(MOBILE, Ala.) — M/V Virginia, the United States’ first new towing vessel to receive a certificate of inspection (COI) since the implementation of 46 CFR Subchapter M, is owned by Plimsoll Marine, was built by Blakeley BoatWorks, and will operate within the Cooper Consolidated fleeting footprint, the largest fleeting footprint on the Lower Mississippi River. All three companies are part of the Cooper Group of companies.
In August, Blakeley BoatWorks, located in the port of Mobile, Ala., successfully completed construction of M/V Virginia, a state-of-the-art inland pushboat. Designed and built over the course of a year, the 70-foot-long, 28-foot-wide, and 1,600-horsepower vessel is both SIRE and 46 CFR Subchapter M-ready. Plimsoll Marine will operate M/V Virginia on the Lower Mississippi River for Cooper Consolidated.
“The Blakeley BoatWorks team is proud to have constructed our nation’s first new inland towing vessel to receive a COI,” said Tim Mire, managing director of Blakeley BoatWorks. “Our customers expect that their new vessels will meet our industry’s highest levels of compliance requirements and we certainly met those high expectations when we delivered the Virginia.”
Blakeley BoatWorks is one of the Gulf Coast’s leading shipbuilding and vessel repair facilities. Facilities include a floating dry dock, four working bays, and carpenter, electrical and maintenance shops. The working bays sit on a 26-acre campus and have 10-ton overhead cranes. Blakeley’s 600-metric-ton travel lift is capable of lifting and moving vessels 40 feet wide and 200 feet long.
“We’re proud of the work Blakeley BoatWorks has done and have high expectations for the Virginia as it begins service in the Cooper Consolidated fleet,” said Erik Cooper, executive director, Cooper Consolidated. “Our customers and employees now have the added satisfaction, pride, and peace of mind knowing that our fleet is home to one of the industry’s safest and most capable vessels.”
Plimsoll Marine, a Cooper Group company, is a pushboat operator with a current fleet of 19 pushboats that perform fleet work and barge delivery services from Baton Rouge, La., to Head of Passes on the Lower Mississippi River.
“Our decision to be the first company to build a new vessel under the recently enacted regulations of 46 CFR Subchapter M was not one that we made because we thought it would be easy,” said Karl Gonzales, vice president of Plimsoll Marine. “Instead, the decision to be the first was made to further demonstrate that Plimsoll Marine is a safety and compliance leader.”
A new towing vessel is defined in 46 CFR Subchapter M Part 136.100 as, “…a towing vessel, subject to inspection under this subchapter that: (1) Had its keel laid or was at a similar state of construction on or after July 20, 2017; or (2) Underwent a major conversion that was initiated on or after July 20, 2017.”
A video of M/V Virginia can be found here: https://www.blakeleyboatworks.com/virginia