SENESCO to Build Its First Double-Hull Barge

Tuesday, February 20, 2001
The Southeastern New England Shipbuilding Corporation (SENESCO), Quonset, R.I., will soon enter a new phase of shipbuilding when it begins construction of its first double-hull barge for transporting liquids with a potential environment impact.

The vessel- to be built under the 11th contract awarded to SENESCO - will carry 98 percent pure sulfuric acid in Baltimore Harbor between two manufacturing plants for Millenium Inorganic Chemical Company. Based in Ashtabula, Ohio, Millennium manufactures the acid in one plant and then transports it to a factory seven miles away. The 70-ft.barge will carry 7,000 gallons.

"Obviously, the integrity of the welding and general manufacturing process is paramount when you consider the cargo," said Robert G. Homan, SENESCO president and CEO. "We think the skills our welders-many of whom were trained to build nuclear submarine hulls-along with the consistency of our automatic welding methods were the chief reasons for landing this assignment."

As a result of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA-90), transporters of oil and chemicals must use double-hull vessels by 2015. Existing barges must be retrofitted with a second "skin" by that date. New barges must also comply.

OPA-90 was one reason SENESCO was formed by a group of business in 1994. Operations began in November 1999 with the award of its first contract. All ten contracts assigned to SENESCO so far have been for single-hull vessels used for carrying equipment, dredging or other construction tasks.

Sulfuric acid tends to sharpen edges around hatches and other openings. Extra plating will be required around the openings.

Construction is slated to start immediately. Delivery is set for April 2001.

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