Friday, April 21, 2017

You can never have too many pictures of the M/V Charleston

As seen from the upstream sidewalk of the Patrick Street Bridge in Charleston WV, the towboat Charleston heads down the Kanawha River pushing eight loads of coal. 

Sorry for the quality. An iPhone was all I had, and I had to zoom in to get this. Maybe I should carry my regular camera with me more often.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Oil and Venezuela

A bit off topic, but an interesting read of how the shipping of oil from Venezuela is collapsing along with that nation's economy.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

AO 102 (Updated)

You never know what you'll see while you're driving on a county road in Lawrence County, Ohio.

In this case, it was a barge at Superior Marine just outside the corporation limits of South Point, Ohio. (As the road marker says, Southernmost point in Ohio. Overlooks two rivers, three states.).

When I saw this, it reminded me of the interview I did with Dale Manns, the founder of Superior Marine, last fall for the Waterways Journal. Then my memory took be back farther.

The "AO" on the barge ID tells me it was built for Ashland Oil. That means the barge must have been built before Marathon Ashland Petroleum was formed in, what, 1998? Barges after that had "MAP" in their ID numbers.

And that reminded me of a news conference I attended in Jeffersonville, Ind., in the mid-1990s. Ashland Oil was announcing its Ashland Petroleum subsidiary was having Jeffboat build a bunch of double-skinned tank barges. Ashland Oil wanted local media to attend the news conference, so it put a bunch of us on a corporate jet and flew us down to Jeffersonville for the afternoon presser.

That was back when John R. Hall was CEO of Ashland Oil, or Ashland Inc. as it probably was known at that time. It was also when Jeffboat and ACBL were owned by CSX. Yes, that CSX. The railroad company that was into several lines of business at the time. I remember asking Hall at the news conference if his position on the CSX board of directors had any bearing on Ashland's decision to have the barges built by Jeffboat. He said no, there was no connection.

Back to AO 102: I don't know what the barge was doing at Superior Marine. Was it being repaired? Upgraded? Dismantled? Converted into something else? None of the above? I don't know. I just know that the folks at Superior have invested a lot of money in expanding their business in recent years, and it was beyond interesting to see a big barge like that hauled out of the water for whatever work is being done on it.

UPDATE: I've been looking at the pictures of this barge closer up. I noticed that it could just as easily say A-Zero-One-Zero-Two as it could A-Oh-One-Zero-Two. So which is it? I don't know. But my memories about the trip to Jeffersonville stand.

If anyone knows what the numbers really are, please let me know.

Friday, April 14, 2017

A reason to visit Cleveland

In college in Athens, Ohio, I met a lot of people from the Cleveland area. Despite having one or two as good friends, I never really wanted to visit Cleveland. But now I do.

This item on a Crain's blog, which links to this article, talks about how Great Lakes boats must navigate a narrow river to deliver materials to industries along the Cuyahoga River. It makes me want to go up there and see them in action ... if there's a way and a place for a regular guy like me to get a good look.

(The first time I clicked the link to the story, it let me in. The second time, it said I needed to have an account. FYI.).

I've begun following a guy on Flickr who takes some pretty good pictures of lakers, and now I want to see them in action on open water. But watching one in action on a narrow river would be pretty cool, too.

Monday, April 10, 2017

15 barges

For the past two weeks, I've spent my days at the West Virginia Capitol covering the Legislature. It's been tiring, and it has kept me away from the river.

But the 2017 regular session ended Sunday, so this evening I was free to go back down to the river.

About nine months ago I was lamenting how I rarely saw boats pushing 15 barges loaded with coal. But around October, that began to change when I spent a day upriver in the Racine and Belleville pools. This evening I got to shoot a Crounse boat coming down river about sunset pushing 15 loads.

Perhaps coal has bottomed out on the river. We'll just have to wait and see.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Still standing?

This is from March 10, on my most recent trip to Ironton, Ohio, to check out dismantling of the 95-year-old Ironton-Russell Bridge over the Ohio River.

This is the tower closest to the Ohio shore. The last photo I saw, the tower on the Kentucky side is gone. If this tower is still there, it won't be for long. I hope to get down there next weekend or the week after to see how things are going.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Catching up

This week has been an unusual one in that I spent it covering the regular session of the West Virginia Legislature for my employer. It looks like I missed a couple of river-related stories during that time.

First, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey said the federal government has spent too much time studying problems at Montgomery, Dashields and Emsworth, and it's time to do something about them, particularly Emsworth.

We also learn that there are plans to build a gas-fired power plant at Hannibal, Ohio, near the Hannibal Locks and Dam, on the site of the former Ormet plant.

The week did have a high point, though, when the State Senate adopted a resolution recognizing the 200th anniversary of the ferry at Sistersville, W.Va.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

M/V Charleston on the Kanawha

My new employer issued me an iPhone 7, so I've been trying it out before I've had to put it to use for creating a photo worth publishing. Yesterday I saw the towboat Charleston of Amherst Madison easing up the Kanawha River at Charleston pushing one AEP barge.

So, I got a few pictures from a bridge. This is one.

This is an iPhone picture that I did a little HDR work to. Not much, though.

The phone seems to take good pictures, but I'm putting it through a few more tests, of course.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

DP&L says Stuart and Killen will close next year

The announcement came yesterday. Here is what I wrote for my employer's website today.

I wanted to ask the company exactly what unfavorable economic conditions existed. Was it the multiple ownership of the plants? Was it the cost of fuel? Could they not compete with cheaper power on the grid? Was it the cost of repairs to the explosion at Stuart a few weeks ago?

But the company would not comment beyond the state it issued.

All know is that several million tons of coal will not be delivered to the plant by barge 18 months from now. Some people hail that as a victory. Some see it as a calamity.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Catching up, 3/18/2017

Here are a few photos from the past six weeks or so that missed getting on here because I was always tinkering with them.

First, the M/V Steven J. Mason downbound at about Mile 302 or 303.

The M/V Georgetown a couple of miles below the Racine Locks and Dam.

If you want to give someone the idea that a place is dangerous, tell them that it's full of needles left behind by drug users. The thing is, I have heard that about several places, but I had never found a needle until last month, when this one floating was with some drift and trash.

The stacks of the Gavin power plant,

Under the Russell, Ky., side of the Ironton-Russell Bridge, currently in the process of being dismantled.

What was it NBC said back in the 1990s when it wanted us to watch "Seinfeld" reruns? If you haven't seen it, it's new to you? The M/V Chris has been around a while, but this was the first time I saw it here in the Huntington area. At least I don't offhand remember having seen it before.

And here's the M/V Hoosier State passing Huntington one evening as darkness was afalling.

That's about it for now. I've seen where some boats that I'm not familiar with have been passing through my area lately, but not when I've been able to get down to the river. We'll have to see if that changes this spring.