Guest Blog: I Lift NY

Will Van Dorp, professor at Union County College in New Jersey, shares his observations about life on New York harbor via tugster: a waterblog on WordPress. Van Dorp, who is following the I Lift NY and its escorts, satisfies the curiosity surrounding the tugboats Lauren Foss and Iver Foss, which are due at that very harbor within two weeks.

Colossal new structures are arriving, and they will modify the riverscape between Nyack and Tarrytown for decades to come. One of these—the new Tappan Zee Bridge—will evolve, one huge piece at a time. The other—a crane integrated into a barge—will just float in. Soon. And it will erect the bridge, lifting sections weighing over a thousand tons.

The crane barge will arrive here after voyaging thousands of miles, with the Oakland bridge project as only its first. Because the crane barge has no propulsion power, it left Oakland, CA, on December 22, 2013, towed by tugboats Lauren Foss and Iver Foss. Both tugboats are operated by Foss Marine Holdings, a company that traces its history back to Tacoma, WA, in 1889, and a Norwegian immigrant named Thea Foss, said to be inspiration for “tugboat Annie.”

Tug boat Lauren Foss (extreme left) towing the crane on day one of its 6000-mile voyage (actually 5224 nautical miles = 6011 statute miles)/Courtesy of Capt. Terry O’Neil

Tug boat Lauren Foss (extreme left) towing the crane on day one of its 6000-mile voyage (actually 5224 nautical miles = 6011 statute miles)/Courtesy of Capt. Terry O’Neil

Lauren Foss is 141’ long and rated at 7200 horsepower, making it among the most powerful tugboats to operate on the Hudson. Iver Foss is 91’ long with 2400 horsepower, and is tethered to the stern of the crane barge to serve as a rudder to the barge.

After delivering the crane, Lauren will not remain here. Likely it will steam to Philadelphia to tow the mothballed aircraft carrier USS Forrestal to Texas to be scrapped.

The crane arrived in Oakland in 2009 from Shanghai, China. For the 6200-mile Pacific crossing, the crane traveled on the deck of a heavy-lift ship called Zhenhua 22. Heavy-lift ships like Zhenhua 22 are partially sunk for loading and offloading so that cargo can be floated off or on.

Heavy-lift ship Zhenhua 18 delivered these port cranes from ZPMC Shanghai to Port Elizabeth, NJ, near the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, in March 2007/Courtesy of Will Van Dorp

Heavy-lift ship Zhenhua 18 delivered these port cranes from ZPMC Shanghai to Port Elizabeth, NJ, near the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, in March 2007/Courtesy of Will Van Dorp

A Shanghai company called ZPMC collaborated with several US companies to build this crane for a cost of approximately $50 million. Noteworthy is the fact that the barge that supports the crane was built in Portland, OR, on the Columbia River and transported to China for the crane to be mounted.

Although the I Lift NY has tremendous lifting capacity, it is by no means the largest floating crane in the world. Currently that title goes to cranes like Thialf and Saipem 7000, which can lift 14,000 tons or more.

All that being said, the crane that will enter the Hudson River within a week is arguably the largest and most powerful crane ever seen in these waters. Watch this space for more information on its arrival.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2014

1 comment so far

  1. […] and the Freedom Tower about six weeks later. Will Van Dorp, who blogs at tugster: a waterblog shared his views as the crane was en […]

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