Towboat roundup


Marquette builds largest twin-screws on the Mississippi River

The Mississippi River has a new king and queen. 

Marquette Transportation of Paducah, Ky., has developed some of the most powerful twin-screw towboats on the Mississippi with its new class of 10,000-hp, 180-foot towboats built by Gulf Island Marine Fabricators in Houma, La. 

The first, Rick Calhoun, was delivered in August 2015 while the second, Loree Eckstein, was delivered in February. The third boat in the series, Chad Pregracke, is scheduled to enter service in August. Corning Townsend of CT Marine designed the vessels. 

“Even in a challenging market like today’s, it’s exciting to bring out quality new towboats,” said John Eckstein, Marquette’s president and chief executive officer. “The new 10,000-hp boats are the largest ever twin-screws on the river.” 

These monster 180-by-48-foot towboats are capable of moving 40-barge tows. The vessels are powered by twin EMD 20-710 G7C Tier 3 engines supplied by Inland Power Group with Lufkin RHS3200 HG marine gears at a 4.75:1 ratio. The mains turn 120-inch, five-blade stainless steel Sound propellers with Kort nozzles and Becker High-Lift rudder flap systems. 

Electrical power comes from two John Deere generators supplied by CK Power capable of producing 222 kW each. The vessels have an EMI steering system, Wartsila shaft seals and can carry 128,000 gallons of fuel. 

“We’ve been very happy with the design and performance of the M/V Rick Calhoun — we made very few modifications for the last two boats,” said Jerry Jarrett, Marquette’s vice president of engineering for the company’s river division. 

The 2,000-hp z-drive towboat St. John launched at Master Marine last year.

Courtesy Marquette Transportation

Rick Calhoun is named for the president of Cargill Cargo Carriers, while Loree Eckstein is named for Marquette CEO John Eckstein’s wife. Chad Pregracke is founder of Living Lands & Waters, a Mississippi River environmental advocacy group.

These new vessels join Marquette’s fleet of roughly 130 towboats, nearly half of which were delivered, repowered or rebuilt in the last 12 years. 

St. Phillip and St. Peter

Marquette Transportation’s new construction program also includes an 11-boat order for 2,000-hp z-drive towboats designed by Entech Designs. 

Master Marine in Bayou La Batre, Ala., already has delivered seven of the 78-by-34-foot vessels. St. Phillip, delivered in February, is the most recent to enter service. St. Peter, St. James, St. John and St. Christopher were delivered in 2015. 

The towboats have Cat C32 Tier 3 mains each producing 1,000 hp at 1,800 rpm, with ZF Marine ZF AT 511WM-FP z-drives turning 65-inch, four-blade stainless steel props inside nozzles. Electrical power comes from two John Deere 4045AFM85 Tier 3 generators. Running speed is estimated at 10 knots with a loaded draft of 8 feet.

“Our crews and customers have really liked the new 2,000-hp towboats we’ve added in the Gulf-Inland division,” said Marquette Senior Vice President Kieffer Bailey. “Because of the scale of our line-haul operations, we always have boats available to shift into a job to help new or existing customers with a specific need.”

Four more of the 78-footers are expected to enter service this year. They are St. Bartholomew, St. Matthew, St. Simon and St. Matthias. The new vessels will join their siblings at work in the Mississippi River System and its tributaries. 

Harvey Sbisa and Lawrence Campbell

The 2,600-hp z-drive towboat M/V Dan Reeves is working on the Arkansas River corridor repairing public infrastructure.

Courtesy U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Almost 12 years ago, Florida Marine Transporters of Mandeville, La., began an unprecedented building program at Eastern Shipbuilding that grew over time to 65 90-foot Canal Class inland towboats. That ambitious program, which FMT considers the largest single towboat order in history, is coming to an end. 

Eastern, of Panama City, Fla., delivered the 90-by-32-foot Harvey Sbisa in December, marking the 62nd vessel in the class to enter service. Lawrence Campbell was delivered in April 2015 and Capt. Ricky Torres is scheduled for completion in July. The final boat in the series, which has not been named, is expected in November. 

