Towboat roundup

Towboat operators keep adding to their fleets
With the 6,000-hp Big D, Florida Marine Transporters acquired one of the biggest towboats built in the last year.

The last year saw no slowdown in the construction of new towboats along the inland waterways and Gulf Coast. Several towing companies expanded their fleets with delivery of multiple orders from a number of shipyards from the Gulf of Mexico to the Ohio River.

Cummins provided most of the propulsion power with KTA 38M or QSK 19 series engines going into the newbuilds, followed by a mix of Caterpillar, EMD and to a smaller extent by Mitsubishi and Volvo diesels.

Enterprise Marine’s 3,200-hp 112-foot Dan L is powered by a pair of 1,600-hp Caterpillar 3512 diesels.

Multiple deliveries were made to Blessey Marine Services Inc., Florida Marine Transporters and Kirby Marine, all following through on multi-boat contracts in effect for several years. Also continuing fleet expansions with multiple deliveries were American River Transportation Co., Canal Barge Co., Enterprise Marine Service, Golding Barge Line and Higman Marine Services.

Horizon Shipbuilding Inc., of Bayou La Batre, Ala., delivered the largest towboats of the year to Florida Marine Transporters of Mandelville, La., with the 6,000-hp Big D and the 4,900-hp Dale Artigue. Both are twin-screw, John Gilbert-designed creations similar to several boats Horizon has built for Florida Marine in recent years. Big D measures 140 by 42 feet and is powered by a pair of 3,000-hp EMD 12-710 diesels with Hitachi reduction gears and quarters for a crew of nine.

Dale Artigue, fourth in a series of 120-by-35 foot vessels, is powered by a pair of 2,450-hp Caterpillar C280 diesels coupled to five-blade stainless steel propellers through Lufkin reduction gears.

Florida Marine Transporters also received six additional 90-by-32-foot 2,600-hp towboats from Eastern Shipbuilding Group in Panama City, Fla. When delivered in December, Blake Boyd, with twin Caterpillar 3512B diesels, marked the 55th boat in a series that began in 2006 with a record 25-boat order. Florida Marine has also ordered the first in what may become the next series of five similar boats but with an increase in horsepower with Caterpillar 3512C Tier 3-compliant diesels, rated at 1,500 hp each. There is an option for four more boats with the upgraded engines.

Horizon also completed two 2,000 hp towboats for Canal Barge Co. of New Orleans. First in a four-boat series was Eugenie J. Huger with a pair of Cummins K38-M diesels, rated at 1,000-hp each. The 12-cylinder engines are coupled to 74-inch diameter Kahlenberg propellers through Reintjes reduction gears. Hull dimensions for both boats are 78 by 32 feet with an 8.5-foot draft. They come from the drawing boards of Marine Design Inc. of Gulf Breeze, Fla. The second boat is named Susan J. Gundlach.

Of almost a dozen new towboats delivered to Blessey Marine Services of Harahan, La., during the last year, three came from A&B Industries at Amelia, La. First was Neal J. Seago, the 65th towboat in the rapidly expanding Blessey fleet, followed by Capt. Paul E. Lord and Michael A. Duhon. All three 1,200-hp boats feature 66-by-30-by-10-foot hulls and are powered by a pair of Cummins QSK19-M diesels, rated at 600 hp each, turning four-blade 66-by-49 inch, stainless steel Kahlenberg propellers through Reintjes 6.048:1 reduction gears. Marine architect services were provided by Parfait Maritime Designs. All are virtually identical except Michael A. Duhon, which has twin stacks rather than a single stack found on the first two deliveries.

Pat Golding is a 94-foot, 2,600-hp boat built for Golding Barge Line by Sneed Shipbuilding, It has a pair of Caterpillar 3512 Tier 2 diesels rated at 1,300 hp each.

Blessey Marine’s fleet expansion continued with the delivery of two 80-by-30-foot towboats from Verret Shipyard in Plaquemine, La.

Also joining the Blessey Marine fleet in 2012 were three boats from Raymond & Associates at Bayou La Batre, Ala. First was George Allen, one of a long line of 76-by-35-foot, 2,000-hp, Cummins-powered boats from the busy shipyard near Mobile. Propulsion power comes from a pair of Cummins KTA38-M, Tier 2 diesels with Twin Disc MG 540 (7:1) reduction gears. The boat is named in honor of Virginia Sen. George Allen who also served as governor. It is Blessey’s third towboat from Raymond & Associates.

Next for Blessey from Raymond & Associates was Vincent W. Sapp, with virtually the same engine and equipment roster as the previous boats, except it is 12 feet longer, at 88 by 35 feet, allowing for a crew lounge and other interior modifications. It was named in honor of a long-time captain who began his career with the company as a teenager. The third boat is named Capt. Niles Shoemaker honoring a recently retired Blessey wheelman.

Another boat joining the Blessey fleet was the 1,700-hp Edward Jones Jr., built in Bayou La Batre, Ala., by Steiner Shipyard. This 70-by-30-foot vessel is powered by a pair of Cummins KTA38-M2 diesels.

