November 2021 Brownwater News

Ohio man charged after pipe bombs found on towboats

Authorities have charged an Ohio man with possession of unregistered destructive devices after pipe bombs were found aboard towboats operating on the Ohio River.

The suspect in the case, Nathaniel Becker, 42, lived in Marietta, a small city along the river. He is accused of building pipe bombs found on towboats on Oct. 21 and Oct. 25. Neither of the devices exploded.

More details on the incidents, including the vessels involved and how the devices were found, is available here.


AWO releases environmental best practices for towing industry 

The American Waterways Operators (AWO) has released a set of environmental stewardship best practices for the tugboat, towboat and barge industry.  

The best practices are intended to inform, support and guide vessel operators’ continuous improvement in the areas of water quality, energy efficiency, air quality, waste management and corporate responsibility. 

“Barge transportation is the safest, most environmentally sustainable mode of freight transportation,” Jennifer Carpenter, AWO president and CEO, said in a prepared statement.  

“These best practices reflect AWO members’ commitment to continuous improvement as we seek to build on our industry’s natural advantages in fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions, and become ever better stewards of the natural resources on which our nation and our industry depend,” she said. 

More details on the plan can be found here. 


Section of Ohio River closed due to towboat fire 

The U.S. Coast Guard closed a section of the Ohio River near Belleview, Ky., after a towboat caught fire.  

The 4,000-hp Capt. Kirby Dupuis was underway on Nov. 9 when the fire started in the engine room. The cause of the incident aboard the 120-foot vessel remains under investigation. 

The Coast Guard closed the river for several hours between mile 499 and 501 during response efforts. The temporary closure had limited effects on other passing tows, the Coast Guard said.  

More details can be found here. 

Master Boat Builders launches hybrid tugboat 

Master Boat Builders of Coden, Ala., has launched a new hybrid tugboat for Seabulk Towing.  

The shipyard launched the 98-foot Spartan in early November and plans to deliver it in early 2022. The vessel is equipped with an integrated hybrid propulsion system consisting of Caterpillar 3512E engines, Berg MTA z-drives and ABB propulsion motors.  

The new tug is projected to deliver 90 tons of bollard pull.  

More details on the project are available here. 


Great Lakes-Seaway traffic up despite pandemic, shipping disruptions 

Traffic and cargo have increased on the St. Lawrence Seaway for the year despite challenging times in the shipping industry worldwide.  

Data from the Great Lakes Seaway Partnership shows a 1.9 percent increase in cargo through the Seaway for the current shipping season (March 22-Oct. 31) and a 1.3 percent increase in ship traffic.  

“In October, the Seaway system saw a noticeable increase in cargo movements, particularly during the last week of the month,” Craig Middlebrook, deputy administrator of the U.S. Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp., said in a prepared statement.  

The next few months are typically the busiest of the Seaway’s navigation season. “The harvest is in (and) U.S. export grain is moving through our Great Lakes ports and the Seaway,” said Middlebrook. “As global demand increases, we anticipate this upward trend in outbound grain shipments to continue through the end of the year.” 

For more details on shipping volumes and individual port activity, click here. 


Coast Guard, Port Houston partner with maritime high schools 

The U.S. Coast Guard and Port Houston are working together to develop the next generation of mariners.  

Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Karl Schultz and local officials addressed 347 students from local maritime programs during a recent event at a Houston high school. Speakers highlighted maritime careers and offered tours of Coast Guard small boats.  

“The Coast Guard is always looking for ways to engage with the local community, especially through our Partnership in Education program,” Coast Guard Capt. Jason Smith, commander, Sector Houston-Galveston, said in a prepared statement. “This new collaboration with local maritime high schools is a win-win.” 

More details on the event can be found here. 

By Professional Mariner Staff