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Fact-check: Industry’s false claims about Hudson River anchorages

Hudson River Anchorages: Get the facts

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JLatAnchoragesCropped

Riverkeeper, elected officials and the general public are dismayed that some of the arguments being offered by the industry are blatant falsehoods – statements that are easily disputed by the facts.

CLAIM: This is nothing new. Vessel operators have been anchoring informally at these sites for years. Since Henry Hudson, actually.

RESPONSE: Not to this degree, not by a long shot. In our patrols over 15 years, we’ve never seen even a half-dozen commercial vessels anchored between the George Washington Bridge and Albany. There are only two existing authorized anchorage grounds, at Yonkers and Hyde Park. In addition to these two locations, for about three years, until the fall of 2015, tugs and barges also used an unauthorized anchorage off Port Ewen near Kingston.

The proposal seeks to add ten more anchorage grounds, with room for 43 vessels – a drastic increase.

CLAIM: Permanent, authorized anchorages are needed for safety. Vessel operators need a place to stop in the event of fog and ice – or as the Coast Guard told the New York Times, to “park and catch up on rest and then move on.”

RESPONSE: This is a problem that doesn’t need to be fixed. Commercial vessels already have emergency anchoring privileges. To our knowledge, the Coast Guard has never denied commercial vessel operators the ability to anchor when needed due to safety concerns.

In fact, all of the areas proposed as new anchorages were used during Superstorm Sandy. The Coast Guard specifically directed vessels to anchor upriver, out of New York Harbor. When vessel operators need to anchor on an emergency basis, all they need to do is call the Coast Guard.
Recently a Coast Guard spokesperson suggested that the anchorages are like a “truck stop on the highway” where operators can stop and rest. That suggestion is a little ridiculous. Trucks have one driver. Tugs have multiple crew, and are staffed to operate around the clock, watch on watch, for weeks on end. Tugs don’t nap.

CLAIM: ‘Don’t you need gas for your car and oil to heat your home?

RESPONSE: Refined products, like gasoline and heating oil, have been shipped from coastal refineries north up the Hudson to Albany for decades. That won’t change, and that’s not the issue. The barges that have been anchoring in the Hudson since 2012, when North Dakota crude oil production started, have rarely been barges transporting heating oil or gasoline. In most cases, they are barges that transport crude oil. The great majority are anchoring because their loading terminals in Albany are at capacity. It’s disingenuous and dishonest to raise the specter of heating oil and gasoline delivery problems in this conversation.

As the industry itself says, “Trade will increase on the Hudson River significantly over the next few years with the lifting of the ban on American Crude exports for foreign trade and federally designated anchorages are key to supporting trade.” (See the Jan. 21, 2016, letter from the Maritime Association of the Port of NY/NJ Tug and Barge Committee to U.S. Coast Guard.)

During the peak crude oil years of 2013-14, we saw tremendous volume of crude oil traveling down the Hudson Valley: two trains a day, 3 million gallons each; a barge a day, with approximately 4 million gallons; and the tanker Afrodite, doing a round trip from Albany to New Brunswick every eight days carrying 8 million gallons. That enormous volume was limited by what the coastal refineries could receive. But now that the United States has lifted its export ban on crude oil, industry predicts that we will see an enormous increase in volumes transported on the Hudson. Now, global market forces are the only limit.

CLAIM: The three anchorages in the “Kingston Hub” are essential because the upriver section should be navigated only during daylight. Otherwise it is unsafe.

RESPONSE: The barges anchored near Kingston weren’t waiting for daylight, they were waiting for dock space in the Port of Albany.

BargesouthboundatPoughkeepsieLoaded crude oil barges routinely travel south through the Port of Albany, through this “narrow, dangerous” reach at all hours. Here is a photo of a barge carrying crude oil, southbound at Poughkeepsie (just south of Kingston), in ice, in winter, in the dark – meaning it transited the upper river from Albany in the middle of the night.

But let’s suppose for a minute that industry’s assertion is correct – that the Kingston-to-Albany reach IS dangerous at night. If that’s so, the Coast Guard should act upon that information and prohibit transits of loaded vessels north of Kingston at night.

Additionally, let’s suppose that the Kingston-to-Albany reach should be done in daylight. The existing Hyde Park anchorage is about 7 miles south of the eight berths that industry wants in Kingston. Why don’t they use the Hyde Park anchorage to capacity? That 7 additional miles would not preclude a daylight run to Albany.

CLAIM: Tugs and barges haven’t used the existing authorized anchorages at Hyde Park because they “defer” to large ships stopping to exchange pilots at Hyde Park.

RESPONSE: In reality, large ships that use pilots NEVER anchor to switch pilots at Norrie Point / Hyde Park, or at the pilot station in Yonkers, or offshore in the approaches to New York Harbor. In addition, barges do sometimes use the Hyde Park anchorage. Here is a photo.

TwoBargesatHydePark

CLAIM: These products need to be transported by water. Maybe you’d prefer them sent up by rail or pipelines running through your backyards?

