|James H. Hunter, 3,600 hp, is the first of two near-identical towboats being introduced by Tennessee-based Hunter Marine Transport. A second vessel will be 4,000 hp. Both are designed by Corning Townsend of CT Marine. (Jeff Yates photo)|
Hunter Marine Transport, a Kentucky-based barge transportation company, has expanded its fleet dramatically with the introduction of one new 3,600-hp towboat in the fall of 2007, and with another 4,000-hp boat due to begin service in early 2009. The company also recently started construction on a new 7,000-square-foot office and 10,000-square-foot warehouse and shop complex in Paducah.
Founded in 1976 by Ron Hunter who continues as its president, Hunter Marine currently has seven line-haul towboats and one local-harbor boat in operation. The 124-foot James H. Hunter is the first new boat built particularly for this company. The towboat was built at Quality Shipyards in Houma, La., while the next new boat is under construction at Gulf Island Fabrication, also in Houma. Both vessels are the design product of naval architect Corning Townsend of Maine.
Hunter’s next new towboat, a four-decker, will outwardly be identical to the James H. Hunter, but it will have 400 more horsepower from its Caterpillar 3516 diesels with Reintjes gears and with four-blade propellers in nozzles. Accommodations comprise berthing for 12, including a guest stateroom.