Halter Marine, Inc., has signed a contract with Bouchard Transportation Co., Inc. of Hicksville, N.Y. to convert a 446-ft. single hulled, ocean-going petroleum tank barge
(B. No. 155) to a double hull to meet the requirements of OPA 90. The contract also includes options for similar conversions of two additional pairs of sister vessels, all of which were constructed at Halter shipyards.
The barge's conversion will be accomplished through the addition of an outside hull. As a result, the barge's dimensions of 446 x 74 x 32.5 ft. will be increased to 468 x 85.5 x 38 ft. and ocean load line capacity will increase from 125,000 barrels of residual fuel oil to 158,000 barrels with segregated ballast. Halter will also install an Intercon connection system on the barge and 127-ft. tug M/V Buster Bouchard to convert both vessels into an integrated tug/barge configuration. The system eliminates tow wires between the tug and barge as the tug is firmly connected to the barge by a pair of 50-in. diameter rams projecting from both sides of the tug which lock into receptacles on each side of a "notch" at the stern of the barge.