2010-12-03 / Top Stories

Mystery Stilt Ship Back For Survey Work

By Howard Schwach

The Stilt Ship off the shores of Rockaway. The Stilt Ship off the shores of Rockaway. For a few weeks in September of last year, local residents reported a strange ship standing up in the water on the ocean side of the peninsula. The ship, which appeared to have no name, did not venture into choppy water or venture out at night, but it spent most of its days up on stilts off the Rockaway shore.

About 50 feet long, the ship had telescoping legs that went down and sat on the ocean bottom, allowing the hull to lift off the water and be stable.

The ship had become a hot topic on the west end of the peninsula.

In our September 25 issue, however, we solved the mystery of the stilt ship off our shores.

Thanks to a tip from Wave graphic artist Don Rodrigues, the paper was able to track down the owners of the ship – Williams Transco – to find out what it is doing off our shores.

And, what it is doing is taking core samples from the ocean for a new project called The Rockaway Delivery Lateral, that will allow the energy company to pump natural gas from its Station 195 in southeastern Pennsylvania through an existing pipeline called the Lower New York Bay Lateral to the new pipeline that will transport the natural gas through Gateway National Park around Fort Tilden and then connect to local National Grid supply facilities.

Now, the stilt ship is back and The Wave is once again getting calls about the “mystery ship” off Breezy Point.

Karen Young, a spokesperson for National Grid, told The Wave this week that Williams Transco is conducting some “additional offshore survey work in the next few weeks for the proposed Rockaway Delivery Lateral Project.

“This proposed lateral will deliver additional natural gas capacity [to Rockaway] to meet the growing energy demands in the NYC region,” Young said. The pipeline, the company says, will come on line in late 2012 or early 2013. The company says that it has all the proper permits and that the plan was approved by the National Park Service, the agency which owns and runs Gateway National Recreation Area.

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