In business since the 1960s, veteran towboater Autry Dufrene
of Belle Chasse, La. is having a new boat built at LaForce Shipyard in Bayou LaBatre, Ala. The 1,600 hp, 74 x 28 ft. pushboat incorporates "a semi-camber" design from the keel to the chine on the underside of the aft hull. "It keeps the plate rounded to give extra strength and stop the vibration," explained Dufrene who operates his fleet under the name American Tugs, Inc.
Power for the new boat will be provided by a pair of Cummins 12-cylinder KTA38 MO engines developing 800 hp each. This is Dufrene's second boat with the KTA38. He repowered a boat with a pair of the engines over a year ago and has been happy with their performance.
On the new boat the engines will be linked to Twin Disc MG-5301 gears with a 6.39:1 ratio turning 74 x 60-in. propellers. Scheduled for a December delivery, the new boat will be the fourth vessel in American Tugs' fleet of tow boats available for charter work on the inland waterways.