Bollinger Shipyards, Inc., has completed the conversion of the Crescent Towing tug, FLORIDA, from a single engine to a twin-engine boat with 4,000 HP. It is the first of eight Crescent Towing
105-foot sister ships to undergo the same major conversion at Bollinger’s Algiers (New Orleans) repair and conversion shipyard.
The FLORIDA’s old engine was replaced with two Caterpillar 3512B engines coupled to Reintjes WAF 673 reduction gears driving 83-inch Bollinger stainless steel propellers. They were installed in 84-inch type 37 kort nozzles with stainless steel inner rings and leading and trailing edges. It has a 45° rudder angle for better maneuverability and its new power package is designed to generate 100,000 pounds or 50 tons of bollard pull. The boat’s stern was also modified to accommodate the new propulsion system.
Bollinger also reconstructed the FLORIDA’s wheelhouse with low profile stacks for maximum visibility and installed new radars, GPS, depth sounders, hailers, VHF radios, fax machines, sound powered telephones, fuel emergency shut off systems, and remote control start and stops for the main engines.
New Coast Guard approved oil and water separators and sanitary systems were installed and channel coolers were replaced with keel coolers. Living spaces and the galley were refurbished and new air conditioning and heating was installed.
Larry Ohler, Crescent vice-president and port engineer said, "FLORIDA is running great and is everything we thought it would be. She went up the Mississippi River at over 10 knots at a river stage of 13.5 feet and downstream at over 16 knots. Power, maneuverability and visibility are all excellent. She pulled out a sea-going barge that was aground without the need for full throttle and normal docking and undocking has been improved all around, along with crew comfort."
The Crescent tug LOUISIANA is now at Bollinger Algiers to receive identical conversion as the FLORIDA. It will be followed by the NED FERRY, G. SHELBY FREIDRICHS, MISSISSIPPI, MARGARET F. COOPER, TEXAS, and GLENN SMITH.
Each is 105-feet in length with a 26-foot beam and 13.5 foot depth. They were built in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Ohler said testing on the FLORIDA’s hull revealed that it is still 1 1/16th inch thick. "That reflects excellent maintenance," he said, "and with these improvements, our tugs will be useful for another 30 to 35 years."