Lady Loren: Big Hours, Little Wear
Russell Plaisance, president of Louisiana Carriers, built the pusher-tug Lady Loren at Dickie Adam’s Lockport Fabrication in 2008. At the launch, he explained that the boat was the result of five years of planning and a lifetime of experience in the maritime world of the Gulf of Mexico.
The 82- by 29-foot Lady Loren was the seventh boat in the LA Carriers’ fleet. “ I keep my business diversified, ” Plaisance explained at the time. “We do $10 or 11 million gross per year including some business with the oil industry, but we do a little of everything else as well. We barge pipe and we once even towed baseball dirt from Houston to Tampa Bay for spring training. This new boat has a contract to tow corn syrup from Memphis to Tampa Bay.”
Jump ahead eight years, the corn syrup plant was converted to other products and that contract disappeared. But their diversity has kept LA Carriers healthy even during the slump in the oil industry. The Lady Loren, with both towing and pushing capabilities, is currently engaged moving a pair of hopper barges on a run between New Orleans and Tampa.
The Lady Loren is a triple screw tug powered by three Cummins QSK19-M3 diesels rated at 660 HP each to give a total of 1.980 HP. The engines turn three 63- by 67-inch propellers in kort nozzles.
“The engines had 36,000 hours on them so I decided to rebuild the middle engine,” Plaisance said recently. “Without removing the engine, my crew, together with Cummins mechanics replaced the shaft bearings, pistons and rods, heads and injectors. When we looked at the wear on the parts that came out of the engine we realized that they could easily have given us another 4,000 hours with no risk of down time.”
As a result he feels confident in leaving the rebuild of the two outside engines for another year by which time they will have a remarkable 40,000 hours each. Crediting Cummins quality Plaisance also has a very proactive service and maintenance program on the engines. Oil is changed every 300 hours, and injectors adjusted every 10,000 hours.
LA Carriers has changed some of the fleet in the eight years since the Lady Loren was launched and they have several different engine makes in his seven-boat fleet. Plaisance is unreserved in his praise for the Cummins engines. “In future, if I have to replace an engine in one of my other tugs, it will be with Cummins,” he said.