RESPONSE: The maritime industry suggests that shipping oil by barge will prevent construction of a pipeline. The pipeline industry says that if we have a pipeline, we won’t need barges. And the rail industry says it’s the safest means of transport of all. They’re all wrong.

Having barges won’t prevent pipelines, and having pipelines won’t prevent barges, and transport by rail won’t prevent either of the others. None of these industries has made a compact with the others, saying, “If you move the oil, we’ll back out of the business.”

CLAIM: Vessels will only anchor for a few hours – “short term.”

RESPONSE: Fact is, barges often anchor for several days on end. And while industry is adamant that the anchorages are for short term use, in the Federal Register, the Coast Guard defines 42 of the 43 proposed berths as “long term.”

CLAIM: The only barges coming south are empty.

afrodite-port-of-albanyRESPONSE: That’s blatantly untrue. Loaded crude oil barges travel south, day and night. Here is a photo of the tanker Afrodite loading in Albany, and a barge headed south with crude oil.

CLAIM: Industry says that anchored crude oil barges only show 360 degree white anchor lights.

RESPONSE: That’s not at all the case. Many shoreline residents documented the reality: Petroleum barges are lit up like “baseball diamonds” at night.

Here is a photo.

CLAIM: The barges are “mute” – they have no machinery, they’re quiet at night.

RESPONSE: The truth is that petroleum barges have generators mounted on deck that power equipment such as fuel transfer pumps and deck lighting. Residents report hearing barge generators in their living rooms in the summer when windows and doors are open.

CLAIM: The anchorages have been chosen so that barges can anchor “out of the current.”

RESPONSE: This statement represents gross ignorance of river conditions. Anywhere the river is deep enough for these vessels, there is also tidal current.

Why are all these weak, false arguments being used? It appears to be a campaign of disinformation. Keep these points in mind when you attend public meetings that the Coast Guard has promised.

Read and share:

  • Scott

    I’m just stunned by the lies and general misinformation presented by a group that purports to be “fact checking” the issues surrounding the anchorage proposal.
    As a mariner with 20 years of experience working on the Hudson, it’s clear to me that Riverkeeper has no clue of how ships and tugs/barges operate, what they’re carrying, how they’re manned, and the how ( and why ) of how they manage the safe transport of cargo up and down the river.
    Virtually every “response” by Riverkeeper in the above narrative is factually incorrect or flawed ….and shows a shocking ignorance of the practices of the industry it has focused it’s ire on. . Facts do matter and it’s a shame that an organization with such an important task as Riverkeeper must resort to “yellow journalism” in its efforts to stop this proposal.

  • Sailboat Scotty

    The 31 community boat clubs of the Hudson River Boat & Yacht Club Association and our 3,000 boating families greatly appreciates Riverkeeper looking closely at the facts. These anchorages are wrong for the river, will only benefit a few, take away public access and increase safety and environmental concerns for all mariners. We would not allow oil tanks to be built on public lands and we should not allow oil to be stored on the river.

  • Ben Swan

    Fact Check:
    1. The majority of petroleum products being transported to and from Albany are refined products. There is only one tug and barge unit moving Bakken crude currently. Vessels bring refined petroleum north and occasionally ethanol south.
    2. The Coast Guard removes lighted buoys from the River during the wintertime. The narrowest part of the River is from Kingston to Albany, that is why it is not transited at night. Vessels will establish the latest time they can leave so that they can make it to Kingston by dusk. The picture showed was taken in Poughkeepsie which is approximately 2 hours south of Kingston. The USCG provides timely updates on when these lighted buoys are removed and from that time on the River is not transited at night.

    OPINION: There are serious issues with your article, the most serious being what you call statements by Coast Guard officials. The way these comments are printed does not display the military bearing typically exhibited by the Coast Guard. USCG Sector New York would never state that vessels would anchor because “we’re like trucks and need to stop and take a nap.” Every vessel at anchor is still maintaining an active watch, ensuring the anchor is not dragging, as well as monitoring traffic and communications.

  • Ben Swan

    Fact Check:
    1. The majority of petroleum products being transported to and from Albany are refined products. There is only one tug and barge unit moving Bakken crude currently. Vessels bring refined petroleum north and occasionally ethanol south.
    2. The Coast Guard removes lighted buoys from the River during the wintertime. The narrowest part of the River is from Kingston to Albany, that is why it is not transited at night. Vessels will establish the latest time they can leave so that they can make it to Kingston by dusk. The picture showed was taken in Poughkeepsie which is approximately 2 hours south of Kingston. The USCG provides timely updates on when these lighted buoys are removed and from that time on the River is not transited at night.

    OPINION: There are serious issues with your article, the most serious being what you call statements by Coast Guard officials. The way these comments are printed does not display the military bearing typically exhibited by the Coast Guard. USCG Sector New York would never state that vessels would anchor because “we’re like trucks and need to stop and take a nap.” Every vessel at anchor is still maintaining an active watch, ensuring the anchor is not dragging, as well as monitoring traffic and communications.

