More ATBs for major US owners

B Franklin Reinauer is a highly developed ‘Facet’ class ATB tug
B Franklin Reinauer is a highly developed ‘Facet’ class ATB tug
Legend and its barge 750-2 is the second ATB combination of a new generation for Crowley
Legend and its barge 750-2 is the second ATB combination of a new generation for Crowley

Although Articulated Tug and Barge (ATB) units are comparatively rare in Europe, in the USA they have become an essential part of the country’s infrastructure.

Due to the manning regulations governing coastal shipping, the ATB has become an essential tool in the distribution of petroleum products around the American coastline. As the size of ATB barges has increased due to market factors, so has the power and sophistication of the tugs providing the power. In recent weeks two significant ATB tugs have entered service, each with its own and very different hull form and configuration.

At the end of September the brand new ATB tug B.Franklin Reinauer was delivered to its owners Reinauer Transportation Companies of Staten Island, New York, to push the company’s 80,000 barrel capacity petroleum barges. With a history of 90 years, Reinauer Transportation now operates a fleet of more than 80 vessels of various types.

This vessel is the first of three sister ships ordered from SENESCO Marine of North Kingstown, Rhode Island. The design is from the drawing board of Robert P. Hill, president and chief naval architect of Ocean Tug & Barge Engineering. Known as a ‘Facet II class’ tug, the hull form comprises mainly flat surface ‘Facets’. The tug is SOLAS certificated with ABS Hull and Machinery Class notation.

“In service, the ‘Facet’ tugs are achieving the same and even greater service speeds when pushing barges identical in size and shape to the ones pushed by their more traditionally shaped and varied cousins that preceded them, said Robert P. Hill. “It is literally all about the angles of the facets".

B. Franklin Reinauer measures 33.50m in length overall with a beam of 10.6m, a depth moulded of 5.49m and draft of 4.57m. The main deck ‘01’ extends aft all the way to the transom, an innovation that provides greatly increased stability and interior volume. An added bonus is enormous and comfortable living quarters and additional machinery spaces. In its full load operational condition the tug can carry 110,636 US gallons of fuel in dedicated tanks and 7,100 gallons of fresh water, along with 5,186 gallons of lubricating and other oils, 1,963 gallons of oily bilge water and 3,877 gallons of sewage.

A twin screw propulsion system is powered by two MTU/DDC 16v4000 series main engines generating a total of 4,720bhp at 1,800 rev/min. Power is transmitted via Lufkin RS 2850HG 7.515:1 ratio reverse reduction gearboxes to a pair of 104 inch (2,642mm) stainless steel

fixed pitch propellers turning in Nautican nozzles fitted with ‘pre-swirl’ stators and high aspect ratio triple rudders. This propulsion system gives B. Franklin Reinauer and its 80,000 barrel capacity barge a service speed of 10 knots with power to spare, and a high degree of manoeuvrability.

Electrical power is supplied by three John Deere 6068-T 99kW auxiliary generator sets, and one John Deere 4045-T 65 kW SOLAS approved emergency generator.

A Beacon JAK 400 pneumatically operated, self-centering coupler is installed, compatible with Reinauer Transportation's JAK equipped 60,000 bbl and 80,000 bbl barges. The tug is positioned in a deep notch in the barge with the coupler pins engaged in sockets on either side.

In common with all ATB tugs, the wheelhouse aboard B. Franklin Reinauer is located on a high slender tower giving a good view forward over the barge yet with minimum area affected by crosswinds. Accommodation comprises three single staterooms, four double staterooms, a galley and mess area, and an exercise room.

Another US company deeply involved in the operation of ATBs is the Crowley Maritime Corporation. At the end of September Crowley christened the 16,000hp tug Legend and the 330,000 barrel tank barge 750-2 in Tampa, Florida. Together the vessels comprise the company’s newest ATB combination and will be used to transport petroleum products between the US Gulf and East Coasts, making regular calls in Tampa, where Crowley currently discharges nearly 163 million gallons of product each month.

The Legend is the second of three oversized ATB tugs and follows the Legacy, delivered by Dakota Creek Industries in Anacortes, Washington, in the summer of 2011. Along with the third vessel, Liberty, not yet completed, the trio are the largest ATB tugs ever built and are designed exclusively to operate ‘in the notch’ with their mating barges using the ‘Intercon’ coupling system. The tugs were designed by Vancouver based naval architects Naviform and meet all of the SOLAS and ABS criteria applicable to an ATB combination of this type. Legend is 45.11m in length overall, has a beam of 18.29m and a depth of 9.14m.

All three tugs are powered by two electronically controlled Wartsila 12V32 4SA 320 main engines delivering a total of 16,320bhp to drive a pair of controllable pitch propellers. The engines are capable of running on heavy oil and give the ATB a cruising speed of 15 knots. Each engine is housed within its own engine room with much of the drive line enclosed in a unique pod external to the main hull structure, one on either side. The steering system features oversize rudders to achieve the best possible handling characteristics and also enables a degree of redundancy. See also MJ – August 2011.

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