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New York Harbor, which is located along the western shore of Long Island, extends from the confluence of the Hudson and East Rivers in the north to Lower New York Bay in the south. It includes Jamaica Bay to the east and Sandy Hook Bay to the south. New Jersey ports of Perth Amboy, Port Elizabeth, Port Newark, Bayonne and others are accessible through tributaries which empty into New York Harbor. The harbor complex is located between the New England lowlands and the Atlantic coastal plain. Elevations range from sea level to a high of over 400 ft in the Richmond area on Staten Island. Lower New York Bay is open to the Atlantic Ocean in the quadrant from the east around to the south, while Long Island Sound opens to the northeast. The Upper Bay opens to the south via the Narrows to the Lower Bay.

The New York/New Jersey Port area is one of the largest commercial marine complexes in the world. New York Harbor is a large, protected, natural harbor located only nine miles from the Atlantic Ocean. Within the harbor complex there are over 1100 facilities including over 720 piers, wharves and docks (many inactive), good deep-water anchorages and an extensive channel network. Entrance to the harbor is via a narrow man-made channel which is difficult to navigate during heavy weather.

On April 25, 2002, MOTBY was officially renamed The Peninsula at Bayonne Harbor by the Bayonne Local Redevelopment Authority. Plans for The Peninsula at Bayonne Harbor call for a vibrant mixed-use waterfront development plan comprised of residential, light industrial and office space. The site will also feature a marina with ferry service, a public transportation station, a river-walk and numerous recreational areas with parks and playgrounds. Royal Caribbean cruise lines will begin shipping out of there on pleasure cruises in May 2004 and some of the former military warehouses have been used for movie and TV production during the last few years.

Bayonne Shipyard

Electric motors that could be used for marine application had been invented by William Woodnut Griscom of Philadelphia in 1879, and in 1880 he started the Electric Dynamic Company. In 1892 Griscom's electrical company went bankrupt, and Electric Dynamic Company was bought by Isaac Leopold Rice who founded Electric Storage Battery Company ("Exide"). Rice had become interested in Electric Launch Company; they had been buying his storage batteries. He also was interested in Holland Torpedo Boat Company. He purchased the latter and merged it, along with Elco, into the Electric Boat Company in 1899. In 1900, Elco, which had previously acted as middleman by farming out the hull contracts and installing Griscom's motors and Rice's batteries, built its own boat-building facility at Bayonne, NJ.

After Holland's death in 1914, Electric Boat reorganized and the name was changed to Submarine Boat Corporation around 1915.

The Submarine Boat Corporation had been engaged for years in the building of submarine torpedo boats for the United States Navy, for Great Britain and, with the exception of Germany and France, for practically all other countries of the world having naval establishments. The success of the Submarine Boat Corporation in the building of underwater boats convinced us that it would be highly advantageous to contract for the services of its experienced organization for the production of cargo vessels.

Prior to American entrance into the war, the Submarine Boat Corporation had completed for the British Admiralty 550 submarine chasers. These boats were built of wood, the hulls having been fabricated at the concern's shops in Bayonne, New Jersey, and shipped to assembling yards in Montreal and Quebec, Canada. This was done because at that time the United States was neutral. The plan of fabrication was so successful and the chasers were so effective in hunting down submarines that the company had been engaged to build similar boats for France and Italy. The corporation, therefore, had a very effective working organization and a knowledge of fabricating ships even though they were wooden vessels.

The company worked during World War II building PT boats. After the war, Elco went back to building pleasure boats, but by 1948 it was just a small branch of the Electric Boat Conglomerate handled by John Jay Hopkins. Hopkins felt that Elco was not a profitable enterprise, and in December of 1949 the work force was let go, and the equipment, supplies and plant in Bayonne were sold.

Bayonne Military Ocean Terminal [MOTBY]

The Military Ocean Terminal, Bayonne, New Jersey, was located on the western side of the Upper Bay about 15 miles from the entrance to Ambrose Channel. There are ten northside (N1 through N10), seven southside (S1 through S7) and two east side (E1,E2) berths located around the terminal peninsula. Northside berths are 570-633 ft long and 29-39 ft deep below mean low water (MLW). E1 and E2 are 400 and 650 ft long, respectively, and 45 ft in depth below MLW. Access to the terminal was restricted to 38 ft depth below MLW. The south side berths were 28-37 ft deep below MLW and 600-800 ft long; deck heights are 13 ft above MLW. The southern and eastern berths were somewhat exposed to incoming seas through the Narrows.

As a result of 1995 Base Realignment and Closure actions Military Traffic Management Command's East and West Coast installations -- Oakland Army Base, CA, and the Military Ocean Terminal, Bayonne, NJ -- were slated for closure. A phased transition of operations from Bayonne and Oakland began in October 1997 and continued through June 1999.

