Florida Marine Transporters welcomes new towboat series
Florida Marine Transporters (FMT) of Mandeville, La., took delivery of five towboats in 2021, including Eric Brumfield, the lead vessel in a new class of 76-by-35-foot pushboats.
Steiner Shipyard of Bayou La Batre, Ala., delivered the 2,000-hp Eric Brumfield in August 2021, followed four months later by the second tug in the series, Steven Sikes. FMT has ordered six vessels, with four still under construction.
Sterling Marine of Fairhope, Ala., designed the vessels, which primarily push barges on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway.
The propulsion chains start with twin Tier 3 Caterpillar C32 engines driving 76-inch Sound propellers through Twin Disc MGX540 reduction gears. Two 99-kW John Deere engines produce electrical power. R.W. Fernstrum supplied the Gridcooler keel coolers.
Eric Brumfield is named for a longtime FMT employee who works in compliance. He is the son of FMT’s longtime manager of vessel construction, Jeff Brumfield.
In a brief interview, Jeff Brumfield said it was wonderful to have a boat named for his son. “It was quite a surprise,” the proud father said. “He works here at the company and he has earned his way.”
FMT’s own shipyard in Harvey, La., delivered one of the company’s five new towboats. The 4,000-hp, 120-foot John Pasentine II entered service last summer.
Canal Barge Co. of New Orleans welcomed the 142-by-44-foot towboat Sally Lapeyre in late 2021 from Steiner Construction. A few months later, the company added a sister vessel, Lizzie Lane Peus, from the same yard.
The 4,400-hp Sally is powered by twin 2,200-hp Cummins Tier 3 engines turning 100-inch Sound propellers through Reintjes reduction gears. Two Cummins generators provide electrical power.
“The Sally Lapeyre is the first of two 4,400-hp twin-screw towboats that chart the future of our mid-range horsepower operations and our upriver towing presence,” Canal Barge said last fall.
Lizzie, meanwhile, is equipped with Tier 4 Cummins main engines. The engines represent the most significant change between the two vessels, according to Ron Zornes, director of corporate operations for Canal Barge.
The vessels have floor-to-ceiling windows and a 36-foot height of eye for enhanced visibility.
Blakeley BoatWorks in December 2021 delivered the 70-foot Green Wave to Plimsoll Marine. Both companies are based in Mobile, Ala.
The 1,600-hp Green Wave was designed by Farrell & Norton naval architects based in Maine. It primarily works within the Cooper Consolidated fleeting footprint on the Lower Mississippi River.
“We’re proud of the work Blakeley BoatWorks has done and have high expectations for the Green Wave as it begins service in the Plimsoll fleet,” said Karl Gonzales, vice president of Plimsoll Marine.
Propulsion on the vessel comes from two Caterpillar C32 engines driving 70-inch stainless steel Southeastern Propellers through Twin Disc gears. Thordon supplied the shaft bearings and rudder bearings.
The pushboat makes up to barges through two Patterson 40-ton deck winches supplied by Donovan Marine. Schuyler Cos. supplied the rubber fenders.
Plimsoll Marine also took delivery of the 67-by-28-foot Steel Skipper built by Master Marine in Bayou La Batre, La.
Entech Designs of Kenner, La., designed the vessel, which primarily operates on the Lower Mississippi River. It is powered by two 803-hp Mitsubishi diesel engines supplied by Laborde Products. The engines drive four-blade, 70-inch Sound propellers through Twin Disc gears. Two 65-kW Northern Lights generators provide electrical power.
“Plimsoll is proud to add Steel Skipper to our growing fleet of state-of-the-art pushboats,” Karl Gonzales, vice president of Plimsoll Marine, said in a statement. “Paired with our experienced mariners, this vessel further ensures our ability to exceed customer expectations in the safest and most efficient manner.”
Two 40-ton Wintech International winches on the bow allow the crews to make up to barges, while Schuyler Cos. fendering protects the hull and push knees.