The St. Laurent Forest Products Corporation of West Point, Va. has been operating a pair of 84 ft. tugs
, Elis and Sture, since 1980, when they were built in Houma, La. The boats are dedicated to supplying the companies pulp mill with chips
as well as towing the company's oil barge as required. When the original two-cycle main engines started showing their twenty years, Marine Superintendent Tommy Callis began shopping for replacement engines for Elis.
He liked what he heard from engine dealer Sonny Hawkins of Inland Equipment about Cummins Marine and he had already had good dealings with distributor Cummins Atlantic on construction machinery. After a few contacts with port engineers who were using Cummins Marine engines he opted for a pair of KTA38 MO engines rated at 800 hp and utilizing the existing Twin Disc 540 7:1 gears and the 70 x 67-in. twin propellers.
"We're a proactive company on environmental issues," said Callis, "with the new emissions regulations coming down we wanted to meet them ahead of time."
Working in the sensitive waters of Chesapeake Bay this makes good sense. Typically the boat is towing two 200 ft. 1,500-ton wood chip barges from satellite plants around the Bay to the paper plant at West Point. The longest run up into Maryland is about 250 miles round trip
"We push the barges when we can," said Callis, "We use the towing winch when pushing with a pair of 95-ft. side cables passing through rolling chocks on the aft deck. When heavy weather requires towing, we use 1.25-in. cable with 10-in. Dacron becketts on the barges serving
as shock-lines. Depending on the weather we will have up to 1,000 ft. of wire out."
The repower work is scheduled for May at the Colonnas Shipyard in Norfolk, Va.