2009 Week 14 in Review
March 29 to April 4, 2009
Tug for sale
The tug Earnest is for sale here in Seattle. It's a great tug, 91 feet long and built in 1942. It used to have a 600-HP Atlas-Imperial just like the one owned by the Florida Flywheelers. It's been re-powered with a 1,125 Caterpillar D-399 engine, but it's still a good boat. Contact me if you or a friend is interested.
Enterprise R-Models for sale
We've heard that there's two 8,000 horsepower Enterprise Model-R diesels for sale in Maryland. They're part of a genset and that was supposed to power an island, but apparently the deal fell through. We've heard that these two were the last off the Enterprise manufacturing line, so we hope someone grabs them. Contact OTM Inc if you're interested.
I just found out that an old neighbor of mine is a descendant of the guy who invented the Metal Marine Pilot, which was later turned into a Wood Freeman Autopilot. Huh.
We at OTM Inc have recently heard of a tugboat collection getting pushed around by the government.
Steve is a tugboat guy in Waterford, New York. He's a little reckless, a little eccentric, and very passionate about what he does, which is to collect old tugboats. I can see you rolling your eyes out there, but if the tugboat collection is doing okay and not harming anyone, why bother him?
Well, the New York State Canal Corporation is apparently planning to remove Steve and his vessels from "their" waterways by systematically attacking him with court orders, restraining orders, fines, and the other non-violent weapons available to bureaucracies. The Canal Corporation is a state-owned operation designed to manage the public trust that owns the canal and river systems in New York. According to Steve, they recently changed the state law to say "no living on boats in the canals." We at OTM Inc have not looked up the law, but find it unlikely that they made it that general; instead, we speculate that they changed the state law to read something like "no living on a barge called Pennsylvania No. 399 within 100 yards of Lock E-2."
Anyway, Steve continued living on his boat, so the Canal Corporation had him arrested and issued a restraining order to keep him off the boats. Interestingly, the Canal Corporation then assumed care of the boats, until they can safely acquire title to them through the doctrine of adverse possession. I think we all can guess where they'll end up after the Canal Corporation has title to them.
Steve is planning to strike back by accusing the Canal Corporation of "interfering with the safe operation of a vessel" and "forcefully taking control of a manned vessel." Both of these are federal offenses and typically taken very seriously.
While researching this article, OTM Inc tried tirelessly to contact an official with the Canal Corporation, but received no response to any of the voicemails or messages left with the secretary. I can only assume that they are uninterested in making a statement at this time.
While I understand the need to put some vessels out of their misery, and that there are some situations in which a boat collector must be saved from himself, setting a bureaucratic precedent like this is disturbing. The idea that the same entity that obtains the restraining order can gain control of the vessel through taking care of it in the owner's court-ordered absence is pretty scary, and a scenario I don't want to see played out.
At the same time, there are some boat projects that really are hopeless and should be shut down before they end up costing a lot of taxpayer money to clean up. These projects are the one that linger for decades, with lots of time and energy and love and hope and money all wasted in the end because the project was hopeless from the start.
From my perspective, it comes down to how to define what projects are "hopeless." Who gets to make the call on that? What's their training? Who trained them? Are they licensed, and who licensed them?
Even more, are there any objective criteria or scale that this person or persons can use to judge boat projects as a potential success or failure at the beginning? Someday, I will assemble an interdisciplinary panel of experts in a variety of related fields, including psychologists, psychiatrists, economists, curators, drum circle hippies, demographers, maritime attorneys, navel architects, ship captains, surveyors, and boat repair specialists. This team will develop just such a scale to judge boat projects on, so that we can stop wasting years of hope and work only to lose it all to scrappers or government agencies. No old boat project should be judged without such a panel - one that includes both boat people and realists.
Until then, Old Tacoma Marine Inc will offer unbiased mediation services to assist parties with resolving such disputes.
Old Tacoma Marine Inc goes to Mexico
See you next week!