Smith Maritime was contracted by a Nigerian company to deliver a 200' lift boat for oil field maintenance. Smith Maritime selected the 5,000 hp tug Rhea and 400' barge Atlanta Bridge for the voyage. The barge was equipped with pumps to allow for controlled sinking and recovery in order to float the lift boat on and off. But they ran into a hitch.
Shortly before departing, Smith Maritime discovered the African port was unable to furnish power for the pumps. Within hours Smith Maritime received delivery of a 60 kW Fiat Powertrain Technologies (FPT, formerly Iveco) diesel generator from Laborde.
Smith Maritime also has made another large purchase from Laborde. Four of the largest Mitsubishi engines to repower their deep sea tugboats. A 90', 5,000 hp ocean tug, Elsbeth III, needed triple 12-cylinder Mitsubishi S12R-MPTA engines to power its heavy-duty operations. Her sister, Elsbeth II, is outfitted with a 1,568 hp Mitsubishi S16R-Y1MPTA.
One of the last family-owned salvage and rescue businesses, Smith Maritime vessels operate around the world, primarily between the U.S., Caribbean and South America. To accommodate its growing salvage business, Smith Maritime recently moved equipment into a nearby building, doubling its warehouse space and providing more convenient mooring for its salvage vessel Dixie Diver.
Latham Smith founded Smith Maritime in 1968 when he built his first oceangoing tugboat, Elsbeth. Since then, he has built three more, the Elsbeth II in 1987, Elsbeth III in 1998 and Rhea in 2002. The tugs are designed with maximum horsepower packaged in a shallow draft, stable hull. In addition to salvage and rescue, Smith Maritime's services include ocean and coastal towing, dock construction, pipe and cable laying, submersible operations, and cargo and dredge operations.