Remembering Jack Lord

Ships Manned by Merchant Mariners

Merchant mariners man more than just cargo ships. They man tug boats, river boats, ocean liners, cruise ships, and even navy ships. Here are just a few of the ships that I've seen on the Mississippi River. Yes, they're all manned by merchant mariners.

The CMB Julliette is a cargo ship. Having let off its incoming load, it was waiting to take on a new load to be taken to the far corners of the world.  I took this picture from the deck of the SS Natchez.

The SS Natchez is a steam-powered stern wheeler. Although constructed of steel in the mid-1970s to meet safety requirements, she was built to resemble the riverboats of the 19th century. Her interior even features Victorian detailing. The steam also powers her calliope, which plays before she leaves port.

The Victorian details in the dining room of the SS Natchez are enhanced by colorful balloons celebrating this Easter Sunday cruise.

Ropes are neatly wound on the foredeck of the SS Natchez. Notice that some of the ropes appear to be plaited in design. Could there be historical significance in this? Perhaps someone with maritime training will "teach us the ropes."

Two tug boats push barges on the Mississippi River in Baton Rouge. It's not an easy task when low water narrows the navigable channel or when high water increases the currents. 

When the water is low, it is not uncommon to see barge trains lined up to either side of the navigable water, waiting their turn to pass. The Coast Guard will let them know when they can proceed.

This pretty little tug boat seems to be sending the message that tug boats need not be dull and boring. We agree!

Two ferry boats, the St. Landry and the New Roads, travel between Sunshine and Plaquemine in Louisiana. Beware of the boats' loud and deep horns that blow before they leave port. If you're not expecting it, they will cause you to leap -- you might, anyway!

These ferries transport people and their cars across the Mississippi River to aid in reducing congestion on the bridges over the river. Both the old and new bridges in Baton Rouge and the Sunshine Bridge in St. James Parish operate  beyond full capacity. A new bridge is in the planning stages, but we know how that goes.

In years past, two ferry boats built to resemble 19th century riverboats ran between Baton Rouge and Port Allen. Sadly, they are no more.

The cruise ship SS Norwegian Dawn was moored in New Orleans. Less than a month later, she would run aground off the coat of Bermuda due to a malfunction of the steering system. Fortunately, there were no injuries or deaths.

Although owned by the US Navy, the USNS Cape Kennedy (T-AKR 5083)
is manned by civilian mariners through the Military Sealift Command (MSC). The Cape Kennedy is a roll-on/roll-off ship that is capable of transporting jeeps, trucks, and other large items without their having to be moved by crane.  Other MSC ships are designed to carry fuel and supplies for replenishment at sea.

All photographs on this page were taken by the webmaster.