C&C Building Towboat Trio for Hines Furlong
Hines Furlong Line currently has a trio of identical 6,000-horsepower towboats on order at C&C Marine and Repair in Belle Chasse, La.
The timing is right to order the high-power newbuilds, said Kent Furlong, president and founder of Hines Furlong Line (HFL), citing the long-term implications of Subchapter M and the industry’s aging higher horsepower line haul fleet as key drivers behind the decision. “Many of the high-horsepower vessels in the HFL fleet are among the oldest,” he said. “And many of the 6,000-horsepower vessels on the market are decades old, and not many have been ordered in the last 30 years.”
In addition, “My age and desire for HFL vessels to ply the inland waterways for many years to come also drove the decision,” Furlong said. “These high horsepower boats, if designed and built right, and properly maintained over their life, are 75+ year assets.”
But the main driver to order the vessels now, Furlong said, has to do with engine tier ratings.
The CT Marine-designed HFL 6000 newbuilds each feature three Tier III Cummins QSK60 main engines, turned down to 1,600 revolutions per minute, at 2,000-horsepower each for longevity purposes, Furlong said.
Each newbuild will be equipped with three generators for redundancy.
“CT Marine strives to innovate on every project that leaves our desk,” said Christian Townsend, owner and CEO of CT Marine. “The HFL 6000 was born from the dozen AEP and Pine Bluff 6Ks that were built about a decade ago. We started with this proven design of more than a million hours and incorporated our latest technologies to the project. Included is our patented Twin-Diff steering system and CT28sl Kort Nozzle, which is the second iteration of our Line Haul Nozzle.”
Each vessel will be outfitted with triple screw, 100-inch wheels that will be interchangeable with two of HFL’s late model 4,000-horsepower boats, longer, ST Louis Ship type kort nozzles.
The towboats will be equipped with three REINTJES WAF 1173 reverse reduction gearboxes at 7.429:1 reduction, configured with internal hydraulic multidisc shaft brakes and supplied by Karl Senner, LLC, whose President, Karl Senner, said the gearboxes are designed with offsets to best accommodate the main machinery space and keep ideal spacing of the three propellers (one vertical offset, one horizontal-left and one horizontal-right offset gearboxes). Karl Senner is also supplying the electronic throttle and gear control system.
Furlong said the vessels will be first in the HFL fleet to be built by C&C Marine, as well as the first to feature double steering rudders behind each wheel (six in total on each vessel), which will improve maneuverability.
Townsend explained, “The Twin-Diff flanking and steering rudders offer tremendous steering advantages over a barn door or flapped rudder and yields nearly the same side thrust as a Z-drive. On a modification, we reduce vibration, save 10-15% in fuel over a single barn door, enable the head of the tow to be brought around without the use of flanking rudders and increase steering forces considerably. We do this utilizing the same pumps and rams as a single rudder system.”
“Our latest steering, we feel, is the most important advancement that we have achieved since opening 55 years ago,” Townsend said. He noted that CT Marine has been testing double steering rudders with Ingram for about two years and now has approximately 100 ordered in 2020.
Furlong said, “We wanted the durability of a conventional vessel with both stellar northbound and southbound performance. At the same time, we fully acknowledge the superior maneuverability that Z-drives offer. With all of this in mind, we are convinced that this conventional, kort nozzled setup with the double steering rudder arrangement gets us the best of both worlds.”
“The only Tier III engines we could get were 2,000 horsepower each, forcing us to go with a triple screw design,” Furlong continued. “The triple screw arrangement is a blessing in disguise as it adds increased capability and redundancy especially for tank barge trades. These vessels are designed and built to run the lower Mississippi River, but they are set up to work on locking rivers as well.”
Asked about any design challenges overcome, Townsend said, “The entire project, as any, is a challenge. It takes very little to throw a large wrench in the works, but with the nearly 25,000 engineering hours that we put into the conceptual, detail and production design, we solved every challenge thrown our way. We feel this to be the most engineered vessel to float the rivers of the U.S.”
The first of the three 170’ x 50’ newbuilds is on track to be delivered by July this year, followed by the second due for handover in December and third in Spring 2021. By the time the trio is delivered, HFL will be running about 20 vessels in its fleet (including a CT Marine-deigned 4,000-horsepower newbuild series under construction at Steiner Shipyard in Bayou La Batre, Ala.).
“These vessels, along with the others we are building, represent a significant capital investment. Moreover, adding brand new, large vessels like this to our fleet make a statement to our existing and future mariners,” Furlong said. “Building the boat is just the start of the process. These vessels represent our continued investment in our steersman program and our ability to promote from within the organization and recruit from the outside. Without a professional crew and the right shoreside team towboats are just a hunk of steel.”