Coast Guard plans to station oil barges in Hudson River near Peekskill

    Local officials ask for public's help in stopping the plan

    The federal government’s plan to anchor oil-filled barges in the waters of the Hudson River, not far from Peekskill, is drawing sharp criticism from elected officials as well as some associated with the Peekskill Yacht Club.

    “Dumping a bunch of barges filled with oil is not only dangerous but it is an eyesore,” said Peekskill Yacht Club Recording Secretary Peter Sanchirico. “If there is an oil spill in the river it is going to be here for years, if not decades. This will affect anyone who views the river and my understanding is that they are going to put one right across the river from us. There are no positives for the river or for us. The only positive is that moving them out of the city and putting them up here because it is less expensive.”

    The Coast Guard’s proposal to create anchorage sites for commercial barges on the Hudson from Yonkers to Kingston—six of which would be in the 40th Senate District at Montrose Point and Tomkins Cove—was the subject of a Tuesday press conference in Verplanck where Peekskill Councilman Joe Torres, County Legislator John Testa and members of the Peekskill Yacht Club joined State Sen. Terrence Murphy, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino and others in condemning the plan.

    According to Murphy, more than 2,000 acres of the estuary will be taken over and used as anchorage grounds. He added that many riverside towns have invested millions of dollars to revitalize their waterfront areas and the sight of a tanker or barge anchored off shore could curtail business.

    “They want to put oil barges in the channel of the Hudson River and I am concerned about the negative impact of having oil spill into the river and the dangers of navigating a boat with barges in the middle of the channel at nighttime,” said Torres, who himself is a boater. “The other thing is that it will be an eyesore for the river.”

    Officials are encouraging residents to voice their concerns during the public comment period, which has been open for two months and extends through Sept. 7, though Testa said there is an effort to extend the public comment period.

    U.S. Coast Guard spokeswoman Chief Warrant Officer Allyson Conroy told WAMC that two maritime associations requested the anchorage sites for navigational safety reasons.

    “We are not taking any of these proposals lightly but, if they were proposed, we have to look into it and see if they can benefit the maritime community or not,” Conroy told the radio station. “We’re asking the public to go to the website, to the docket number, and comment. All of those comments will be collected and analyzed through this comment period.”

    She added that there will be public meetings in the spring of 2017, per the proposal process, along with an environmental study.

    To register public comment and sign a petition from Murphy’s office, click here.

    Comments

    comments

    7 COMMENTS

    1. Blatantly misleading headline from the not in my backyard crowd.

      The coast guard is considering officially designating anchorage areas for tugs with barges transiting the hudson river. While waiting for berths in Albany, or during the winter waiting for daylight hours to transit above Kingston, these are all areas that vessels have traditionally anchored.

      These are the same tugs that bring you yacht club a$$holes your heating oil. You’re very welcome!

    2. Hmm, let’s see. No oil by train. No oil by barge. No oil by pipeline. My advice is to start rubbing two sticks together if you plan on staying warm this winter.

    3. As a lifelong Hudson River boater, marina owner, and tugboat captain, it’s hard to believe how people can be so against something they know so little about.
      These barges and tugs have been using this river to move gas, heating oil, and other products for more than a 100 years. These anchorages will be for the tugs and barges already using the river to deliver your gas and heating oil. The anchorages are needed for when they are waiting for a berth, waiting on weather or tide( like at Peekskill), or for when they need to stop and wait for daylight to transit the upper part of the river, especially during the winter.
      As boaters, you share, for the most part, the river with them everyday and night.
      The tugs and barges will not be anchored in the channel, they will be outside it in designated anchorages, which for the most part they already use unofficially. The barges will be lit as required by the nav rules( how many boaters know what they are?). They will use their own anchors and when they leave there will be nothing there.
      The men and women who work on these boats are highly trained, the boats regulated, and the barges are double hulled. The transport of these products has never been safer. The concerns you all have about safety and spills should already exist since the tugs and barges are already moving up and down the river.
      My livelihood depends on boaters and the environment and I don’t see these anchorages affecting either one.

      • Well stated Capt. I sail as an engineer aboard one of the tugs involved in transporting crude from Albany.
        The maritime component of transporting oil on the Hudson has an admirable safety record in doing so.
        If these NIMBYS and hand wringers want something to really worry about, look at oil-by’-train. They have a proven track record of deadly derailments, fires and explosions.
        (Google Lac Megantic)

    4. The misinformation being put out and basic lack of understanding of commerce on the Hudson River…. by the very people who purport to care about the river is just stunning.
      Far from the cries of doom, the proposal by the USCG will simply codify long standing navigational practices that have seemingly served the Hudson River and it’s environment very well for decades.

    5. From one Licensed Captain to another….well said “Viking Tug”! And you’re right about the lighting characteristics of the moored vessels. I bet most of them truly don’t understand the definition of a “Special Anchorage” even as it pertains to pleasure craft. How many of these concerned boaters subscribe to the USCG District 1 Weekly LNM. (Or even know what LNM is).

    LEAVE A REPLY