February 22, 2013

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Coast Guard celebrates 50th anniversary for harbor tugs

Howser, Line and Wire churn through the ice past the
Mid-Hudson Bridge on Thursday

POUGHKEEPSIE – Three vessels chugging in formation up the Hudson River marked the 50th anniversary of Coast Guard harbor tugs Wire, Line, and Hawser. The event on Thursday was witnessed by a handful of individuals who braved biting winter winds atop the Walkway Over the Hudson state park between Highland and Poughkeepsie.

Cutter Wire is stationed in Saugerties, and the other two ships are on call from Bayonne, NJ, said Petty Officer Eric Swanson.

"Routine missions are icebreaking, but they have been involved in some major marine responses such as the evacuation of lower Manhattan during 9-11," said Swanson.

Shipping channels along the Hudson between Albany and New York City are kept clear during cold seasons by the Coast Guard. The lanes are considered strategically important to civilian infrastructure because home heating oil is delivered to many communities via river barges.

The three 65-foot steel-hulled harbor tugs were constructed within weeks of each other at New Bern, NC, replacing older tugs with wooden hulls. 

"It's an especially proud day," noted Gordon Loebl, captain of the Port of New York and New Jersey, and commanding officer of the Coast Guard's New York Sector. "They have successfully carried out their mission for 50 years, in dedicated service to our nation," he said of the ships and their respective crews.

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