A new high-powered towboat has entered service on the Upper Mississippi and Minnesota rivers
US inland waterways transportation group Upper River Services (URS) has raised the capabilities of its towboat fleet with a newbuild vessel.
It has taken delivery of its first newbuilding to increase the mass of cargo and size of barges it can tow. All the other vessels in its fleet were acquired from other operators.
Mendota, a 23-m towboat with power of around 1,500 kW was built in less than six months by C&C Marine and Repair at facilities in Belle Chasse, Louisiana. It is a triple-screw towboat with breadth of 9.1 m and hull depth of 2.7 m.
It was designed by Portland, Maine-headquartered CT Marine for towing barges in the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers, navigating the shallow waterways and narrow passages along these rivers between Red Wing and Salvage, Minnesota.
Mendota has three Caterpillar C18 Acert marine diesel engines and two John Deere 4045T Power Tech diesel-driven generators. For additional safety to the crew, Mendota is equipped with a Novec 1230 clean-agent fire suppression system.
On its maiden voyage, Mendota towed a drydock from Belle Chasse to St Paul, Minnesota, where URS is headquartered.
URS provides full-service river operations, including towing and fleeting, barge cleaning, barge repair and other projects. This year, it opened a robotic blast and paint facility for tank and hopper barges.
It operates a fleet of seven towboats, including Mendota. Of the other six, JL Fleming has around 1,350 kW of power, Itasca has 1,000 kW, Becky Sue and Miss Kate have around 900 kW, while Mary J and White Rock have 600 kW.
Towboats Mary J and Miss Kate have Cummins engines, the other four have Caterpillar engines. Becky Sue and JL Fleming have retractable wheelhouses for voyages below low bridges.
C&C Marine and Repair designs and builds towboats, dredgers, offshore supply vessels, barges, and a variety of other marine vessels. All new construction is conducted under roof and barges are repaired on land.