Rear Admiral Gerd Glang
Director, NOAA Office of Coast Survey 1315 East West Highway
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Dear Admiral Glang:
My name is Captain R. Scott Ireland. I am the senior pilot of the Hudson River Pilots Association. Our members, along with many other professional mariners, are responsible for the safe and timely movement of commercial shipping on the Hudson River.
As Hudson River Pilots, we routinely brings ships that are 600 ft to 650 ft long x 105.9 ft wide through the federal channel from Kingston NY to Albany NY. This channel is 50 miles long and 400 feet wide with a federal project depth of 32 ft. The ships that we pilot carry cargoes such as scrap steel, grain, heavy lift project cargo, and the new player on the block, millions of barrels of Bakken crude oil being shipped out of the Port of Albany.
The increasing frequency of these large ships transiting an unusually long, narrow channel (as well as barges/ATB’s carrying crude oil) creates difficult navigational challenges that we encounter on a daily basis.
The biggest challenge, due to vessel size and the frequency of such transits, is that the meeting and passing of these increasingly larger vessels often requires that we find areas of the river where either or both vessels necessarily need to navigate the edges or even outside the edges of the federal chan- nel. Doing so safely often requires one or both of the meeting vessels to rely on soundings outside the channel to ensure that enough water is available in the area being transited. Click here for the rest of the story