VESSEL REVIEW | Gretchen V. Cooper – Low-emission pusher tug for Cooper/T. Smith


Cooper Marine and Timberlands (CMT), a company under Mobile, Alabama-based marine transport and logistics specialist Cooper/T. Smith Corporation, recently took delivery of a new inland pusher tug from sister company Blakeley Boatworks (BBW).

Designed by Farrell and Norton Naval Architects in compliance with US Coast Guard Subchapter M regulations, the vessel has been named Gretchen V. Cooper after the wife of Cooper/T. Smith President Angus R. Cooper III.

The all-steel tug has a length of 110 feet (33.5 metres), a beam of 33 feet (10 metres), a depth of 11 feet (3.35 metres), and a draught of 8.6 feet (2.62 metres). Power is provided by two Caterpillar 3512E main diesel engines that each have an output of 1,700 hp (1,267 kW). The engines have also been fitted with selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology, ensuring the tug’s compliance with US EPA Tier IV regulations.

“Adjusting the vessel design to ensure seamless integration of certain equipment to facilitate EPA Tier IV requirements proved the most challenging part,” CMT told Baird Maritime. “Fortunately, our working closely with the Blakeley manufacturing team regarding front-end installation greatly helped in ensuring the needed design.”

The engines drive two Southeastern Propeller four-blade, stainless steel 88-inch (2,235mm) propellers via nine-inch (228mm) shafts and Twin Disc MGX5600 gearboxes with 6.04:1 reduction.

“The propulsion arrangement will allow Gretchen V. Cooper to push up to eight barge tows during high water, which will in turn enable us to deliver significant quantities of dry cargo to our customers 12 months out of a year. This is a key improvement over our other tugs that can haul only two or four barges per trip, hence the need for twice as many sailings.”

The primary steering is via two 25hp (18kW) electric/hydraulic motors, though the engine room also features emergency steering in addition to boasting a large interior space even with the EPA Tier IV equipment.

The onboard systems draw their power from a pair of Caterpillar C4.4 99ekW EPA Tier III-compliant generators, which CMT said can swap over automatically in case of power loss. As with the main engines, the generators also come equipped with Fernstrum cooling systems.

The main towing equipment consists of two Patterson Manufacturing 40-ton (36-tonne) electric winches supported by laminated fenders that are 30 inches (762 mm) tall at the headlog/corner and 12 inches (304 mm) tall on the sides and stern.

Large windows have been installed in the pilothouse to provide the operators with unobstructed all-around views.

The interior has four bath/shower areas, a full galley, a lounge, and six staterooms that can accommodate eight crewmembers. All interior spaces feature mini-split HVAC units as part of a package supplied by Mitsubishi and aluminium doors with steel frames from Dale’s Welding.

The tug’s array of electronics includes a Furuno 1935 radar, FA-170 AIS transponder, GP-39 GPS, 520T-BLD transducer, pilothouse alerter, and SC-70 satcom, Standard Horizon VLH-3000 VHF radio and GX6000S loudhailer, a Ritchie HB845 compass, and a Davis Instruments Vantage Pro 2 anenometer. The vessel is adequately equipped with safety features such as a Mircom fire detection system and a Griswold fire pump with 15hp (11kW) motor. The fire pump may also be used as a back-up for the existing bilge pump.

The lights for the interior, the flood lights, and the deck are all LED while two Carlisle and Finch 1,000W searchlights have been fitted as well.

The tug also comes equipped with a small skiff that can be deployed and recovered via a Thern davit.

Gretchen V. Cooper is the 20th overall vessel to join the active CMT fleet. It has already begun operating on the Tennessee–Tombigbee Waterway, a 234-mile (377-kilometre) man-made river system that connects the Tennessee River with the Black Warrior River in Alabama.

See more stories from this month’s Tug and Salvage Week here.

Gretchen V. Cooper
Type of vessel:Inland pusher tug
Classification:US Coast Guard Subchapter M COI
Owner:Cooper/T. Smith Corporation, USA
Operator:Cooper Marine and Timberlands, USA
Designer:Farrell and Norton Naval Architects, USA
Builder:Blakeley Boatworks, USA
Hull construction material:Steel
Superstructure construction material:Steel
Deck construction material:Steel
Length overall:110 feet (33.5 metres)
Beam:33 feet (10 metres)
Draught:8.6 feet (2.62 metres)
Depth:11 feet (3.35 metres)
Gross tonnage:286
Net tonnage:161
Main engines:2 x Caterpillar 3512E, each 1,700 hp (1,267 kW)
Gearboxes:2 x Twin Disc MGX5600
Propulsion:2 x Southeastern Propeller propellers
Generators:2 x Caterpillar C4.4, each 99 ekW
Steering system:2 x electric/hydraulic motors, each 25 hp (18 kW); emergency steering in engine room
Radar:Furuno 1935
Depth sounder:Furuno 520T-BLD transducer
Radio:Standard Horizon GX6000S VHF
Satcom:Furuno SC70
Compass:Ritchie HB845
GPS:Furuno GP-39
AIS:Furuno FA-170
Alarm/monitoring systems:Mircom fire detection system; Herbert S. Hiller
Other electronics:Furuno pilothouse alerter; Standard Horizon VLF-3000 loudhailer; Davis Instruments Vantage Pro 2 anenometer
Winches:2 x Patterson Manufacturing WWP4-5.0-14-208-P
Other deck equipment:Thern davit
Other equipment installed:MP Flowmax bilge pump; 2 x Grundfos MQ3-45 potable water and wash water pumps; Zoeller M53 sump pump; Thordon bushings; 2 x Fernstrum main engine gridcoolers; 2 x Fernstrum generator gridcoolers; Mitsubishi split duct HVAC; 2 x Cincinnati Fan exhaust fans; 2 x Cincinnati Fan intake fans
Interior lighting:LED
External lighting/searchlights:LED; 2 x Carlisle and Finch searchlights
Firefighting equipment:Griswold HL motorised fire pump
Type of fuel:Diesel
Fuel capacity:44,200 gallons (167,315 litres)
Freshwater capacity:10,000 gallons (37,854 litres)
Sewage/blackwater capacity:1,145 gallons (4,334 litres)
Accommodation:6 x staterooms; galley; lounge; 4 x bath/shower areas

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