The first U.S. inland waterways tow vessel powered by electronically controlled Caterpillar 3500 Series B marine propulsion engines is currently under construction at Quality Shipyard, Houma, La. The new boat will enter service
on the Ohio River system in November, 1999 for Mulzer Crushed Stone
, Tell City, Ind.
Corning Townsend of CT Marine designed the boat's structure to be similar to an existing Mulzer vessel, but increased the hull length and designed the underwater shape, propulsion system, and rudders to increase overall efficiency, reduce cavitation, and improve steering control both ahead and astern.
Propulsion will be provided by two Cat 3516Bs rated 1,800 bhp (1,342 kW) at 1,200 rpm. The engines will turn Bollinger 100 in. x 76 in. wheels through Reintjes WAF 1562, 5.4:1 gears. Projected full load tow is 15 standard barges filled with aggregates.
Engines and gears - as well as all other ship systems, tanks, and bunkers -- will be connected to a Monico integrated vessel monitoring system
, with computer monitors placed in both the engineer's control room and the pilothouse. Auxiliary power will be provided by two Cat 3304B gen sets rated 105 ekW at 1,800 rpm.