K-Sea's `Pocket ITB' Tug Norwegian Sea, always noted for her long, low, lanky lines, received her extra-high upper house last year. She can couple with any of K-Sea's large JAK-equipped double-hull barges, in this case the DBL 103. (Photo: Don Sutherland.) By Don Sutherland Considering the essential role they play in maritime transportation, barges don't get much respect. Or, more accurately, they don't get much affection. Their economic importance is certainly respected, as are the details of their construction in an age grown proactive about the movement of petroleum. But while we know plenty of mariners who claim love for one or more vessels, or who profess that boats have souls, barges seem to be regarded with more down-to-earth sentiments (and if we're overlooking bargemen who have richer spiritual relationships with their vessels, we welcome any expansion to our limited experience). In the case of DBL 27, for example, everyone at her christening on March 30 was pleased that she'd be a money-maker. In a tradition going back millennia, a bottle was broken across her bow, or at least against a post alongside her anchor, and people who cared spoke of a confident future with another Bollinger-built 28,000-BBL tank barge in the K-Sea fleet. Speeches were made, albeit brief ones. Then everyone turned to the pair of sixfoot heros stretched-out under the early spring sunshine, for a picnic lunch at the shore. DBL 27 is more than your average barge, however, so her official arrival was certainly worth noting. Although representing the state-of-the-art in construction and product-handling systems, she's actually half of a team, the "B" in "ATB," but smaller than most by that designation. DBL 27 is part of a vanguard of harborsize equipment described around K-Sea as "pocket ITBs." March 29, 2006 -- Houma arrives as the first pocket ITB, pinned to DBL 28, the first of eight K-Sea 28,000-BBL built with JAK couplers for harbor use. (Photo: Don Sutherland.) K-Sea's many existing pinboats are classified as "dual-mode Integrated Tug/Barges," the dual-modism being the ability of the tug to come out of the notch and operate independently, a feature absent from the original ITBs. The principal is the same as that of the Articulated Tug and Barge, an ATB by another name. No small number of boats have been purpose-built to "marry" to a particular barge via a coupling with the latter's notch, but probably the majority of ATB and dualmode ITB tugs are large, powerful, older vessels upgraded with pin systems. The novelty of K-Sea's "pocket" editions is that they're smaller -- 77.4-ft. and 87.5-ft. respectively, for use with DBL 27 and a program of seven other new barges of the same capacity that began last year with DBL 28. Unlike K-Sea's larger ITBs, the 28,000 barrel barges are manned with a liveaboard barge captain and barge mate. A christening may mark an event, though not necessarily its beginning. DBL 27, for example, all spotless and bright for the celebration on the 30th, was already a veteran of the waters and the business of New York petroleum. Just the day before, she'd been part of two teams, dual-mode 20 · MarineNews · April, 2007
You don't have Macromedia Flash Player installed.
This content requires the Macromedia Flash Player.