Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Mary Whalen's New Life in Red Hook

PortSide New York, the wondeful Red Hook group, has a new ship with a proud history. The ship is the Mary A. Whalen and she can be visited this weekend as part of Open House New York. A bit about her from PortSide:
She was built in 1938 for Ira Bushey & Sons, a famous shipyard and fuel terminal in Red Hook. She is 172’ long. The Whalen delivered fuel to terminals from Maine to Maryland and during her last years, she delivered fuel to ships in New York harbor. She went out of service in 1993. In 1995, she came back home to Red Hook where she served in Erie Basin as a dock and office.

John Quadrozzi has donated space for her first home as a public-access vessel. She will be at the southern end of Columbia Street after she returns from the shipyard for repairs. As Red Hook’s waterfront is re-planned, we would like to move her to a more central location and one that offers us space ashore; the new Atlantic Basin seems ideal. We submitted a response to the Atlantic Basin RFEI (deadline 9/1/06). We requested waterspace (docks), to include our partner, the non-profit historic Tug Pegasus, and upland space to include a waterfront museum, a Bait & Tackle shop, café, marine career center, tourism center, and youth and community programs.

Mariners today benefit from a legal case involving the The Mary Whalen. The case went to the Supreme Court which ruled in 1975 that in the cases of collisions at sea, damages should be apportioned according to blame. Sounds logical, but prior to this lawsuit, damages were split 50/50 regardless, and those at fault could shirk the financial consequences of their actions. This 1975 decision overturned US maritime law in effect since 1854.
Tours will be available on Saturday and Sunday (10/7 and 10/8) from 10AM to 4PM and will include a look at the tug Pegasus and the inside of the Red Hook Container Port (that place on the water with the containers and the big cranes). You can find a tremendous amount of information about the Mary Whalen, Portside's plans for her and the tour by clicking here.

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