A favorite saying of my deckhand and night watch sidekick as we come into the home stretch of the hitch is that we are “On the Seven Day Forecast”. Short on time and getting shorter everyday. Sleep has been fitful at best this hitch and I am ready for a break as the weekend rolls around.
While not wintertime busy, we have been steadily doing bunker work with a couple of dock to dock transfers mixed in. Things are slow for certain sectors of the tug and barge market, and one or two companies are outright hurting at the moment. The continued combination of drastically declined crude output and the lifting of the export ban have put a dent in the work load of units that have been trading in primarily black oil on the Hudson and in the Gulf of Mexico. Even refined product movement has been slower due to the lower than forecasted demand, which has caused a parking lot of tankers to form in the Ambrose Anchorage. Just a drop in the bucket compared to whats off some ports overseas, or even off of Houston/Galveston, though its touched on in this recent Gcaptain article.
Though on a bright note New York recently received its first Post Panamax visitor via the expanded canal. The MOL Benefactor arrived into Global Bayonne yesterday after paying a nearly $1 Million dollar toll to use the neopanamax locks. Thats a lot of X-Box’s and nikes, and really puts into perspective the sheer volume of cargo these 10,000 TEU and larger ships carry. Articles from Gcaptain here and here on the canal transit and arrival of this big box ship.
In the even more immediate vicinity of what I can see out of my wheelhouse, the harbor has definitely experienced a dramatic burst of ship and barge activity during the middle of my hitch. Several mornings of ship traffic jams, complete with bad tempers and clueless non local operators, have spiced things up a bit.
We’ve gotten to do some good tug boating too, still none of the out of the harbor wire work I would like to see, but plenty of shifting and shuffling. Some tugboat side landings, and plenty of fun and games in the dark. I threw together another short iPhone time-lapse video with the go pro splice app on my phone, the best reward I can give you for suffering through my back watch ramblings.