VIDEO: Fly Over the Forgotten Vessels of Staten Island’s Arthur Kill Ship Graveyard

February 24, 2016

In the Arthur Kill waterway, wedged between Staten Island and New Jersey, the Arthur Kill Ship Graveyard is the final home of over two dozen harbor vessels that had their best years in the city’s golden age of shipping. There were once as many as 400 of the ghostly crafts left to the wiles of entropy in the waterway, but according to Atlas Obscura, only 25 or so remain, picked over for their useful parts. Seven minutes of eerie and fascinating drone video footage offers a close-up view of the “urban marine cemetery” and the rusted metal hulls of once-useful tugboats and other harbor ships as they slowly sink into the silent, murky waters.

The ship graveyard actually belongs to the Witte Marine Equipment Company (now Donjon Marine Company), which, over the last century, has “slowly dismantled hundreds of ships that once crowded the bustling piers of New York’s coastline…Many old tugboats and smaller harbor ships have accumulated on the shores of Arthur Kill and now rot in shallow water,” reminders of New York’s bustling shipping era.

Staten Island, Ship Graveyard, Arthur Kill Ship Graveyard

Staten Island, Ship Graveyard, Arthur Kill Ship Graveyard

WNYC explained in a related article that the salvage yard’s former owner John J. Witte, who passed away in 1980, refused to let ships that were brought here be dismantled. According to Witte’s son Arnold, who runs the business in its current incarnation as part of a larger dredging company, the yard is still one of the largest collections of historic ships of this kind in the world.

[Via Atlas Obscura]


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