“Right now, that is the end of the road,” said Jeff Brumfield, FMT’s manager of boat construction, in April. “I am talking to them about potentially one more boat, but that doesn’t really exist.”

Rhonda Lamulle, the first boat in the new class, was delivered in February 2006. Since then FMT has added to the original contract with several extensions as the need arose for new vessels. 

“It has been quite an endurance run, that’s for sure,” Brumfield said. “A 10-year run, consistently nonstop. Continuous with no gaps.”

Like their siblings, Harvey Sbisa and Lawrence Campbell are outfitted with two Caterpillar 3512C Tier 3 mains each producing 1,500 hp at 1,600 rpm. Both vessels have Twin Disc Model MG 5600 gears with a 6.04:1 ratio. Electrical power comes from two John Deere 4045AFM85 generators producing 99 kW each. 

The latest Canal-class vessels, like their many predecessors, can be found moving barges across much of the U.S., from Florida to Texas to Pittsburgh, Pa., and elsewhere on the inland river system.

“They’ve been wonderful boats for us,” Brumfield said.

Rodriguez Shipbuilding built the triple-screw towboat M/V Dianna Lynn for Mid-River Terminal of Osceola, Ark.

Brian Gauvin

M/V Dan Reeves

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has taken delivery of a new z-drive towboat that will work repairing infrastructure on the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System.

The 95-by-43-foot M/V Dan Reeves, built by Horizon Shipbuilding of Bayou La Batre, Ala., is the agency’s most powerful towboat on the waterway. 

“It’s a larger boat that will be able to tackle maintenance issues on the Arkansas River,” said Army Corps spokeswoman Laurie Driver.
Dan Reeves is named for a longtime former Army Corps employee in the Arkansas District who retired in 1991. The vessel has two Caterpillar C32 Tier 3 engines each producing 1,300 hp with twin Thrustmaster TM1500MZ z-drives and 67-inch Hung Shen propellers in nozzles. 

Electrical power comes from John Deere 6068AFM85 generators producing 150 kW each. The wheelhouse is outfitted with a complete Furuno integrated electronic and navigation package. Fully loaded, Dan Reeves has an 8.5-foot draft. 

The vessel joins four other Army Corps boats that work to maintain navigation channels, lock and dam structures, recreational areas and boat ramps along the Arkansas River. 

Capt David Carriere and Capt Calvin Hatfield

Higman Barge Lines took delivery of two new 78-by-34-foot towboats in the span of six months. 

Southwest Shipyard LP built the 2,000-hp Capt Calvin Hatfield for Higman Barge Lines. Hope Services built a sister vessel, Capt David Carriere.

Courtesy of Cummins

Hope Services of Dulac, La., delivered Capt David Carriere in April 2016, while sister tow Capt Calvin Hatfield was built by Southwest Shipyard LP of Houston and delivered in December 2015. Houma, La., naval architect Entech Designs provided the plans for both vessels. 

Both vessels are powered by two Tier 3 Cummins QSK38 engines each producing 1,000 hp at 1,800 rpm. The engines turn 73-inch four-bladed Sound propellers linked to Twin Disc reduction gears at a 6:1 ratio. 

Capt David and Capt Calvin can carry 27,768 gallons of fuel, 6,700 gallons of potable water and 259 gallons each of gear, engine and hydraulic oil. 

M/V Dianna Lynn

Rodriguez Shipbuilding of Coden, Ala., has delivered a new lugger-style towboat to Mid-River Terminal of Osceola, Ark. The triple-screw M/V Dianna Lynn has 1,980 hp and an operating draft of 8 feet. 

The 70-by-30-foot vessel has Cummins QSK19 engines each delivering 660 hp. Those main engines turn a 66-inch stainless steel propeller through a ZF gearset with a 6:1 reduction ratio. 

Mid-River Terminal has four vessels in its fleet. Dianna Lynn will perform fleeting and harbor work on the Mississippi River.

By Professional Mariner Staff