U.S. Shipping Partners L.P. announced the delivery of its new articulated tug barge unit (ATB) the pusher tug Freeport and the parcel barge Chemical Transporter. The Partnership believes the ATB Freeport is the first IMO I ATB to be constructed in the United States. The ATB Freeport has successfully completed sea trials and has received necessary certification by the U.S. Coast Guard and the American Bureau of Shipping.
The new vessel departed the shipyard on July 1, 2007 for its first load port in Louisiana, and following completion of two routine design verification test procedures and arrival at the load port, it will lift its first cargo, which is anticipated to occur at the end of this week. The vessel is already covered with contracts of affreightment with major customers of the Partnership. This 19,999 dead weight ton IMO I ATB is capable of carrying 140,000 barrels of the most sophisticated chemical cargos transported by seagoing vessels. The ATB Freeport is the first of five ATBs U.S. Shipping Partners L.P. has contracted to construct as part of its fleet expansion program.