Army Corps workhorse locked and loaded for Three Rivers


In late September, with the main chamber closed for repairs, there were 17 tows waiting to lock on the Ohio River at the Willow Island Locks and Dam in Newport, Ohio. Capt. Dale Hohman, at the helm of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers towboat Evanick, performed a nifty maneuver on the upstream guide wall in the auxiliary chamber to get the traffic moving again.

The 124-by-34-foot Evanick, which the Corps uses for towing and tending on the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio rivers, was working in tandem with the derrick barge MONALLO III to replace worn equipment and parts at the facility. Hohman, no stranger to working these vessels within the confines of a lock, has performed what he calls “skewing the facing” many times in his 44-year career.

First, he nudged the starboard bow of MONALLO III against a barge moored to the guide wall. He then slacked off on the port face wires while tightening up the starboard wires, causing a gap of about 15 feet between MONALLO III and the towboat at the port face-up. Hohman proceeded to move Evanick to port until the stern was hard against the landside wall, wedging the tow into a lazy “S” that stabilized the crane’s platform and provided as direct a lift as possible to transfer equipment and materials.

The maneuver is important because by making the crane’s lift more direct, less time is spent transferring ballast water to stabilize the barge for the crane. It is also important to the companies that are losing money while their tows are waiting to lock through.

Capt. Dale Hohman mans the helm of Evanick during repairs to the Willow Island Locks and Dam on the Ohio River.

Evanick is the flagship of the Corps’ Pittsburgh District. The 3,000-hp towboat, delivered by Conrad Industries in 2005, is named for George Evanick Jr. He captained the vessel’s predecessor, Raymond C. Peck, for 20 years.

Evanick is fit with four steering and four flanking rudders, an unusual configuration designed by Corning Townsend of CT Marine. The arrangement gives the towboat more maneuverability, and the dual flanking rudders channel a cleaner flow of water through the Kort nozzles, reducing cavitation and increasing efficiency.

“I can operate each set independently or together,” Hohman said.

To facilitate the repair project at Willow Island, the 1,200-foot main chamber was pumped out and dammed at both ends. Work on the downstream and upstream gates then ensued, with completion expected in four months. With only the 600-foot auxiliary chamber operational, efficiency has been paramount to keep commerce flowing.

“Some days are diamonds and some are coal,” Hohman said. “Working above and below a dam, especially below a dam, all that water gets real squirrelly. You can only read the surface. You can’t see what’s going on below it.”


Junior engineer Luke Berkopec kneels next to one of the towboat’s Caterpillar 3512B main engines.



Evanick and MONALLO III are positioned between the lock walls to stabilize the barge and provide its Seatrax crane with the most direct lift possible.

The usual rudder configuration — four flanking and two steering rudders — was changed on the towboat by designer Corning Townsend. The vessel is fitted with four flanking and four steering rudders.


Evanick specifications

Owner/operator: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Pittsburgh District, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Designer/builder: Orange Shipbuilding (Conrad Industries), Orange, Texas
Dimensions: L: 124’ B: 34’ D: 7.6’
Crew size: Eight

• (2) Caterpillar 3512B main engines, 1,500 hp each at 1,200 rpm
• (2) Falk 2083MRHV reduction gears, ratio 4.5:1
• (2) John Deere 6081AFM 150-kW generators
• Sentinel engine controls
• (2) five-blade, 80-inch-diameter propellers in Rice Kort nozzles
• Maximum speed: 12 knots

• (2) Furuno FAR2117 radars with MU190 display
• Rose Point ECS with remote keyboard and mouse
• Furuno FA150 AIS
• Furuno satellite compass
• Furuno RD30 depth sounder
• R.M. Young Wind Tracker
• Rivertronics Swingmaster

• (4) Patterson 60-ton single-drum electric deck winches
• Schoellhorn-Albrecht electric capstan


By Professional Mariner Staff