The maritime community in the United States has watched with interest as Harley Marine Services has expanded from the West Coast to the East and Gulf Coasts and now the Inland Waterways. As with other expansions, carried out by Chairman and CEO Harley Franco, this one, the tenth subsidiary company in the group, includes a significant new-build program.
“We had this design for a 75-foot push boat that we were going to build for stock,” explained Conrad Industries’ Director of Marketing Gary Lipely, “We had some under construction when Harley Marine saw this as a way to get some boats into their fleet quickly.”
In 2012, Harley Gulf took delivery of the 2,000 HP push boats Thunder and Lightning. The Silver Stardust followed in early 2013. In October there were three more under construction at Conrad’s yard in Morgan City, Louisiana with deliveries scheduled for the end of November 2013 followed by two more sister-ships in January and March 2014. These boats will all have the same 29’ 9” beam and 9’11” molded depth to give the vessels a seven-foot light draft.
As with all of the boats in the several divisions of Harley Marine, these are built to the highest standards of their class and of sustainability. Propulsion is provided by a pair of EPA Tier II compliant K38-M Cummins engines each delivering 1,000 HP at 1,800 RPM to Twin Disc MGX5321 gears with 5.96:1 ratios. Cummins Mid-South supplied the engines.
Johnny’s Propeller Shop, conveniently located next door to the Conrad Shipyard in Morgan City, supplied the towboats’ propellers.
All the boats have four deck levels except the first delivered Thunder, which had only three decks. Auxiliary power includes a pair of Cummins 6BTA5.9-DM powered 85 kW generators. The hull contains tanks for 30,000 gallons of fuel, 6,000 gallons of water and 200 gallons of lube oil. Nabrico Hydro Electric winches are mounted on deck for handling the barge face wires.