  • BearMountainBoater

    Hi. The Hudson River Estuary is a national treasure and we need to do everything we can to protect it. I was just wondering where you got your information for your responses from? it doesn’t seem like you have a lot of fact there, just your opinion. Can you quote sources for future articles? Or is this meant as an opinion piece?

  • Tom

    You don’t cite any “facts” to oppose any of the claims made by Riverkeeper, Scott, so there’s no reason why anyone should believe you. Yes, facts DO matter. Where are yours? Calling names (and you should know that Riverkeeper is not a news organization, so the accusation of “yellow journalism” is just stupid) is not argument.

  • maria rose randazzo

    I have been following the Riverkeeper and all the activities up and down the Hudson. I have seen personally myself how the re-opening of the Saw Mill access to wildlife has invigorated that site. We are just seeing the end results of similar projects up and down Hudson and NOW someone wants to shove lies down our throats about how parking barges along the Hudson is not going to effect the river environment. As I see it, there is two main problems that have to be solved. One is the Albany port, which is claimed to backlogged for barges and boats coming and going. This sounds like a problem that can be solved by revitalization of that port But whoever is trying to push the flow of the crude oil along is impatient. WE NEED TO KNOW WHO IS PUSHING FOR THIS TO HAPPEN. The Coast Guard is simply the ones in charge of the river. They are not being told of the long term parking of the barges right in the tidal current which will definitely the river environment, plus annoy every resident who lives near the river fonts with lights and machinery noises. That is not even hitting on the effect those barges have on the view of the majestic Hudson. The other problem is how fast they want to send barges up Hudson to line up “waiting to unload” in Albany. Sounds very strong like they intend to park a full line from the Bronx/ Yonkers border all the way to that so-called cog-point north of Kingston prior to entering the port of Albany so they can unload one and park one. Rather figuring out a traffic pattern of movement of boats and barges that don’t require anything parking in the river. None of these river vehicles require pilots taking time off to rest as there are others on board who can pilot. Are they trying to save LABOR by running short staffed? This is our river we need to fight for it. A boat trip up the Hudson to Albany is not that long except to those who want to travel at speed of light up river.

  • Bob Dahringer

    I sail as a licensed engineer and also have many years sailing experience including many trips on the Hudson safely transporting both refined products and crude oil. While I respect Riverkeeper in what they do for the Hudson, putting up quotes without citing a reference is disingenious and misleading. You state that you have been told “the only barges coming south are empty.” Who would say that? Its now common knowledge that barges are loaded with crude in Albany then head south, but if you were to ask the crew of unit that only hauls refined product upriver if theyre loaded coming south, well, of course theyre going to say theyre empty. You need to cite a source to be credible.
    Re the Hyde Park anchorage, there is a gentlemans agreement with the Hudson River Pilots to try to keep that anchorage available for ships to anchor.
    As far as sailing at all hours, this not the case. My company specifically forbids us from departing from Albany except for daylight hours and not so late into the morning that we wouldn’t near Kingston by last light. Once south of Kingston, we can proceed downriver, so yes, its possible to see a unit underway like the picture of the unit you have posted approaching Poughkeepsie. The same applies northbound. We plan our transit from Kingston to Albany to also be completed by late afternoon. Keep in mind this is especially important during the winter months with shorter daylight hours, fog, ice in the river and the occasional blinding snow storm. (oh, fun fact: most of buoys are removed from the river in the winter!) You also state in part….”disingenuous and dishonest to raise the specter of heating oil and gasoline delivery problems in this conversation.” Um, no, the barges with “clean” product DO belong in the conversation. You do know that Global has ONE dock to handle one barge at a time, right? Depending on the needs of Global, they may load 4 or 5 crude barges and then bring in a “clean” barge, so now its not unusual for a “clean” barge to have to anchor. The idea that we don’t need additional safe anchorages seems counterintuitive to keeping the river safe. I could go on at length, but I think you get my point that you are dealing in misinformation and half-truths.

  • Scott

    Tom,
    I apologize for my use of the term “yellow journalism” as it is indeed very clear that Riverkeeper is not a news organization. Though representing oneself as a “fact checker” does carry with it, one would hope, at least a glimmer of accuracy in one’s writing. It is also clear, as partly explained by Mr Swan above, that Riverkeeper doesn’t know the marine industry and/or it’s practices. In but another example of Riverkeepers lack of understanding of the industry is their claim that “ships NEVER anchor at Hyde Park to change pilots”. The fact, ( remember “facts matter “) is that ships routinely anchor at Hyde Park, one pilot gets off, and a few hours later, another pilot gets on. It’s a common practice. (And yes, another fact is that tugs and barges often do defer to a ship seeking to anchor in the only federal anchorage north of Yonkers.)

