The following is the text of a news release from the U.S. Maritime Administration:
(WASHINGTON) — The Maritime Administration (MarAd) has released a first-of-its-kind public database that chronicles U.S.-flagged, privately owned domestic articulated tug-barge (ATB) and integrated tug-barge (ITB) vessels.
The United States leads the world in the number of ATBs operated, which provide a cost-competitive alternative to tankers in the domestic energy market. Unlike a typical tug and barge combination, an ATB/ITB is mechanically linked, combining the economics of tug and barge operations with the speed, maneuverability, sea-keeping capability, and heavy weather-reliability similar to that of a self-propelled tanker. ATBs can also be built in less time than conventional tankers, and offer improved operating efficiencies at a lower capital cost.
In the report, MARAD has cataloged over 130 tug-barge units in service with a carrying capacity of 15.2 million barrels. The intention of this report is to calculate and illustrate the scale and scope of this unique segment of the maritime industry. The report can be viewed on the MarAd website at: http://www.marad.dot.gov/documents/DS_USFlagATB.xls.