A construction contract for a 25,000 DWT Ocean Bulk AT/B designed by Ocean Tug & Barge Engineering Corp. has been awarded to Signal International

A construction contract for a 25,000 DWT Ocean Bulk AT/B designed by Ocean Tug & Barge Engineering Corp. has been awarded to Signal International by Kirby Ocean Transport Company of Houston, Texas.
The contract included an option for an additional unit. The AT/B is comprised of a 20,000 DWT ocean bulk barge with a 6,000 BHP AT/B ocean tug. The barge will measure 480 ft x 90 ft x 36 ft and will be outfitted an Articouple connection system and is designed to operate in both shallow and deep draft loading conditions. The shape utilized for the barge hull is a proven design based on a parent designed by Corning Townsend, of CT Marine, Edgecomb, ME. “This shape has proven to be an excellent balance between low resistance and buildability.”, according to Robert P. Hill, President of Ocean Tug & Barge Engineering Corp. of Milford, MA, the designer of the vessels. “It also allowed us to obtain the greatest possible cubic for the length, with low resistance and powering requirements” . In addition, the barge has the stern of OT&BE’s successful “COSTWISE” class AT/B barges, designed to reduce resistance and enhance maneuvering. “This stern design is the result of extensive model testing and CFD studies•..”, says Mr. Hill..
The 6,000 HP tugboat will be a variant of the highly successful OT&BE “ATLANTIC III” class tugs. Three of the vessels have been built previously at 6000 HP and two more, this time at 8000 HP, are under construction presently at VT Halter for an east coast operator. This new Kirby design shares with the 8000 HP version of the design, the employment of the Nautican high performance nozzle and triple rudder arrangement. Bob Hill notes that “We currently have five tugs of our design working with the high performance nozzles and triple rudders, and the boats have excellent maneuvering characteristics both light tug and behind their barges, and speed is enhanced.” . The Kirby tugs will be powered by a pair of EMD 12-710 main engines, driving Reintjes reverse/reduction gears.
The principal dimensions of the tug are 125 ft x 42 ft x 22 ft built and classed to ABS Maltese Cross, +A1 Ocean Towing Service standards. The AT/B will transport dry-bulk commodities in United States coastwise trade. The barge fabrication work will commence in the second quarter of 2011 at Signal’s state-of-the-art continuous flow manufacturing facility in Orange, Texas, which has 450,000 sq. ft. of covered fabrication area. The first AT/B will complete in 14 months. The option AT/B can be built in less than 12 months. This facility recently completed two of the world’s largest floating power generation barges within a 180-day production schedule.View PDF vessel drawing here.
“The fabrication of the AT/B is well-suited to our Orange shipyard and experienced management team,” stated Dick Marler, Chairman and CEO of Signal International, noting that the contract also puts Signal’s Orange shipyard squarely back into shipbuilding. “A return to shipbuilding has been a strategic goal of Signal and we have all of the resources necessary to be competitive with regard to cost and schedule for a variety of ship and vessel designs.”
Marler added, “In terms of job creation this contract will peak at an employment level of around 500 craft personnel. Hiring will begin in late June in primarily the fitter and welder trades. We expect to add four hundred workers at our Orange Shipyard.
Ocean Tug & Barge Engineering Corp., was founded in 1993, and is located in Milford, MA. The firm has had a hand in either the design or refit engineering of dozens of the AT/B’s operational in the United States. AT/B tugs of the firm’s design are currently under construction for Reinauer (tugs three and four in a series of the FacetTug design) and now a tug and barge for Kirby. Additional AT/B’s for other services are under design currently for other clients as well. OCEAN TUG & BARGE ENGINEERING CORP. —

By Professional Mariner Staff