For Oil or Tuna, One Design Can Do It All

Monday, April 23, 2001

Commercial diver John Template likes to have boats built and he doesn’t much mind whether he operates them or sells them. This May he will take delivery of the second of a two-boat order from A&B Industries.

The sister ships were built as 120- x 32-ft. with a molded depth of 12 ft. They are USCG inspected class “L” with ABS Loadline only under 100 gt. Designed for versatility in serving a variety of functions in support of the oil industry, the boats have 76- x 24-ft. clear aft decks capable of handling 126 tons of deck cargo. Tankage, including 50,000 gallons of fuel and 12,940 gallons of potable water, equips the boats for conventional off shore supply vessel support to drilling and production rigs Water ballast tanks have a capacity of 18,040 gallons and sewage capacity is 6,320 gallons. With accommodation provided for up to 21 people, they can also work in a variety of roles from dive support to geophysical research.

Main engines for the boats are a pair of Cummins six-cylinder electronic QSK19-M engines each generating 660 hp (492 kW) at 1,800 rpm and turning 68-in. Bird-Johnson propellers on 6-in. Aquamet shafts through Twin Disc MG5170 6:1 gears. The boats’ two 75 kW auxiliaries are also Cummins powered 6BT5-9G engines. The boat is equipped with Walters Grid Goolers, main switch panel by Power Panels 440V three phase and Peabody Barnes pumps.

The Sea Express, delivered in December, has already been purchased by Spanish interests and is undergoing an extensive refit at Eastern Marine in Florida to equip it for transporting fish. Marine surveyor Buddy Setzer, who is overseeing the conversion, reports that the fuel consumption on the delivery trip from the Morgan City builder to the Florida yard of the two QSK19 engines, was “unbelievable.”

When the conversion at Eastern is complete, the boat will travel to the Spanish Mediterranean where her owners, Hijos de Albaladejo García, S.L. -Bluefin Tuna, S.L., will employer her to tow a 90-m net cage to seine boats to receive live bluefin for holding and growing out until ready for harvest. The boat will also be equipped to harvest the fish and transport them to the shore in refrigerated saltwater tanks (RSW) tanks for transhipment to Japanese markets. Part of the conversion involves the removal of excess fuel tankage and adding four RSW fish holds. The two forward holds will be 14 ft. square by 12 ft. deep while the two aft holds will be 14 x 10 x 7 ft. each. These holds, lined and piped with stainless steel, will be supported by two 75-ton compressors. For freezing tuna loins, the boat will have nitrogen freezers in a 20-ft. container supplying super chilling to blast and racks in a pair of 40-ft. reefers on deck. The containers will be onboard for only a few month of the year during which the freezing takes place, the rest of the year the boat will handle only fresh fish. In addition to other modifications, two knuckle cranes of 40 and 25 tons have been added.

The Ocean Express, to be delivered this May, is available for sale or charter.

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