In 1995 the BRAC Commission recommended eliminating dedicated military ocean terminals. The BRAC on its own motion realigned activities away from MOTBY to a so-called Base X. The City of Bayonne Reuse Authority looked into future uses, although eventually the port will go back to the city of Bayonne. Future uses considered include a container port area by the deep northern channel, and a park at the tip of the 2 1/2-mile peninsula.

Military Ocean Terminal, Bayonne, NJ [MOTBY] was a unique strategic asset. No other port on the east or gulf coasts, commercial or military, can duplicate its combination of advantages in the support of power projection from the continental United States without the disruption of commercial port activities. This was amply demonstrated during the Gulf war and operations in Somalia and Haiti. Dozens of units shipped through MOTBY as well as outsized cargo such as M1A2 tanks from as far as Fort Hood, TX.

Bayonne sits astride the huge, highly developed, multimodal transportation network of the American Northeast Corridor. Once cargo arrives at Bayonne, it can be placed directly into vast covered warehouses or uncovered--and fully secure--staging areas. All types of cargo, from heavy, outsized weapons like the M1A2 tank and the Patriot antimissile system, to the full range of munitions available to fighting forces can be loaded by Bayonne's specially trained union force using state of the art, dedicated rail lines using every type of roll-on/roll-off vessel in the MSC inventory. Bayonne has the best steaming times to Europe, a full day's advantage over any other US port, military or civilian.

Since most ports are containerized, there are no commercial ports which can lift the 70 tons of the M1A2 Abrams. If forced to rely on roll-on/roll-off ships in the MSC inventory, the number of useable commercial ports plummets and even the remaining Military Ocean Terminal, Sunny Point, NC, an ammunition depot, quickly becomes unusable. As operations in the Persian Gulf, Somalia and Haiti have proven beyond doubt, MOTBY's unique heavy sealift capabilities were always available in a crisis.

The Pentagon's recommendation that Bayonne be closed was based on the premise that commercial ports on the east and gulf coasts will be both willing and able to forego their profitable contracts to accommodate time sensitive military cargo. The exact opposite of this premise was experienced with the ports of Houston and Portland during the Gulf war.

On July 1, 1999 Colonel Charles Beck, commander at MOTBY since July 1996, turned the command over to Colonel William Black, the final commander of the base. At that time, there were only about 300 employees remaining. The MOTBY flag was lowered for a final time during the closing ceremony on Sept. 23, 1999. All civilian jobs were eliminated by Sept. 30, 1999.

Bayonne Naval Drydock

In 1932, some Bayonne businessmen made a basic plan to build a Port Terminal off the east coast of Bayonne into New York Bay to create additional industrial space. The plan was completed in 1939 and they began dredging and filling. The Navy was very interested in this site for a large dry-dock and supply center. The Bayonne military base was opened by the Navy in 1942 as a logistics and repair base. It was a huge shipping terminal and had the largest dry-dock on the eastern seaboard.

On 26 April 1952, Wasp collided with destroyer minesweeper Hobson (DMS-26) while conducting night flying operations en route to Gibraltar. Hobson lost 176 of the crew, including her skipper. Rapid rescue operations saved 61 men. Although Wasp sustained no personnel casualties her hull was severely damaged, with a 30 x 50-foot bite gouged out of the bow. With the carrier urgently needed for duty in the Mediterranean, preparations for repairs were begun immediately.

The carrier carefully proceeded to Bayonne, N.J., entered drydock there on 8 May and her damaged bow was cleared out with blow torches. The following day, the bow of aircraft carrier Hornet (CV-12) - then undergoing conversion in Brooklyn, N.Y. - was cut off and floated by barge across the bay. Fitted into position under Wasp that afternoon, the bow was fitted with steel plates to close any remaining gaps and workers began round-the-clock welding operations. This remarkable repair task, which including replacing 61 lifeboats and refitting the carrier's anchor chain, was completed in only 10 days, enabling the carrier to get underway on 21 May.

Hoboken Shipyards (and Bethlehem formerly) operated out of the drydock in Bayonne. It was often necessary to send employees to Bayonne to work. The Company planned to work on Navy ships.

Bayonne Dry Dock & Repair Corp. operates a full service ship repair yard located in the Port Jersey area of New York/New Jersey harbor. Conveniently situated just miles from the Verrazano Bridge, the Bayonne facility has no aerial draft restrictions and is ideal for both commercial and government vessels. Our graving dock measures 1092' x 148', with a dock floor load capacity of 99,000 tons. Complementing the yard's full service machine, pipe and valve shops is a professional staff of experienced marine fabrication and repair craftsmen. Available 24-hours a day, Bayonne Dry Dock offers high quality, expert service on any standard or specialized job, particularly in an emergency.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 02:43:04 ZULU