    The picture of the tanker Afrodite loading crude oil in Albany was also interesting. I wonder why Riverkeeper doesn’t mention that the Afrodite hasn’t even been on the Hudson River in over a year. In “fact” no crude oil has been exported by ship out of Albany since the Afrodite stopped loading oil over a year ago. So while it’s a very nice picture, the implication of tankers loading in Albany just doesn’t comport with the facts.

    Riverkeeper also disputes the claim that vessels have been anchoring in these sites for years…. “In our patrols over 15 years, we’ve never seen even a half-dozen commercial vessels anchored between the George Washington Bridge and Albany.” What? Sorry, but yet another bit of misinformation by Riverkeeper. In “fact”, nearly a half dozen large ships have anchored for short periods in the river between the George Washington Bridge and Poughkeepsie in the last year alone.

    So yes, facts do matter. I don’t begrudge groups like Riverkeeper expressing their opposition to the anchorage proposal. Riverkeepers agenda is well known and they’re entitled to oppose whatever they wish. Making inaccurate or performing “fact checking” using misinformation, though, is just dishonest.

  • bbrucato

    Pilots are required for foreign flag vessels and any vessel whose master does not have enough trips over the route for recency. A two watch system is in use for wheelhouse personnel, no one is running short staffed.
    You have no experience at moving large vessels up and down the river yet you see fit to comment as if you know something. You don’t.
    A vessel making transit from The Battery to Albany making 10 knots would take 12.5 hours. Except for the fact they have to slow down for many marinas along the way as well as wait for safe meeting places for opposing traffic. More realistically, 14 hours. Night transits of the river during the ice season have ceased due to unlighted replacement buoys.

    No one is talking about long term anchorages, as in weeks or months. Stop making shit up.
    Revitalization of the port of Albany would create more traffic and more need for anchorages, your comment shows a distinct lack of comprehension.

  • bbrucato

    Tom, it’s obvious you’re not a professional mariner. Any professional with direct experience of working on the river can tell you where the article is incorrect, misleading or just downright stupid. The USCG has very straightforward set of rules that regulate anchorages and how vessels using them are to be lighted. The rules call for any unit over 100 meters to be lit up end to end.
    Anchor watches are being stood on all these units, it would be a career ender were it found that one was ignoring their responsibility to keep a proper lookout.
    Demanding fewer anchorages because your view is impaired doesn’t address the needs of the many, but the needs of a few lucky enough to have the means to own a waterfront property. The marine industry is a necessary and vital industry committed to safety and excellence.

    If the Riverkeeper’s intent is to create a bucolic marine sanctuary, they are doing the region a huge disservice and ignoring the fact that the river has been a major artery for commerce since before this nation existed. These anchorages are not long term mothball anchorages, they are short term, as needed due to weather or traffic congestion. The additional anchorages are not prime spots by any stretch, they are contingency anchorages in case of need.
    The cost to infrastructure to supply the region is being overlooked.
    Do the math, take each barge which carries approximately 2-3 million gallons each, divide by 12,000 (a high average for average tanker truck) and then see the your roadways are now adding 140 or so more trucks with dangerous cargo per bargeload. The increased exposure is something you’re good with? If you want further insight into the professional perspective there are plenty of resources at your fingertips if you are so inclined.

  • Thomas S

    No tugs are stopping to “rest” , they are stopping either because their berth is not available or because they are waiting for daylight / visibility. All tugs transporting oil have a crew to be underway 24/7/365.

  • Thomas S

    They benefit only a few? How about everyone who put gasoline in their boat , car or truck? How about everyone who heats their home with heating oil? When I worked on the river I was carrying 4.2 million gallons of gasoline and heating oil on every trip up north.
    No one is “storing oil” on the fiver, that is a completelyrics false narrative.

  • Thomas S

    Tugs are crewed with a captain who works 6am to noon and 6pm to midnight. The Mate works from midnight to 6am and noon to 6pm. That is a fact. Suggesting that the tug/barge units are stopping to rest is a absolutely false. How’s that for fact versus yellow journalism.

  • Patrick F. Geiger

    Sorry Tom, but Scott is right. I’ve sailed on the river for years as a tugboat Captain moving oil barges up and down the river. Nearly everything stated by the Riverkeeper is wrong. I respect what they do but frankly I don’t understand why they are not onboard with plans to make the river safer. So I can go on repeating what Bob and Ben said, but I won’t. Read the statements made above. It’s been my experience that every time something is proposed to make things safer or cleaner, misinformation gets in the way and nothing gets done. We still store nuclear waste in leaky pools at the power plants while a trillion dollar storage facility sits idle. For years we dumped hazardous chemicals 50 miles offshore from barges while multi million dollars incinerator ships designed to burn these chemicals, 100 miles offshore, sat idle. They were finally scrapped without having been used. Why? misinformation and an ignorant public. Tell me how barrels of hazardous chemicals washing up on the beach, then breaking apart, is better than burning them offshore, at thousands of degrees, reducing them to water and co2? But the “environmentalist” got their way by shutting down good ideas without offering any alternatives. So Tom, what alternative solution do you offer? Do you even know what the issues are? Or are you a sheeple who was told to oppose something you know nothing about and are blindly following orders? We in the industry requested these anchorages to make things safer. Not to pollute or ruin someones life for some perceived evil reason.

