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Mary A. Whalen on the move in New York

Mary A. Whalen on the move in New York
Around New York shipping events, if you mention the long-retired harbor tanker “Mary A. Whalen” , built in1938, you will get two responses.

Old mariners will say something like: “I was the mate on her…” and shipping attorneys will say “Oh, I remember that case from law school.” Famously, in a case that went to the US Supreme Court, the tanker grounded in the Rockaway Channel, near JFK Airport at Christmas-time, 1968. There was no spill, but the US Coast Guard was apportioned with a part of the repair bill- because of the failure of a light it should have maintained.

marywhalenThe vessel’s owner, the non-profit community group Portside New York, announced that the vessel will be moving this week to a pier at the Atlantic Basin (a one time general cargo terminal) in Red Hook, Brooklyn. At this location, the public will have easy access to educational and cultural programmes. According to Carolina Salguero- a one-time photojournalist who runs Portside New York, “The first set of events will include Saturday daytime TankerTours, Sunday daytime TankerTime with maritime board games and a Sunday evening picnic aboard the vessel.”

Rick Spilman, well known for his The Old Salt Blog said: “The tanker Mary A. Whalen is a vital bridge between our past and future. She is an important reminder of our maritime heritage -- of the rough and boisterous years when tugs, steam ships and tankers, like the Mary A. Whalen, plied the harbor and our coastal waters. Now, as the last of her kind, the historic ship provides a glimpse of a sustainable future through the varied programmes of PortSide New York.”