Yesterday I was up to the Port of NH to renew my mooring for the Squamscott. It will be boating season soon enough,and there is a deadline of March 1st.
This is the tug that got swamped by the outgoing tide recently while working at the Memorial Bridge project.
There is going to be a month long investigation of the incident. My view, someone did not check the lines securing the vessel to the bridge abutment. This vessel has an odd bow for facing a strong outgoing tide. She is floating fine now. This tug travels all over the World performing lots of duties and is likely crewed by qualified mariners. The tide can be wicked on the Piscataqua and things go wrong on a boat real fast, any boat, anyplace.
“Did I put what plug in honey?”
This dock above is just to the right of the tug, it’s a commercial dock .The Thomas Leighton(Shoals Steamship) is docked to the right of this picture.
One night I was fishing with a friend and it got real foggy, so we left the channel and threw a line to the same cleat the fishing boat is using for it’s bow line. You don’t want to drop an anchor it would likely be fouled in this area. The fishing boat was not on the dock when we tied up. The Thomas Leighton had just returned from a night cruise so it was about 11pm. There was no way we could make it up river and across the Great Bay to Exeter, so we started casting as the revelers on the Leighton hooted down at every catch. The water was boiling with fish. The fishing boat showed up after 30 minutes of fishing fun.
I got an earful from the Captain, about this dock being a commercial dock. I did not make a peep and asked my buddy to keep the muttering down.
There are all types of folks on the water that’s for sure, but rules are rules. There are private docks, commercial docks, and public docks. Unless you got an emergency, you better be on the right dock.
The fog lifted a bit soon after and we felt our way up to the General Sullivan bridge, we had to listen for cars on Rt 16 to find it, it was creepy and slow going. The fog then just rose off the water like a curtain going up after we cleared the bridge and we raced home under a full Moon.
That is one large vessel beyond at the State Pier.
You can check ship registry’s now on the web. Those vessels that are using the AIS system show up on an interactive map of the World. Current ships position and track. The This bulk carrier was last in Spain . It was there that it loaded cargo for GP in Newington.
I had to slip across to Maine to get a good picture of this ship, there was a slight morning haze still burning off the water.
This looks normal right? A ship tied up and unloading, drive right by and that’s it.
“I saw a big ship today”
This bulk carrier is unloading gypsum for the Georgia Pacific drywall plant in Newington. Those vessel mounted cranes are dipping into the holds to bring up the special gypsum from Spain, I guess its very fine stuff. This gypsum delivery has been going on for days. Another ship of the same type ,same cargo, same destination(GP) a few months ago took 6 days to offload.
They are using trucks to unload this huge vessel and haul the gypsum up to the Sprague Energy Materials Storage area in Newington. They used the same method on the previous delivery months ago.
Sprague then trucks the material as needed to the GP plant a few doors down. The fleet of trucks is working 12 hour shifts. They leave the Port , get on Route 1 south to the traffic Circle, then up Route 16 to River Rd(Rockingham Electric) and the Sprague facility.
Don’t wash your car and drive on Rt 16 when this operation is ongoing.
So why are they doing this? This seems to adding a great deal of expense to the procurement of raw materials, and it’s tying up the State pier for a good chunk of time.
The shipper is using the wrong type of vessel. That vessel at the State pier can’t unload at the Sprague pier further up river.
This the right type of vessel to be using for the Sprague Storage facility pier.
This type of bulk ship is a self -unloader and requires no shore side assistance. It is the type of vessel that normally delivers gypsum to the Sprague facility. This type of vessel is according to Sprague, in short supply for hire. These ships haul coal one month, grain the next, gypsum. Oh, I know all about gypsum now after 2 days. I could give a lecture on gypsum.Wallboard too, it’s quite a story. Gypsum Mines were closed in Canada due to the general economic downturn a few years ago and the dedicated ships were self unloaders plying the North Atlantic. They made regular stops up and down the east Coast, it was a milk run.
“Welcome to EXTV, tonight an in depth look at Gypsum with Mike Lambert , just back from the mines in Spain”
‘Good evening , this is one of the many wine bags I collected during my investigation with my intrepid companion Doozie”
I found a blog all about Nova Scotia shipping news that details the capabilities of the special self unloaders and the demise of the gypsum trade.
Here’s a sample of that blog Ship Fax
“Its most recent fleet upgrade saw two new self-unloaders, Gypsum Centennial built in 2001 and Gypsum Integrity built in 2008. Ostensibly sister ships, they could carry 42,000 tonnes, and unload gypsum at a rate of 3,000 tonnes per hour. These ships have now found work in other bulk trades.”
I looked up a few of the self unloaders using that ship locator site and they are busy , in the South Atlantic, Africa, Brazil. They indeed have found other work.
Sprague might install shore side hoppers for the type for ship they are able to hire,then the cranes would simply dump it in the hoppers and a conveyer could move it to storage. Still seems slow to me.
This vessel is tied up at the Sprague pier in Newington, it’s a chemical/oil tanker. I really like cruising around a working waterfront .
Today this vessel is transiting the Black Sea, off the coast of Georgia.
“No smoking Sergei!”
The turning basin off the Sprague pier is scheduled for dredging and is a huge project, maybe 10 million. Still a few years away. We have had a grounding in this area by a large vessel making the swing.
I think an answer is to work a bit harder on securing the right vessel for transport and the Public should be kept more aware of operations at the Port.
Is the State charging enough for the use of the pier.? Just asking.
I know wallboard had a hefty increase recently.
Do you know where synthetic gypsum comes from? I bet you will be surprised. This information could be useful on Jeopardy some day.