  • Thomas S

    While I am no longer assigned to that vessel I was assigned to a Tug and Barge that delivered only clean products to Albany for the last 5 years. Most trips in the winter we anchored at Port Ewen and almost never made a trip non stop. This was as far as we could safety transit in darkness once the “Ice” buoys replaced the large lighted buoys that mark the route in warmer weather. Even in summer it was as far as we could safely go if visibility was poor or forcast to be.
    There were other times when we were waiting our turn for our berth in Albany. The company we were on charter to has only one dock and they schedule it based on which products are needed most and capacity in their tanks. There have been times when they would call us begging us to come up the river because the gasoline delivery trucks were lined up waiting.
    What has changed is that for the last 5 years or so there is two way traffic loaded. Crude oil is part of that but so is ethanol used to make gasoline instead of dangerous chemicals like MTBE.

    The crude and the products will be moved, the only questions are which method is safest and most cost effective. Would you rather that it run in hundreds and hundreds of tank cars along the River’s Edge? Would you rather it run at night and not anchor risking grounding? Perhaps if the Coast Guard set up permanent special anchorage’s where vessels were not required to run all their deck lights that would be more palatable. But as it stands it’s a coast guard requirement to put on all your lights.
    This River was a commercial water way before any of you were born or even thought of. And it will continue to be long after you’re dead. And it should be used as safely and efficiently as possible. Not just to humor somebody who doesn’t like the view.

  • Patrick F. Geiger

    Maria, It’s our river too. I live nearby and play on the river, as well as work on it. The river is cleaner than it’s been in 100 years. It was at the peak of polluted in the 1970’s when I started cruising on the river. As a professional mariner I would recommend you researching all points of this discussion. Get all the facts. Look at the charts. look at the history of the river. Read the comments by the other professional mariners. Then make an informed decision. The USCG is trying to keep us all safe and the environment clean. Adding a few more designated anchorages is not somehow magically going to increase river traffic. It’s like adding 100 more parking spaces around a mall where only 40% of the parking lot is ever full. Does adding the spaces magically cause the mall to have more business? No, of course not. Crude moves down river are a function of the price of crude. Now it’s not worth shipping so we don’t move that much. That can change. refined product stays about the same regardless of crude prices. People need heating oil and gas for their cars.That’s not likely to change much. Adding more anchorages gives us tug operators many more legal and safe options to anchor should we get caught in a blinding snowstorm, or fog. Would you rather us anchor safely or plow on when we can’t see? Use common sense. If we continue because there is no place to stop, that’s when bridges are hit, collisions happen, or barges run aground. Oil spills can then happen. The idea that companies are going to “park” barges all over the river, for no reason at all, is ludicrous. Why would anyone idle millions of dollars worth of equipment just to annoy local residents. It’s an election year so politicians are making up issues that don’t exist. All “party of No’ people since it’s easier to raise your fist and protest something, then propose a sensible solution. The USCG sees the sensible solution as adding more spots to anchor. Read into it what you will, but it’s really that simple. No vast right wing conspiracy by “big oil”. Now here’s a fun fact. The worst oil spill I ever personally witnessed was when a RIVERKEEPER boat ran into a rock or a submerged piling. They were trailing an oil tanker we were escorting into Perth Amboy, taking pictures, not paying attention to where they were going. They struck the object and people flew off the boat into the water. the boat sunk so fast the operator failed to shut down the engine. The engine blew as water went into the air intakes. The lube oil and fuel oil spill as bad enough to coat all the crew will a nasty coat of oil. All I could do was call the USCG to help them, then stand by until they showed up. My tug drew 11 ft of water so I could not get close enough to help with out endangering my crew. The Irony of having the industry watchdogs coated in oil from their polluting wreck, while hoping to catch a tanker polluting.
    Another thing I want to point out. No one is trying to save on LABOR. If anything, the oil companies have forced us to carry more people than the USCG requires us to carry. One last note. Most of the anchorages were once anchorages before, or are just redefining existing anchorages. See the picture of the “new” anchorage across from the power plant. That picture was taken in the 1970’s. Even back then NIMBY’s were trying to shut it down.

  • Eava

    Poughkeepsie and Kingston are not 2 hours apart, Poughkeepsie is less than 20 miles south.

  • Scott

    Sigh…….A tug and barge moving at 8 knots takes over 2 hours to go 20 miles.

  • Sal Paradise .

    Absolutely Scotty. I sail my own boat out of Kingston dealing with intense recreational and commercial traffic, currents a narow crooked chanel.and it would be extremely hazardous to add 7 another anchored oil tankers into that mix, especcialy for a wind powered vessel that does 5 mph when the wind is blowing. Where does a sailboat run when commercial traffic is coming down the channel? The only places we can go are where they propose to put these tankers! If this goes through then I wil probably no longer sail at Kingston because it will be too dangerous. All to benefit the shareholders of a shipping company and a North Dakota oil company. No way.

