Guascor Aims for Larger Market Share

Friday, June 04, 2004

By Larry Pearson

Over the past three years the Spanish engine manufacturer Guascor has been making inroads into the U.S. workboat engine market. They not only have a good product, but also were fortunate enough to sign an agreement with the Marine Division of Reagan Equipment Company, Plaquemine, La. as their exclusive North American distributor

Reagan also distributes engines for John Deere and Waukesha, so the addition of Guascor fits well into their overall engine lineup.

Over the past couple of years Reagan has sold dozens of Guascor engines to repower push boats. "Our Guascor engine line which includes 575 hp, 750 HP and 1150 HP at 1800 RPM have been good engines for this application," said Warren Berthelot, general manager of Reagan Marine. "Our 8 cylinder is a good performing engine and its in-line configuration opens up engine room space as opposed to V type engines. Guascor engines are IMO compliant and meets MARPOL Annex VI emission limits," Berthelot added.

Reagan is now enjoying a milestone in that they have just sold their first engines for a new construction offshore supply boat. The vessel is the Kolby D., a 141-ft. by 32-ft. utility/supply boat for Callais Enterprises, Inc.; Raceland, La. Callais chose for his main power the popular Guascor SF-240 engines. One of the reasons was the horsepower match for his application and he said, "I just wanted to try something different."

Callias also selected for his electrical requirements on the Kolby D two Kilo-Pak Spartan 99kW generator sets powered by John Deere engines model 6068T. Reagan also supplied a John Deere engine model 6081 driving a 260 hp bow thruster. Included in the bow thruster package were local and remote controls for the unit. Completing the project, Reagan also furnished reduction gear, oil coolers and other engine accessories for the Kolby D.

The Kolby D. will carry the typical fuel, water and deck cargo, but the vessel has also been outfitted with methanol tanks. The vessel can carry 38,000 gallons of methanol. Methanol is categorized as a "simple alcohol", but there is nothing simple about the precautions that must be taken when handling this volatile liquid. Special safety measures have to be taken with vessels than carry this explosive and corrosive liquid. A dedicated piping system is typically deigned and explosion proof light fixtures, motors and other equipment that the liquid may come in contact with.

Methanol is used on deepwater rigs that inject the liquid into their flow lines to keep them from freezing in the deep water of the Gulf of Mexico. This has been a vexing problem for the oil companies calling for increased quantities of methanol.

In addition to methanol, the Kolby D. will carry 55,000 gallons of fuel, 70,000 gallons of ballast water and cargo on a back deck that measures 82 ft. by 29 ft.

Master Marine in Bayou La Batre is building the vessel. Construction is scheduled to be complete later this year. If there is any market in which the Guascor engine package excels it is for tug/push boat repower projects. "We have done a significant number of repowers using the Guascor SF-180, SF-240 and SF-360 engines," Berthelot said. Their latest repower project was much more than simply replacing one set of engines with another. In this case, an old push boat was stripped down to her hull and rebuilt. "To understand this project you have to go back a couple of years and look at what we have built," said Mark Gauthier, port engineer for Progressive Barge Lines, Westwego, La. In 2001, a boat owner built the John 3:16, a 74-ft. by 28-ft. by 11-ft. push boat and had a second vessel started at LaForce Shipyard in Bayou La Batre, Ala. "We bought that vessel and finished it as the Freedom," Gauthier said. The vessel worked out so well for Progressive that they took one of their older push boats and did a complete reconstruction job on it.

The old vessel was built in 1973 for Big B Towboats and called the Bayou St. John. It was sold and renamed the Deborah by new owners in 1977 and sold again to Progressive in 1978 and renamed the M/V Kelly. Progressive reengined the boat in 1998 with Detroit Diesel 12V149 and operated it until late 2003.

At this point, Progressive had enough operating experience with the Freedom and decided to totally rebuild the M/V Kelly into a slightly smaller version of the Freedom at 64 ft. by 24 ft. by 9 ft.

"We took the vessel to LaForce Shipyard in December 2003 and totally gutted the vessel. The superstructure was removed and discarded. Likewise the main deck and the machinery in the hull were excess as well," said Gauthier.

By this time Gauthier was living in Bayou La Batre almost full time supervising the reconstruction and his boss Warren Buffone, one of the owners of Progressive Barge Lines, was there frequently as well. Once the vessel was stripped down to the hull it went to Steiner Shipyard, also in Bayou La Batre for hull and other underwater work. In the meantime, LaForce was building the new superstructure and gathering engines and other parts and systems to complete the boat. At Steiner, hull repairs took place as well as installation of the new shafts, wheels, coolers and other underwater work. The rudders on the boat were retained. The entire hull was blasted and painted before being returned to LaForce Shipyard. "Steiner had the vessel for about four weeks," Gauthier said.

Back at LaForce by mid January 2004, the pace of the reconstruction picked up. A new main deck and superstructure was added and the main propulsion, electrical generation, hydraulic and other systems were being installed. Progressive has experience with Guascor engines in the Freedom and decided to use them again in the new vessel to be called Liberty. A pair of Guascor SF-240 engines provides main power and Kilo-Pak Spartan generator sets supply electrical power. Guascor reduction gears are also a part of the package. "This is one of the many installations where we sold main power, electrical generators and reduction gears as a package along with gear coolers, mufflers and other engine accessories," Berthelot said.

Progressive also installed Simplan shaft seals from Simplex Americas LLC, Flemington, NJ. since they installed water-lubricated sterntubes. The Simplan seals virtually eliminate shaft wear and damage and also allow no water to enter the bilge.

One of the things that set a Progressive vessel apart is the attention to detail. In the pilothouse all controls are within easy reach and put into logical groups. The pilothouse itself is very roomy for a vessel this size with plenty of room for chart tables, a head and permits several people on the bridge at once.

The pilothouse electronics is by E & R Marine Electronics, Bayou La Batre, Ala and includes a Furuno 48-mile radar, two standard VHF radios, a Standard digital depth sounder, a Furuno GPS and a general alarm system with alarm acuators in key spots around the vessel. Steering is electrical over hydraulic with both followup and nonfollowup modes. The hydraulic system is by Custom Hydraulics, New Orleans. The crew quarters are roomy as well including a large galley and lounge area. The Liberty was delivered in March 2004 to Progressive Barge Lines. Progressive Barge Lines, located in Westwego, is a dockside refueler operating from Baton Rouge to the mouth of the river and has contracts with many of the cruise ships that dock in the Port of New Orleans. The company has six push boats and seven barges that carry a variety of fuels to the ships at anchor. Reagan Marine does a lot of work for the State of Louisiana, DOTD. One of the projects underway using Guascor engines include the ferry, M/V St. Francisville and the recent repowers with the John Deere 12.5 litre propulsion engines for the ferry M/V Iberville and push boat M/V BJ Rinaud, also in ferry service in Simmsport, LA.

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