Cooper Group subsidiary Plimsoll Marine has taken delivery of the first of four towboats for its modernisation strategy
Louisiana shipbuilder Master Marine has delivered Iron Lady, a 20.4-m long tug. This vessel was designed by Entech Designs for towing barges on the Lower Mississippi River
“Delivery of Iron Lady marks another milestone in our unrelenting effort to build and maintain our industry’s most modern and capable fleet of push boats,” said Cooper president Angus Cooper III. “Our continued investment in the Plimsoll fleet is a testament to our pledge to always return the highest level of value to our customers.”
Iron Lady has an 8.5-m beam and draught of just 2.7 m. It is powered by two Mitsubishi 803 HP diesel marine engines, compliant with US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s Tier 3 emissions requirements.
Iron Lady’s Laborde Products-supplied engines drive two Sound Propeller Services’ four-blade stainless steel propellers through Twin Disc 5321 gears, J & S Machine Works propeller shafts and Thordon Bearings’ bushings and shaft seals.
Laborde Products also supplied electrical power with two Northern Lights 65 kW EPA’s Tier 3 electronic controlled generators with RW Fernstrum keel coolers throughout.
RIO Controls and Hydraulic supplied the steering system for the two main and four flanking rudders.
Gulf Coast Air & Hydraulics provided a pair of Quincy reciprocating air compressors and ventilation fans. Schuyler Maritime supplied all rubber fendering around the perimeter of the vessel and push knees.
Addition of this new towboat comes as construction of a new inland waterway port commenced.
A farming and energy co-operative has started building a new port west of the Blencoe on the Missouri River for loading and unloading up to six barges simultaneously.
Elsewhere in inland waterways, ports in the St Louis region will be upgraded following the award of US$20.84M by the US Department of Transportation. Ports will be upgraded in southern Illinois to increase barge transportation of crops and livestock.
Funds are being made available for the Central Port District in Granite City, the St Louis Port Authority and Southwest Regional Port District in Dupo.
Further south, the Mississippi River Ship Channel is being deepened through dredging by Weeks Marine’s cutterhead dredge Captain Frank. This was the first contract signed by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for deepening this key shipping lane.
USACE awarded the second cutterhead dredge contract to Manson Construction on 8 September. Manson’s cutterhead, Robert M. White, is scheduled to start deepening work before the beginning of October.
In total, three dredges will be used to deepen the channel in the first phase of the project. The total project involves deepening the Mississippi River Ship Channel from the Port of Baton Rouge to the Gulf of Mexico.
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