C&G Boat Works, also of Bayou La Batre, delivered its second 4,000-hp class towboat to Parker Towing Co. of Tuscaloosa, Ala. The 148-by-34-foot Charles Haun is similar to Megan Parker, delivered in 2011, but is powered with Caterpillar 3516 diesels instead of General Electric diesels and features an “open wheel” design rather than having Kort nozzles.

Another company welcoming a large number of new boats in 2012 was American River Transportation Co. taking delivery of 10 Cummins-powered short-haul towboats from Gulf Island Marine Fabricators in Houma, La., and James Built, an affiliate of James Marine Inc. in Paducah, Ky., The 64.5-by-28-foot vessels were designed by Entech & Associates with extra hull thickness for the stress of harbor-fleet work in the New Orleans and St. Louis harbors and along the Illinois River. All five boats from Gulf Island are powered by Cummins KTA38 Tier 2 diesels rated at 1,700 hp total, as are three from James Built. Two others from James Built are rated at 1,200 hp from a pair of Cummins QSK-19 diesels.

Delivered by Gulf Island were Louisiana Bayou, Louisiana Heritage, Louisiana Lagniappe, Louisiana Pride and Louisiana Star. James Built delivered the 1,700-hp Cardinal Pride, Gateway Express and River Eagle, and the 1,200-hp Prairie Land and River Quest.

Liberty, a 100-by-30-foot, 3,000-hp boat built by Conrad Shipyard of Morgan City, La., for Enterprise Marine Services, is powered by two 1,500-hp Caterpillar 3512 Tier 2 diesels.

Gulf Island also delivered a Cummins-powered boat to Wood Resources LLC in Waggaman, La., during the final days of 2012. Kenny Billiot measures 64.5 feet by 28 feet and is powered by a pair of 1,000-hp Cummins KTA38-M diesels and is named in honor of a captain who has spent 25 of his 34-year association with the company as a captain. The boat is working for Turn Services.

Continuing its expansion program was Higman Marine, with three 78-by-34-foot Cummins-powered towboats from Hope Services, of Dulac, La. Belle Chasse, Port Neches and Sandpiper are rated at 2,000 hp and are the 40th, 41st and 42nd  boats to be built for the Houston-based company by Hope Services.

Higman Marine also took delivery of two 78-by-34-foot towboats from Southwest Shipyard in Houston with the Cummins KTA38-M-powered Guadalupe and San Antonio.

Golding Barge Line of Vicksburg, Miss., received two 2,600-hp towboats from Sneed Shipbuilding of Channelview, Texas. Sophia Golding and Pat Golding measure 94 by 32 by 10 feet with a pair of Caterpillar 3512 Tier  2 diesels rated at 1,300 hp each. Andrew Golding was scheduled for delivery in April.

Sneed also delivered four 2,000-hp towboats, Blanco, Llano, Mission and Sabine, to Kirby Marine. All are 86-by-32-foot vessels powered with a pair of Cummins KTA38-M diesels. Another delivery from Sneed was the 87-by-32-foot Patrick J. Studdert to Buffalo Marine Service Inc., of Houston. The vessel also features a pair of KTA38-M diesels.

Conrad Shipyard LLC of Morgan City, La., delivered three 3,000-hp towboats to Enterprise Marine Services LLC, Houma, La. Liberty, Patriot and Pride have 100-by-30-foot hulls constructed by Tres Palacios Marine, of Palacios, Texas, and completed by Conrad.

The three boats are powered by two 1,500-hp Caterpillar 3512 Tier 2 diesels. Enterprise also received a 3,200-hp boat from John Bludworth Shipyard LLC, of Corpus Christi, Texas, with the arrival of the 112-by-34-foot Dan L, powered by a pair of 1,600-hp Caterpillar 3512 diesels.

Eymard Marine Construction and Repair built three boats in the last year, including one which was sold and renamed within months of delivery, one with three engines and one reported to be the first in the New Orleans harbor with Volvo diesels. The Eymard yard along the Harvey Canal, built the 72-by-30-foot Caleb J. Eymard for its sister company, Eymard Brothers Towing, but within months of completion, it was sold it to Progressive Barge Line Inc., in Westwego, La. It has a pair of Cummins KTA38-M diesels producing 2,000 hp and was renamed Uncle Sam.

The triple-screw Barbara Ann was delivered to Bertucci Contracting Co. of New Orleans. It was also built by Eymard on a 72-by-30-foot hull, but it is powered by three Cummins QSK 19 diesels generating 1,950 hp.

The 2,600-hp Ted Kayser has a pair of Volvo D16MH Tier 2 diesels rated at 1,300 hp each and was built for Kathryn Rae Towing, an affiliate of Marine Centre Inc. and Upper St. Rose Fleeting in Destrehan, La. It measures 60 by 26 feet.

Categories: American Tugboat Review, Tugboats & Towing