Three new 4,000-hp towboats have been added recently to the inland transportation fleet of the marine division of Marathon Petroleum. The latest is the 144-foot Marathon, delivered in March from C&G Boat Works of Mobile, Ala. Two others recently delivered are Detroit and Kentucky.

Last in a series of new towboats for Marathon Petroleum is the 144-foot Marathon, recently delivered from C&G Boat Works of Mobile, Ala. The Cat-powered towboat generates 4,000 hp and carries 70,000 gallons of fuel. (Jeff Yates photo)

These Caterpillar-powered towboats were designed by Corning Townsend of CT Marine of Edgecomb, Maine. The engines are 3516C diesels producing 2,000 hp each at 1,600 rpm. The power train includes Reintjes 7.455:1 marine gears and 100-inch propellers in Harrington nozzles. The engine room also includes Caterpillar auxiliary power generators while the steering flat includes an EMI electro-hydraulic steering system with redundant controls.

Marathon's considerable tankage includes capacity for 150 tons of ballast water, plus 70,000 gallons of fuel and 14,000 gallons of potable water. The vessel provides accommodations for up to 12 crewmembers all on one deck, including exercise room, lounge and laundry.

These towboats are joining a fleet of about a dozen towboats and roughly 175 tank barges.

The marine division of Marathon Petroleum is a small, downstream operation of a world-wide petroleum company with refining and distribution systems in many parts of the U.S. and elsewhere. The company operates product terminals and transportation networks throughout the midwest and southeast with thousands of railcars, trucks and, yes, inland marine towboats. The company's inland barge fleet is reported to transport an average of 440,000 barrels of crude oil and refined products per day to various destinations. A typical tow of Marathon equipment includes eight tank barges with capacity of up to 170,000 barrels of product, according to company specifications.

Marathon's inland barge fleet got a boost in 2006 with acquisition of the assets of Republic Barge Transportation Co. of Hockley, Texas. Republic, at the time, operated five inland towboats and 10 30,000-barrel heated oil barges. Today, Marathon reports that it operates the nation's largest private inland bulk liquid barge fleet.

By Professional Mariner Staff