Alabama Shipyard, Inc., has signed an agreement with Reinauer Transportation Companies
to build an articulated tug barge unit (ATB) with an option for up to three additional units.
The 460-ft. barge, designed by Alabama Shipyard, is double-hulled in compliance with OPA 90 regulations. Bob Hill of Ocean Tug and Barge Engineering, designed the 7,200 hp, 124-ft. tug.
The ATB features the patented Intercon tug/barge coupler system designed and built by Intercontinental Engineering and Manufacturing Corp., of Kansas City. The system consists of two independently mounted gear-driven ram assemblies, which connect the tug and barge.
The connection is rigid and mechanically locked, resulting in a vessel that handles like a conventional ship. The tug pushes the barge, resulting in speed advantages of 35 percent or more, compared to traditionally towed barges, says the company.
Engineering has been completed, and construction will begin in February 1999, with delivery of the first unit in late 1999.