canal's Lock 8 in Port Colborne on the evening of August 5, 2012. Not the best photo in my "2BeDone" folder but at least I got her.

Algoma Tankers, a division of Algoma Central Corp. is based in St. Catharines, Ontario and have  a fleet of seven tankers. With the exception of the SAR, most of their fleet is less than 11 years old and two of the bigger boats, ALGOMA HANSA and ALGOSEA (snapped approaching Lock 4 by my Maryland friend, Jim Moyer, a few years back were both built in 1998 and can carry over 17,000 tons of liquid product.
Just like her predecessor which was the first Canadian tanker to operate year-round thus breaking the winter navigation barrier, the ALGOSAR has an ice breaking reinforced bow, and though she's been laid up at Sarnia for the past two winters, while she was the Cleveland Tankers owned GEMINI, she got to experience the wrath of old man winter even during her first year of winter operations in January 1979 when becoming locked in the ice on Saginaw Bay until the U.S. Coast Guard came along to free her.  Nothing unusual about that for both American and Canadian Coast Guards, especially during these past two brutal winters.

Though the ALGOSAR may no longer be the largest powered tanker on the Great Lakes, she's still a pretty nice looking ship to photograph and despite her so-called "different" look, she has continued to remain useful for the last 37 years. More power to you ALGOSAR c):-D

Photo by Brenda Benoit - May 13, 2016
Photo by Jeff Cameron - May 16, 2016
Unfortunately the usefulness of the Sarnia, Ontario namesake did come to an end at as the 2015 shipping season was closing close. Instead of a refit and new coat of paint, contaminates were removed during her winter layup at the old Port Weller Dry Docks and then on May 17, 2017 she became a nameless scrap-tow being led up the Welland Canal to Port Colborne for dismantling. It was the same day that the self unloader PETER R. CRESSWELL   ( started her final journey to Montreal then eventually being scrapped in Turkey. The two doomed vessels can be seen meeting in Jeff Cameron's photo above.

Though nameless and all Algoma branding removed, the tanker looked pretty much in tacked when I photographed her during a visit to Port Colborne on July 2, 2016 but when I returned to Port on a dreary February 11, 2017, the ALGOSAR could barely be seen while former fleetmate ALGOSOO was well on her way to become just a memory too. Both are now gone but not forgotten.