  • Sal Paradise .

    1. Irrelevant to the impact of the anchored barges.
    2, They have been transiting as long as anyone can remember. The safety statistics are good and have not changed during that time except that we now have GPS, AIS and a host of weather and real time information all of which make the trip much safer. If commerical oil tankers canot navigate the Hudson River, something is very wrong indeed.
    Opinion; even if the attributed comment is not 100% accurate, a very similar comment by Warrant Officer Conroy in the NY Times stated that crews “need the anchorages to catch up on rest”.. The point is that there are multiple crew members to operate the tug and there is no need for sleep is a very relevant argument in this case.

  • There are interconnected pipelines being built all across the region. Creating barge docking opportunities increases the ability to transport oil out of the region and sell it out of the country. Build it and they will come.

  • Westchester County’s municipal leaders have banded together across partisan lines to safeguard our Hudson from increased anchorage, Proposed projects facilitate increased oil transportation on the Hudson, begs for reckless profiteering, and no economic benefit for the local economy. Wise municipal leaders upstream will lend their voices to this protest and stop anchors from being placed anywhere along the Hudson River.

  • Increased capacity for anchorage will conveniently coincide with completion of pipelines designed to facilitate transportation of product to foreign markets. This whole pipeline to barge project is a fools game. Consider Venezuela as the business model.

  • This would be the “Moth Ball Fleet”? WWII ships anchored and awaiting decommission in Haverstraw Bay? Pipelines are being built right now. How do we expect all that infrastructure to go unsung? The more we allow to be built the more investment and leverage profiteers have. The fossil fuel game is near it’s end. Don’t let it’s death throws take out our unique river.

  • Jim Tugs Garrett

    20 miles divided by 10 mph would be 2 hours.

  • Jim Tugs Garrett

    I grew up in this area and also spent over 30 years working on all types of U.S. Merchant Vessels, mostly Tug and Barge Units. It would be impossible for me to put a number on how many trips I have made up and down the River. There has been times where we have had to sit stopped in the Ice. I remember one time we had to disconnect from our Barge to help the U.S.C.G. Wire or Hawser breakout of the Ice Track so we could pass. This entire article stinks of NIMBY!

    As for Anchored Vessels having so many lights on, this is required by LAW! I would bet any of you would be running to your Lawyer if you ran into a blacked out Barge!

    The Hudson River has been a vital path for Refined Products to travel North Bound (and recently Crude Oil South Bound) to Albany and years ago, all the way to the Great Lakes.

    One other thing, the Hudson River is a Federal Water Way and for those that live near the banks that are trying to force their point of view on EVERYONE is not right!

    After reading all of the responses to The Riverkeeper, I can not add anything that my fellow Mariners have not already stated. What I do believe that everyone is missing is that these Anchorages have been there for a long time. The Difference is that they were for Emergencies or un-scheduled stops, such as weather, Fog, Ice…. If one is to believe Riverkeeper, if this goes through the Hudson will be lined with Anchored Barges and Ships, not going to happen!

    Just to point out, I am posting under my REAL Name, not some made up Internet Handle! So, Riverkeeper how about identifying yourself? If you feel so strongly about this topic you should have no problem (and should be proud of it) putting your real name out for all to see. If there is / are, more than one person posting under Riverkeeper, then the same goes for all of them.

    I do applaud all of you for caring about the River and wanting to keep it safe. I do have to wonder how any “Boaters” on the River use 2 Stroke Engines? I am sure that most of you have noticed the “Sheen” that comes out of this type of Engine. Now, just so you know, if any Vessel that I was Chief Engineer on put out anything like that I would have been taken off in Handcuffs and faced a Huge Fine! So, clean up your own act before worrying about what MIGHT happen!

  • Bob Dahringer

    How fast do you think a damn tugboat can go? On an ice clogged river? Pushing 4 million gallons of product.
    Not to single you out, but your statement is representative of what others post; assumptions, half -truths and a display of not knowing the first thing about how things actually work on the river.

  • Bob Dahringer

    Scott, can you clarify your statement that these anchorages will restrict public access to the river? How so?

  • Bob Dahringer

    I have asked Riverkeeper where they are getting their info from in a few different posts, because some of their “fact-checks” don’t hold up to closer scrutiny.
    There response to date so far has been……cue the crickets…..no response.

