Moran Towing Corp. keeps cranking out the articulated tug-barge (ATB) units, but the latest one is slightly different than its predecessors, all of which were set up to haul oil barges.
The new ATB tug Mary Ann Moran pushes the 531-foot dry-bulk barge Virginia enroute to San Juan with a cargo of grain. The 121-foot, 5,300-hp tug was completed recently at the Washburn & Doughty shipyard in Maine. (Photo courtesy Moran Towing)
The latest, Mary Ann Moran, was delivered from the Washburn & Doughty shipyard in East Boothbay, Maine, in late 2010 for the purpose of pushing a 531-foot dry bulk barge loaded with grain from New Orleans to Puerto Rico.
Essentially, she is a near-sistership tug to Moran's other recent ATBs with single elevated pilothouse. The tug is 121 feet in length with 5,300 hp worth of EMD power and an Intercon coupler system. Upon completion, the new tug was matched up with Moran's dry-bulk barge Virginia, newly converted with an upgraded notch to accept the Intercon coupler system and other improvements. Mary Ann Moran is the fourth tug built to this design by the Washburn & Doughty shipyard. In total, the company operates seven ATB units, all but one — the latest — in the oil trade.
While Moran has been handling grain loads for ConAgra perfectly well with a conventional twin-screw towing vessel, it was the appeal of faster voyages and better fuel economy that prompted the change to an ATB towing system. The company reports that the typical round trip voyage has been cut by about two days from the former 23-day voyage thanks to the greater efficiency that comes with Mary Ann Moran. Also involved in the ConAgra effort from the grain terminal in New Orleans to its flour mill in San Juan has been the barge Carolina. The barge Virginia is currently sailing on a year-round schedule with capacity of 27,000 tons of wheat, soy, corn, oats, alfalfa and other grains in a five-hold configuration.
Mary Ann Moran, named for the wife of ConAgra grain executive Gary Redmann, is powered by a pair of 12-cylinder EMD-645F7B engines with Lufkin 4.458:1 reduction gears. The power train can produce a reported 2,650 hp per engine at 800 rpm. Propulsion comes from five-blade, 115-inch Rolls-Royce propellers. The tug has tankage for 142,000 gallons of diesel fuel. Other tankage includes 68,000 gallons of ballast water and 16,000 gallons of potable water.
The SOLAS-rated tug has capacity for 12 crewmembers and provides 52-foot height of eye from its wheelhouse. Deck equipment includes fore and aft electric capstans provided by Markey Machinery.
She and others of her class were designed by Ocean Tug & Barge Engineering. Her initial captain was Jake Jarrell, a 30-year tugboat industry veteran.
Also at the Washburn & Doughty shipyard, the first of a new design of azimuthing stern drive (ASD) tugs, this one designed by the shipyard, is under construction for Moran Towing. The 93-foot, 6,000-hp vessel will be powered by MTU main engines with Schottel z-drives and designed bollard pull of about 70 tons, according to the shipyard. Also, delivered in late 2010, the shipyard completed a new 92-foot ASD tug for Moran, named Lizzie B. Moran. She was the 27th ASD tractor to join the Moran fleet, among the largest such fleets in the country.
Another of Moran's tugs made national headlines — at least of the maritime variety — in early 2010 when it was dispatched to tow the disabled cruise ship Carnival Splendor some 300 miles to San Diego, Calif.
The tug, SMBC Monterrey, was designed and built in Spain to service LNG tankers arriving at the Energia Costa Azul LNG terminal on Mexico's west coast. She was one of two joint-venture Moran tugs based at the site.
Monterrey, designed by Robert Allan Ltd. of Vancouver, British Columbia, towed the disabled 952-foot cruise ship stern-first using its bow-mounted hawser winch produced by Markey Machinery and 1,000 feet of 10-inch soft line. Company officials said it was a rare example of an open-ocean tow using soft line, as opposed to a wire towline. image: The new ATB Mary Ann Moran pushes the 531-foot dry-bulk barge Virginia enroute to San Juan with a cargo of grain. The 121-foot, 5,300-hp tug was completed recently at the Washburn & Doughty shipyard in Maine.