About two years ago A. K. Suda, Inc. was approached by LaForce Shipyard of Bayou LaBatre, Ala., to design a crew/supply boat that would be faster, carry more deck load and more passengers and still be economical to build. The result: a 160 x 32-ft. high speed crew/supply boat that was recently delivered by LaForce from its Alabama yard.
The 160-ft. vessel, powered by four Caterpillar 3512 DITA engines at 1,575 hp each, reached speeds of 29 knot with light load and 28 knots with 100 Long Tons of liquid cargo in recent sea trials. The cargo deck at 100 x 28-ft. offers 40 percent more deck space than other vessels this size and can carry 290 ST of cargo, about 38 percent more than competing vessels. Cargo weight is 540 lbs./sq. ft. Passenger seating totals 81 passengers, and there is still comfortable berthing for 10 crewmen. The entire deadweight of 290 Short Tons can be carried on the deck.
The vessel design is based on the philosophy of its designer, A.K. Suda, Inc., a full service naval architect firm in Metairie, La., to build the lightest and strongest vessel possible. In maintaining the USCG Subchapter T designation, Suda designed the vessel without the use of deep tonnage frames or tonnage openings throughout the vessel, thus saving in the use of aluminum. Part of the saved aluminum weight was used to beef up areas of high stress. The savings in weight and the improvement in hull form have resulted in the high speed and heavy deckload. The simplicity of the design went far in controlling cost, helping the shipyard to save many man hours. The first vessel of this design is currently available for inspection at LaForce Shipyard.