VESSEL REVIEW | Eddie Somers – Icebreaking buoy tender for Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Photo: Blount Boats
Photo: Blount Boats

Rhode Island-based shipbuilder Blount Boats recently handed over a new icebreaking buoy tender to the Hydrographic Operations fleet of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Designed by naval architecture firm BMT Designers and Planners of Arlington, Virginia, the steel-hulled boat has been christened Eddie Somers after a former DNR boat captain. The newbuild replaces J. Millard Tawes, an older DNR icebreaker on which the now-retired Captain Somers had also served as skipper.

Unlike J. Millard Tawes, which is refitted as it was originally built for the US Coast Guard in the 1940s, Eddie Somers was designed and purpose-built by DNR for the services it will provide. The boat will be operated as the primary icebreaking asset for Crisfield Harbor and Smith Island, in addition to placing buoys and performing other functions in an area of responsibility that encompasses a portion of Chesapeake Bay.

As was the case with its predecessor, the newer icebreaker will also serve as a lifeline vessel to Smith Island when the waters surrounding it freeze over, with the boat clearing a path for supply and shuttle boats. By cooperative agreement with Virginia through the coast guard, the vessel will also provide this service to Tangier Island in Virginia when requested. During heavy ice seasons, all food, fuel, medicine, and emergency transport going to and from the islands will be supplied by this vessel.

<em>Photo: Maryland Department of Natural Resources</em>
Photo: Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Eddie Somers has a length of 94 feet (28.65 metres), a beam of 27 feet (8.2 metres), a draught of 4.6 feet (1.4 metres), and a displacement of 195 tons (176 tonnes). Like the three other active vessels in the DNR Hydrographic Operations fleet, the newbuild has a shallow draught to enable it to sail through rivers as well as the shallower parts of Chesapeake Bay.

Power is provided by two Cummins QSK19M US EPA Tier III engines that each produce 750 hp (560 kW) at 1,800 rpm and drive Michigan Wheel five-bladed Nibral propellers via Twin Disc MGX-5202SC gearboxes. This configuration delivers a maximum speed of 12 knots and a service speed of 10 knots. The steering arrangement meanwhile includes a Jastram B2-76-400-1-35 steering system and Twin Disc EC300 controls.

Two Cummins Onan 55kW generators supply power for the onboard systems, which include equipment provided by Cay Electronics.

A MELCAL knuckle boom crane is also fitted for buoy and debris removal applications. Fuel oil and freshwater tank capacities are 1,987 gallons (7,521 litres) and 1,000 gallons (3,785 litres), respectively.

Eddie Somers was designed in compliance to American Bureau of Shipping and US Coast Guard Subchapter T guidelines.

Eddie Somers
Type of vessel:Icebreaker/Buoy tender
Classification:American Bureau of Shipping; US Coast Guard Subchapter T
Owner:Maryland Department of Natural Resources, USA
Designer:BMT Designers and Planners, USA
Builder:Blount Boats, USA
Hull construction material:Steel
Length overall:94 feet (28.65 metres)
Beam:27 feet (8.2 metres)
Draught:4.6 feet (1.4 metres)
Displacement:195 tons (176 tonnes)
Main engines:2 x Cummins QSK19M, each 750 hp (560 kW) at 1,800 rpm
Gearboxes:2 x Twin Disc MGX-5202SC
Propulsion:2 x Michigan Wheel Nibral propellers
Generators:2 x Cummins Onan, each 55 kW
Steering system:Jastram B2-76-400-1-35; Twin Disc EC300 controls
Maximum speed:12 knots
Cruising speed:10 knots
Other electronics:Cay Electronics
Type of fuel:Diesel
Fuel capacity:1,987 gallons (7,521 litres)
Freshwater capacity:1,000 gallons (3,785 litres)
Operational area:Chesapeake Bay, Maryland, USA

Related Stories

No stories found.
Baird Maritime / Work Boat World