Army Corps gets new survey boat from Silver Ships

(MOBILE, Ala.) — Silver Ships has delivered the 49-foot marine surveying vessel Tobin to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Venice Sub Office in Venice, La. The vessel is the latest expansion in the company’s Endeavor series of workboats.

Tobin is custom designed for the Corps to hydrographically map the mouth of the Mississippi River. This mission-specific vessel will allow researchers to accurately obtain and document data on the rapidly changing waters in the river.

Silver Ships photo

“Tobin will join a fleet of vessels operating out of the USACE Venice Sub Office that works year-round to provide river condition data to vessel operators,” said Jason Powers, director of business development for Silver Ships. “This data is essential to the safe and efficient transportation of goods up and down the Mississippi River.”

The vessel is powered by twin Caterpillar C18 EPA Tier 3 engines producing 800 hp each to reach optimal speeds to prevent research delays, which is important considering the frequent changes in Mississippi River conditions. The single Caterpillar C2.2 Tier 3 genset provides 25 ekW of electric power for Tobin’s air conditioning, echosounder and other electrical needs on board.

“Thompson CAT is proud to partner with Silver Ships for their power needs,” said Richard Tremayne, Thompson’s marine business manager. “Together our engineering teams have designed and built significant boats like Tobin over many years. High-performance power installations are always fun puzzles to solve with talented companies like the Silver Ships team.”

Tobin features Twin Disc MGX5136RV marine gears, Michigan Wheel propellers, Furuno navigation and communication systems, Delta T Systems engine room ventilation, an Arid Bilge Series 4 system and Ayres paneling.

With speeds that reach 28 knots, the surveying vessel will allow researchers to acquire data quickly and prevent inconsistencies caused by changes in the river bottom. Additionally, Tobin is equipped with advanced technology including the Echotrac E20 survey system, which is the key component that allows the vessel to take survey measurements. The E20 uses a single-beam transducer that charts river depths and monitors water changes that could be potentially hazardous to marine navigation.

This vessel’s name honors Thomas G. Tobin, who worked for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ New Orleans District for more than 30 years. As an engineer and programmer, Tobin developed systems that automated the processing and mapping of daily navigation condition surveys. He was part of the Engineering Division channel improvement team and achieved success with its automated design functions that ensure successful operations on the Mississippi River.

Tobin passed away in February 2016 at the age of 54 after a battle with cancer. Tobin dedicated his skills to the Corps’ mission and made a broad, lasting and meaningful impact on the entire district and the residents of south Louisiana.

– Silver Ships


By Rich Miller