"It takes about two 12-hour days to clean the nearly flat bottom of a 1,300 x 200-ft. super tanker," says John Templet
, founder of Commercial Divers in Pasgagula Miss., "and another one-and-a-half days to clean the underwater sides. Of course this depends on what type of paint, how old it is and the type of waters that ship has been in. If it has been in those cold polluted waters up around New York there won't be much growth, but if it has been over sand bottom that reflects light back to the hull there will be a lot of growth."
Commercial Marine Divers does a wide range of work, much of it relating to the oil business and offshore rigs, but it is in the hull cleaning that Template has made them the innovators. Starting his firm in 1976 he was frustrated with the efficiencies of the older style rotating wire brush hull cleaning machines.
"I figured there must be a better way," he says.
Over the years he experimented with a number of techniques and finally developed a machine that uses a pair of two-foot reciprocating blades. At the encouragement of his wife he applied for a patent in 1992 and was granted the patent in 1995.
Because shipyards capable of hauling a super tanker are few and far between, the cleaning is done while they are at anchor off the Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas coasts. At these anchorages, lighters transship the crude oil to shore-based refineries and Templet's crews work in between their trips.
In the early days of his business, Templet often had trouble finding suitable boats from which to work, so he decided to buy and refurbish an older vessel. The job was a success but the boat was soon chartered out to an oil company
. Over time he built a fleet of three utility type boats that he could use for dive support or charter for rig supply.
Recently, Templet decided to build a pair of 128 x 30 x 12-ft. combination Utility/Dive boats. Building at A&B Industries in Morgan City, La., the boats will have full accommodation for up to 24 people in addition to their normal crew of four.
When called for a dive job the equipment can be quickly loaded to the large 80 x 26-ft. aft deck. Power for the boats will be a pair of Cummins (CMI)
' new electronic 19-liter six-cylinder QSK19 M3 engines rated for 660 hp continuous at 1,800 rpm driving through Twin Disc MG 5170 gears with a 6:1 ratio. The boat will also have a bowthruster. Electrical power will be generated by two 75 kW gen sets each powered by a Cummins 6BT5.9G engine.
Tankage includes 50,000 gallons of fuel, 12,940 gallons of potable water, 18,040 gallons of ballast water and 6,320 gallons of sewage.
Construction of the two vessels, designed by Bob Craver of Design Tech in Lockport, La., is well along and delivery is planned for the summer of 1999.