  • willworkforchange

    I think the essential question is: To whom does the river belong? The New York Times reports the following: “The Maritime Association of the Port of New York and New Jersey and the American Waterways Operators asked the Coast Guard for permission to establish new anchorage sites on the Hudson…The Maritime Association, in a letter to the Coast Guard in January, cited the nation’s growing role as an energy producer, adding that boat traffic would increase on the Hudson River ‘significantly over the next few years with the lifting of the ban on American crude exports for foreign trade.’ The letter added that new ‘anchorages are key to supporting trade.'” So these changes are to support trade, pure and simple; there was a reference to the safety of the boat operators — but not the residents or businesses-owners who live here. One doesn’t need to be a maritime expert to form an opinion on this. And in my opinion, the river can be used for commerce but those who profit by it shouldn’t be given free reign over how it’s best used or protected. Thanks, Riverkeeper for keeping up the pressure.

  • Ben Swan

    Sal, are you advocating that ships and tugs transit the upper reaches in darkness? Do you understand that the lighted buoys are removed during the winter because they get pushed underneath the ice and damaged? The buoys that are put in their place do not pick up well on radar. If you were to navigate the upper reaches in darkness you would literally be navigating on GPS alone. Tell me how safe it would be to drive your car while only being able to look at your garmin?

    Lastly, vessels do not anchor to catch up on rest. Period, end of report. These vessels are 24-hour operations. If Warrant Officer Conroy did make these statements he is very mistaken.

  • Bob Dahringer

    “Increased capacity for anchorage will conveniently coincide with completion of pipelines designed to facilitate transportation of product to foreign markets. This whole pipeline to barge project is a fools game. ”
    Wow! I damn near fell outta my chair reading that! Go back and re-read your comment carefully and think about what youre putting forth.
    I’ll save you the effort…..you do realize that if there was a pipeline from Albany to the refinery in New Jersey there would be no need to move a drop of crude oil on the Hudson or by rail in the first place? That would’ve been the Pilgrim Pipeline Project, but all the NIMBYs killed that idea. Hmm, what if there was a pipeline directly from the Bakken oil fields? That would’ve been the Keystone Pipeline Project that would’ve handled the majority of Bakken oil being shipped to Cushing, Oklahoma and to points on the Gulf Coast. It would’ve greatly reduced the need for thousands of rail tank cars to roam across the nation. That project was started, but the final phase was killed amidst great opposition.
    I don’t where you got the notion of “pipeline-to-barge” but you sound as confused as the people that think theres going to be barges loaded with oil anchored up and down the river. Its just not so. There is no economic justification for it and just to consider the logistics involved, any person with even the barest grasp of how things work in real life on the river would concur.
    Anyway, thanks for the laugh. ;)

  • Bob Dahringer

    Thanks for your input Jim. Ive been reading a lot of the comments being posted on the Coast Guards website (don’t forget to leave yours too) and what I see a lot of is people move up from the city, get a place on or near the river and now all of a sudden its “their” river. As you correctly pointed out, the Hudson River is a federal river, and its actually designated by the U.S. Maritime Administration as part of the Marine Highway System (M87).
    I’d like Riverkeeper to mention that in one of their blogs.

  • Sailboat Scotty

    Bob-
    The best example is the proposed Roseton Anchorage. For safety reasons – and I think commercial mariners will agree – that recreational boaters should not transit through active ship anchorages. If the Roseton Anchorage is at capacity (3 swing circles) will in essence put a wall adjacent to Chelsea Boat Club’s mooring field harboring over 100 sailboats. No doubt that if my neighbor put up a wall between my house and the street, I’d have restricted access to the street in the same way Roseton is proposed.

    The proposal’s “Yonkers Extension” anchorage would have 16 2,400-foot
    diameter swing circles on the western side of the Hudson River channel
    spanning more than seven miles from Yonkers to Dobbs Ferry, potentially
    restricting navigation on 715 acres of river. Other proposed anchorages
    such as the Milton, Marlboro and Port Ewen would consume half the width
    of the Hudson or more, claiming 274 acres of river. Five swing circles
    proposed for the anchorage at Newburgh are 3,600 feet in diameter,
    claiming a significant portion of the middle of Newburgh Bay.

    Please note I do understand the need for the anchorages, it’s just that this is simply way too much ground, in the wrong places, being taken away for private interests.

    What I also don’t understand – and welcome comment – is why are 9 of the 10 proposed anchorages “long term”? Isn’t “short term” best suited to solve any safety issues that the industry says is an issue. Thanks for any comments-

  • Bob Dahringer

    Can you name a pipeline project specifically that is currently under construction anywhere in the Northeast? I myself haven’t researched the subject, but you seem to be on top of pipeline projects, so c’mon, dish the dirt.

  • Bob Dahringer

    Scott, that’s a logical answer, thank you.
    This is all conjecture on my part, but I doubt the Coast Guard will approve even half of the proposed anchorages as there isn’t going to be that kind of capacity required even if crude shipments come roaring back. There is going to be a strong push for the Yonkers extension and the Kingston hub as these are the northern and southern ends of the anchorage area, so they make the most sense. I can also see a push for the Newburgh anchorage and I will tell you why. When Global purchased the Warex terminals, I imagine they had long range plans to expand their rail operations to be able to handle crude trains and transload the oil to barges as is now being done in Albany. I believe they were in the permitting stages with the state, but for the time being, those plans have been shelved, but don’t think shelved equals dead.
    Now as far as the anchorages being described “long term” the Coast Guard in approving any of the anchorages, can and should regulate them, including limits of time-at-anchor, as is done in NY harbor.

