|The single, elevated wheelhouse of Penn Maritime’s new ATB tug, Skipjack, stands tall over the canals at Thoma-Sea Shipyards in Houma, La. (Alan Haig-Brown photo, courtesy Cummins Marine)|
Delivery of Penn Maritime’s new 4,000-hp ATB tug, Skipjack, was delayed by several factors, but the impressive new tug was due to leave the Thoma-Sea Boatbuilders yard in May or June to be matched up soon after with a newly constructed 90,000-barrel petroleum barge.
Skipjack is the first of five identical vessels to be built along with five barges under construction at the Corn Island Shipyard on the Ohio River in Indiana. The second tug, Coho, is expected to launch in May and be delivered in late summer.
The 116-foot tug and its barge are fitted with a JAK-400 model coupler system with pneumatically operated 16-inch diameter pins and eight sockets on each wing of the barge skeg. The tugs, with Cummins QSK60 main engines, are designed by Entech & Associates of Houma, La. These are the second wave of ATBs in the Penn fleet to be outfitted with the JAK coupler system, two others being the Tarpon and Dolphin, converted in 2006. Skipjack is the 11th ATB unit to join the Penn Fleet.
Penn Maritime is a privately owned, New York-based company with roughly 20 barges and more than a dozen tugboats. The company describes itself as the largest coastal transporter of heated asphalt products. Almost all of the company’s oil barges are double-hulled or double-bottomed.