New Towboat Built on Old Hull

Tuesday, July 27, 1999
Stewart & Stevenson Services, Inc., based in Harvey, La., has delivered a towboat, Espiritu Paraguayo, to Asuncion, Paraguay to Navegacion Paraguaya Americana S.A., a company affiliated with the South American barge line ventures of Allen Mott. This is the third towboat purchased by Mott from Stewart & Stevenson, and the fourth towboat powered by Electro-Motive Division of General Motors (EMD) engines by S&S for Mott and Mott's affiliates. Espiritu Paraguayo was completed using the hull of Senator Eastland, previously owned by Brent Towing Co., Inc., Greenville, Miss., which burned in 1989 on the Arkansas River. After the fire, the vessel was towed to Superior Boat Works, Inc., in Greenville, and the machinery and deckhouse was removed and the hull was painted and stored. In 1997, S&S purchased the hull, along with new rudders and propeller shafts, as well as the old propellers. S&S commissioned Design Associates, Inc., to do a powering study of the vessel, which concluded it could be rebuilt and repowered as a 5,400 hp towboat. S&S subcontracted with Halter Marine, Inc., to do the detailed design and to repair the hull, then complete the boat in an "all new" condition. The hull was towed to Halter Gulf Repair in New Orleans, and drydocked. Audio gauge readings of the hull revealed the hull was in "like-new" condition. Gridcooler boxes were changed, and some added, and the channel coolers for the generators were lengthened. Sea chests for the special firefighting equipment and watermaker were added. New, larger strut barrels were installed. All new bearings were installed in the rudder and flanking rudder trunks. New bearings were installed in the strut barrels and stern tubes, new Johnson Air Seal packing glands were installed and new Cooper split bearings were installed on the intermediate shafts. Additionally, a new pair of Bollinger 102 x 98 in. stainless steel four-blade propellers, with 90 percent developed area ratio was installed. New rudders were installed, as were new Fernstrum gridcoolers, and the hull was sandblasted and painted. The hull was refloated and towed to Halter Marine, Inc., in Lockport, La. When the hull arrived, the interior was prepared for some changes and the machinery was installed. A pair of Lufkin Model RHS 3020 reverse-reduction gears, with 3.75:1 ratios were installed, and then a pair of remanufactured EMD 16-645EC turbocharged engines to produce 2,720 hp each at 800 rpm. Finally, two Detroit Diesel 8V71N, 115 kW generator sets were installed. After installation of the machinery and major piping, the deckhouses were installed on the hull, and outfitting began. An entirely new steering system was installed, with all new tillers, jockey bars, pins and hydraulic equipment designed by Skipper Hydraulics, Inc., of Harvey, La. A Detroit Diesel, 50kW, 4-71N powered generator, set in a stainless steel, quiet enclosure, was mounted on Korfund isolators atop the main deckhouse. This generator will be used when the vessel is standing by in unmarked portions of the South American rivers, where vessels do not run at night. Additionally, there is no 60-cycle shore power available there. The vessel features several firefighting systems. An automatic CO2 flooding system for the engine room was installed. A dry chemical, portable, wheeled extinguisher was placed aboard, and standard engine room electric fire pumps were installed. An additional 25 hp firefighting pump was installed in the forward hold, which is powered by the 50 kW generator set and controlled from forward. Two 200 ft. fire hoses are mounted on the forward bulkhead of the main deckhouse. A 25 hp emergency bilge and salvage pump is also installed in the forward hold. A particularly high eye level (47 ft.) was designed, because the pilothouse is four decks above the main deck. There are no low bridges in the area in which the vessel will operate. The vessel operated on sea trial with minimum vibration and excellent handling characteristics. It was readied for sea and floated into a partially submersible dock ship and proceeded for Argentina four days after sea trials.
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