Riverkeeper: Riverkeeper, elected officials and the general public are dismayed that some of the arguments being offered by the industry are blatant falsehoods – statements that are easily disputed by the facts.
CLAIM: This is nothing new. Vessel operators have been anchoring informally at these sites for years. Since Henry Hudson, actually.
RESPONSE: Not to this degree, not by a long shot. In our patrols over 15 years, we’ve never seen even a half-dozen commercial vessels anchored between the George Washington Bridge and Albany. There are only two existing authorized anchorage grounds, at Yonkers and Hyde Park. In addition to these two locations, for about three years, until the fall of 2015, tugs and barges also used an unauthorized anchorage off Port Ewen near Kingston.
The proposal seeks to add ten more anchorage grounds, with room for 43 vessels – a drastic increase.
CLAIM: Permanent, authorized anchorages are needed for safety. Vessel operators need a place to stop in the event of fog and ice – or as the Coast Guard told the New York Times, to “park and catch up on rest and then move on.”
RESPONSE: This is a problem that doesn’t need to be fixed. Commercial vessels already have emergency anchoring privileges. To our knowledge, the Coast Guard has never denied commercial vessel operators the ability to anchor when needed due to safety concerns.
In fact, all of the areas proposed as new anchorages were used during Superstorm Sandy. The Coast Guard specifically directed vessels to anchor upriver, out of New York Harbor. When vessel operators need to anchor on an emergency basis, all they need to do is call the Coast Guard.
Recently a Coast Guard spokesperson suggested that the anchorages are like a “truck stop on the highway” where operators can stop and rest. That suggestion is a little ridiculous. Trucks have one driver. Tugs have multiple crew, and are staffed to operate around the clock, watch on watch, for weeks on end. Tugs don’t nap. Read more.