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Blessey Christens New Boat

Blessey Marine Services Inc. recently christened its 17th boat, MTV Bill McNeal. The vessel's role is to push two 30,000-bbl barges on the lower Mississippi River and along the Intercoastal Waterway, or upriver in certain river conditions. Delivered from Verret Shipyard in Plaquemine, La., the vessel measures 72 x 26 x 12-ft. (22 x 8 x 3.6-m). It has an underdeck storage capacity for 23,000 gallons of diesel fuel, 500 gallons of lube oil, 110 gallons of hydraulic oil, 90 gallons of gear oil, 11,000 gallons of potable water and 2,400 gallons of waste oil.

M/V Bill McNeal is powered by a pair of Cummins KTA38MO diesel engines, which produce a total of 1,500 bhp at 1,600 rpm. Its electrical power is provided by two 50-kWStamford-Newage generators driven by Cummins 6B5.9 engines. The Cummins engines and generators were supplied by Cummins Mid-South of Kenner, La.

The main engines are coupled to the Karl Senner supplied Reintjes WAF-561 reduction gears, providing a reduction of 5.947:1. The boat features four-blade Kruger propellers, supplied by Byrne, Rice & Turner, driven through six-in. Thordon cutlass bearings.

For maneuverability, the vessel has two main rudders and four flanking rudders.

Additional maneuverability is provided by tunnels built over the wheels, providing more water to the propellers for greater efficiency and increased performance. Tunnels also provide more clearance under the wheel, minimizing damage in shallow water.

Ensuring a clear path of vision — at any time and in any condition — is considered essential for safe operation.

To this end, there is a 31-in. eye height in the wheelhouse to provide the pilot with excellent vision. Also, the vessel is fitted with two Carlisle & Finch searchlights for added safety. The port side light is a 1,000-watt Zenon light, enabling the pilot to pick up buoys and markers far in front of the tow.

The pilothouse electronics, supplied by Eagle Electronics, include a Furuno 7-61 with a 12-in. display; two Standard Horizon Omni VHF radios and a Standard LH5 loud hailer. Dehart Marine Electronics supplied the Zeeland Swingmeter radio. The telephone and fax were provided by Watercom, and the airhorn affixed on top of the wheelhouse is a Kahlenberg D2.

Engine instrument gauges and engine monitoring are present in the wheelhouse as well as in the engine room, and on the engines. The main engines have a redundant alarm system one internal, connected to the engine computer unit, the other through external switches installed by Baton Rouge Marine Electric. The entire circumference of the hull at the waterline, along with push knees covered by split tire bumpers from M&M Bumpers, reduce wear on the boat and barges.

Donovan Marine supplied the two Patterson 40-ton, electric deck winches, each capable of carrying 100 ft. of one-in. cable. The units can be operated from the deck or wheelhouse.

The vessel has accommodations for a crew of seven.

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