Mooring Renewal

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.

Fun over.

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.

Mike

One comment

  1. The fishing boat in the 2nd image is the M/V Perseverance… it is owned and operated by Star Island Corporation. I worked on that boat from April 2011- September for the season. During the Winter months it will be docked their at the NH Port Authority Dock from November till March… April – October it spends its nights in Gosport Harbor, as the captain and crew sleep out on Star. What a fun summer… I got video I must post soon.

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