On June 14, 2011, this 70 ft schooner, Black Seal, brought 20 tons of cocoa beans from the Dominican Republic to Red Hook, Brooklyn.
This is how they did it: no customs report, no bills of lading, no contract with the ILA to lift the 400 bags, and a blank stare when asked for a TWIC. Viva l’esprit of rum running!
Our wise leaders decided that shooting at the handmade three masted schooner was not as good press as welcoming it, so we are happy to have the beans, Mast Bros chocolate, and this WSJ story. Will there be more? Day-o!
(update: the editorial offices of BLOWSPITTLE ink have been informed that all hoops were hastily collected, set up on pier 9A and jumped through: correct papers were obtained-signed-approved-delivered, customs agent procured, docking permitted, stevedores contracted, eyes crossed, teas dotted.)
♠ ♥ ♣ ♦
On March 9, 2012, this 105 ft schoonerbrig, running under sail power only — no motor at all — set a course from the Dominican Republic to pick up cocoa beans in Grenada bound for New York. They had rum, salt and other Caribbean products for New York, England and the Netherlands. Their voyage plan had Grenada as their last Carribean stop in order to load the cocoa beans last to keep them cooler, forcing the ship to sail from the Dominican Republic against the current and close to the wind, sailing that demanded constant trimming and setting of sails during all watches.
All for naught: the bureaucracy and regulatory fees demanded by our port thoroughly discouraged Tres Hombres, and the cocoa shipment for Grenada Chocolate Company was not to be. The ship had to abandon the stop off at New York, and changed course towards the Azores. Simply no way to gain if you try to follow the rules. Read the ship log’s entry here. Day-o…
♠ ♥ ♣ ♦
This 191 ft barquentine is the largest tall ship operated by the Indonesian Navy and serves as a sail training vessel for naval cadets and as an ambassador of goodwill for the people of Indonesia: Dewaruci.
She was on her last voyage, nearing NYC for FleetWeek/OpSail 2012 when she ran low on water. She crawled like a thirsty desert traveller along the NJ coast, crying ‘water! water!’ unheeded. She reached the Verrazano Narrows bridge, and approached Sullivans Pier in Staten Island where she would tie up for FleetWeek, two days early. She was denied permission to dock. And was not allow to water. Anti Terrorism Force Protection (ATFP): the police forces were scheduled for two days later and could not be deployed so quickly, nor could they be paid for for the two extra days. ATFP does not do boat time.
Desperate, the ship with their crew of 70 students looked for water, but found none. Calls were made and both SUNY Maritime and the United States Merchant Marine Academy welcomed them, eager to host the ship for two days. Fort Schuyler on the Throggs Neck peninsula was just a touch closer than Kings Point, Long Island, so the plan was to sail to SUNY Maritime to tie up and get water.
The ship began the trip up the East River, when the Sandy Hook Pilots noticed a discrepancy with specs and a translation issue. “Air draft” in Indonesian looks like “mast height” or the other way around; the mast from the deck up would have gone under the Brooklyn Bridge, but not with the ship under it.
Dewaruci turned away, and limped back, still parched, to Lower Bay to wait for two days.
For the FleetWeek parade up and down North River, Dewaruci students dressed gaily in blue and white uniforms, and stood atop yards, on shrouds and on bowsprit, saluting a city that was a rather shabby welcoming host. O day.
♠ ♥ ♣ ♦
Tonight! the Working Harbor Committee presents “Sailing Ships At Work”: the history of sailing cargo ships, the ships that sail cargo today (short part) and what the future may look like.
Wednesday, 10 April 2013 6 – 9 p.m.
Community Church of New York
40 E. 35th Street
New York, NY 10016
Price — Adults: $25, Seniors (62+) $20
please click here for tickets.
The future: projects like the Vermont Sailing Barge, Hope and Alert, HARVEST, B9 Shipping, and the MARAD initiative of the Hudson River Foodway Corridor will bring back water transportation of cargo…putting ships back in shipping.
The Working Harbor Committee is not responsible for any of the drivel I write. I just monitor VHF radio and drink in scuttlebutt in bars. And unfortunately, I will not be able to attend the event tonight, but go and have great fun. ♠ ♥ ♣ ♦
Lightship Ambrose LV 87 / WAL 512
Built: 1907 by New York Shipbuilding Co., Camden, NJ
Length: 136ft. (41.5m)
Beam: 29ft. (8.8m)
Draft: 13ft. (3.9m)
Original Illumination Apparatus: three oil lens lanterns
This lightship was stationed in the Ambrose Channel since 1906, guiding vessel traffic through the main shipping channel just below the Verazzano Narrows bridge, into New York and New Jersey Harbor until 1967. She was given to South Street Seaport Museum by the U.S. Coast Guard in 1968. A light tower replaced it, was hit by ships a few times too many, and, now, the channel is marked by lighted buoys.
Now at the new! improved! South Street Seaport Museum under the fertile wing—nurturing wing?— of the City of the Museum of New York this lightship was painted in March, and is now being restored and is open for visiting at Pier 16.
The wings of the seaport museum are alive: a new exhibit is up, nautical pieces from another museum I love, the American Folk Art Museum.
And true to the harbor’s spirit, the active gem of the museum, Pioneer, is sailing. Go onboard to sail in the harbor or go and volunteer and learn how to handle lines and many other things that may always serve you well…!
“How we loved the captain! We would have done anything for him. He and the officers were Norwegian. We were a crew of 40, many of us boarded in Shanghai. We carried oil and went all around the world. I loved the ship, too. I made a model of the ship out of paper and the captain wanted it. He bought it for $20, purchased a glass case for it when we were in New York, and he displayed it in the officer’s mess.
“When my 2-yr contract ended, I boarded the Liberty Ship Benjamin H. Hill. We carried cargo. I was on board for only 8 months.
“Why are you asking all these questions? Why do you want to know this?”
Built: 1945 at The Kaiser Company, Swan Island Yard, Portland, OR
Length: 159 ft 6 in (48.6 m)
Beam: 20 ft 7 in (6.3m)
Liberty Ship Benjamin H. Hill
General Cargo Vessel Type EC2-S-C1 (E = emergency, C = cargo, 2 = waterline length between 400 – 500ft, S = steam power, C1 = this design)
Built: 1943 at J.A. Jones Construction Company, Brunwsick, GA
Length: 441 ft 6 in (134.6 m)
Beam: 57 ft (17.4 m)
Depth: 37 ft 4 in (11.4 m)
Speed: 11 kts
For more information on Liberty Ships: see
Ships for Victory,
Project Liberty Ship - cruise on the restored John W. Brown!
They also maintain the incredible resource, Armed-Guard.com with all their photos
Click on this link to see a wonderfully illustrated 1943 brochure on the capacity of a Liberty Ship.
Amazing site if you are into tankers: Auke Visser’s Historical Tankers Site
Happy Fathers Day!