Heavy ice and a rising Hudson River broke tugboats and other vessels away from their moorings near Troy, N.Y. early Friday morning, leaving the 156’ cruise boat Capt JP III wedged under a railroad bridge, Coast Guard and state police reported.
The breakaways started around 1 a.m., likely triggered by heavy rain, rising temperatures and snowmelt Thursday, the Albany, N.Y., Times Union reported. Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector New York got an initial report of vessels adrift from Rensselar County emergency dispatchers, and just before dawn the New York State Police marine unit reported six vessels were drifting, beset by ice floes.
The Capt JP III – formerly the Henrietta III river tour boat that operated out of Wilmington, N.C. until 2016 – allided with the Congress Street bridge before becoming jammed under the Amtrak railroad bridge at Livingston Avenue in Albany. The four-deck vessel is licensed to carry up to 600 passengers and operated by Captain JP Cruise Line, Troy, N.Y., for excursions, dinner cruises and charters.
The Rusty Anchor, a barge that serves as a seasonal waterfront bar and restaurant in Watervliet, N.Y., was carried downriver close to the Capt JP III but cleared the bridges and was secured by tugs. The Capt JP III was freed from the railroad bridge by the New York State Marine Highway Transportation Co. tugs Frances and Margot, while tugs collected other drifting vessels.
The Coast Guard dispatched two of its river icebreakers, the 140’ Penobscot Bay and 65’ Wire, to assist in the roundup along with state police and local responders. No injuries or pollution were reported in the incident, the Coast Guard said.
The icebreakers have already been busy on the Hudson. Earlier in the week, the 175’ buoy tender Katherine Walker and the Hawser, another 65’ icebreaking tug, freed The Amigo, a 437’x75’ asphalt tanker that had been stuck in the ice en route upriver to Albany.