  • Lisa Moir

    Yes the Spectra AIM pipeline is currently being built. It is going under the Hudson River right now, within hundreds of feet of the proposed anchorage area, near Indian Point Nuclear Power plant. It runs from PA through to the coast of Massachusetts. It then goes up to New Brunswick for export off the coast to Europe.

  • Sal Paradise .

    Ben They have been doing it for 90 years without GPS. And GPS is good enough to run a ship on, and to fly a 767. And it is not at all comparable to a car. But even so; if they leave Yonkers anchorage at say 4 AM they arive in Albany about 4 pm. Therefore they pass Kingston around 10 am so it is a daylight run. I agree that the rest argument is bogus. Conroy was quoted in the NY Times and I doubt they made that up. Makes me wonder again why all the fake arguments? Just be honest; they want the space to park more barges so they can have more space down in Bayonne. I mean I know why they don’t make that argument, because no one would agree with them.

  • Bob Dahringer

    Thank you for that information Lisa.
    I did read up on the Spectra Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) project which is for natural gas transmission. Lea seemed to infer that there is some sorta pipeline-to-barge pipeline projects in the works.

  • Sailboat Scotty

    Bob-
    I appreciate our dialog, and learn more when the conversation can be civil. Thanks for your helpful insights. While I don’t agree with everything you say, I do appreciate what you have to offer on the conversation.
    I was thinking, too, that there will be a little give and take. I’d love have a discussion with you offer coffee or beer sometime. If you see an old, ratty Catalina 25 with light blue stripe on the river near Ossining, give a wave sometime….although I think I’m one of the smart ones and anytime I see a tug heading my way, I go opposite and give wide berth :)

  • Scott

    Sal…..A tug w/barge loaded making it from Yonkers to Kingston point in 6 hours? To Albany in 12 hours? Just where do you get your information? I’m guessing from Riverkeeper…not the best source of accurate information on just how commercial river traffic actually operates. About 90 percent of the tugs working the river make about 8 knots in still water, less into the current ( think 6-6.5 kts ). Do the math. In winter, they make that trip about 16-18 hours depending on the ice. ( 2 years ago tugs& barges were stuck for days in the ice in the upper river )
    Perhaps it might be best to not venture into areas where you don’t know the facts.

  • Ben Swan

    They don’t do it anymore because it’s NOT SAFE!!! The biggest reason why the River is a lot cleaner now is that we stopped doing stupid things!!! We double-hulled our tank vessels, we started ensuring that officers onboard tugs had experience on tugs (aka towing endorsements) and had familiarity with the route, and if the conditions didn’t permit safe passage we stopped going! If you are at Yonkers at 4am you are not making it to Albany through the ice by 1600. I just read the quotes in the NYT article, apparently she did say it. Apparently she knows nothing of our industry, I will say again because you don’t understand: these tugs are 24-hour operations; no vessels stop for sleep.

    GPS is certainly a valuable aid but is in no way accurate enough to navigate the Hudson River on its own. Airplanes don’t take off and land on GPS, they take off and land under the command of skilled pilots. GPS can be off by 90 feet. Differential GPS (DGPS) can be accurate up to 10-20 feet. The Hudson is 400 feet wide from Kingston until Albany. There is not much room for two vessels to meet even when it is sunny out with perfect visibility. To do it on GPS alone is not advisable.

    The anchorages that have been proposed have been used for years. It hasn’t been until this past year that it was ever an issue. They aren’t going to increase traffic, they’re only going to allow us to be legally protected for what has always been done.

  • davey jones

    Just be honest, you live on the water and don’t want to look at anything that isn’t “pretty”.

  • keep calm tug on

    I assume everyone complaining on here rides bicycles to work and heats their homes with unicorn kisses.

  • Thomas S

    It takes a loaded barge about 18 hours from the Battery to Albany.

  • Sal Paradise .

    No, it has not ” always been done” I’ve been on the river my whole life – they have not anchored barges in these locations. This is a new thing due to the Balken crude and new laws allowing it to be exported. I never said that they steer 100% by GPS, just that it is one of many things that make the trip safer. Find another straw man. It is about 60 miles from Kingston to Albany and at 10 mph they make it through in 6 hours. Park your barge up there if you have to.

  • Sal Paradise .

    It is 60 miles from Kingston to Albany. A ship can’t make 60 miles in a day? They have been doing it for decades. Been on the river my whole life Scott.

  • Sal Paradise .

    The barge captain has to decide if its safe to go and what he needs They have more powerful tugs, they have tugs that go ahead of them and push ice, they are professionals and they do know how and when to go. The anchorages are another matter; extra storage space for Bayonne and Oilbany,

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