VESSEL REVIEW | Laura Blessey Todd – Blessey Marine Services’ new inland pusher tug features innovative hull design

Photo: Blessey Marine Services

Vessel Repair, a shipbuilding and ship repair company based in Port Arthur, Texas, has delivered a new pusher tug to marine transport specialist Blessey Marine Services of Elmwood, Louisiana. The newbuild has been named Laura Blessey Todd after the daughter of Blessey Marine chairman and CEO Walter Blessey.

The new tug has a patented hull design, which Vessel Repair vice president Kurt Moerbe said combines the manoeuvrability during flanking of single-chined or flat-bottom hulls with the efficiency of a double-chined hull. This efficiency can reduce fuel burn, thereby lowering both emissions and operational costs. The concept behind the hull of Laura Blessey Todd and other tugs in the same series was validated via a CFD study, which showed that the new hull type combined a single-chined hull’s cost-effectiveness, stability, and easier berthing attributes with a double-chined hull’s increased and improved water flow, improved fuel consumption, and sufficient sliding during hard manoeuvring.

The tug has a length of 100 feet (30.48 metres), a beam of 34 feet (10.36 metres), and two Cummins QSK38-M1 main engines. The engines are connected to two Texas Wheel Works stainless steel, four-bladed, 85- by 60-inch (2,159- by 1,524-mm) propellers via Reintjes WAF675 reduction gears with a 7.091:1 ratio and internal shaft brakes. The gears and shaft brakes were provided by Karl Senner while Thordon Bearings provided the seals and bearings.

The vessel also features a retractable pilothouse to allow sailings underneath the bridges that span the Illinois Waterway. The pilothouse can be raised to a maximum height of 30.5 feet (9.1 metres).

Photo: Blessey Marine Services

Custom Hydraulic Components furnished the pilothouse lift system as well as the ABS-approved steering systems. Pilothouse electronics and communication equipment were meanwhile provided by Wood River Electronics.

The engine room contains John Deere 4045 99kW generators, Dura-Weld grid coolers, and a 42-point engine alarm. On the deck are Patterson 40E-5 deck winches and a Schoellhorn-Albrecht SA 1214-10-48 capstan. Schuyler Maritime’s laminated rubber fendering protects the exterior.

The tug has capacity for 37,000 gallons (140,000 litres) of fuel, 15,800 gallons (59,800 litres) of fresh water, 500 gallons (1,892 litres) of lubricant, and 500 gallons (1,892 litres) of waste oil. Wastewater is treated by a Seahorse Manufacturing SMSD 300-RF sanitation device. A fixed fire suppression system from Herbert S. Hiller is also fitted.

The crew accommodation spaces consist of five cabins, four full bathrooms and a half bathroom, a large galley, and a lounge. The galley is all stainless steel with granite counters and modern appliances. The lounge features glass walls and a full entertainment center.

There is ceramic wood tile floor throughout, tongue and groove cypress in common areas, and suspended vinyl-covered Sheetrock tiles for the ceilings. Sound dampening and vibration control are achieved with the aid of a concrete subfloor.

Laura Blessey Todd
Type of vessel: Pusher tug
Flag: USA
Owner: Blessey Marine Services, USA
Builder: Vessel Repair, USA
Length overall: 100 feet (30.48 metres)
Beam: 34 feet (10.36 metres)
Main engines: 2 x Cummins QSK38-M1
Gearboxes: 2 x Reintjes WAF675
Propulsion: 2 x Texas Wheel Works propellers
Generators: 2 x John Deere 4045, each 99 kW
Steering system: Custom Hydraulic Components
Electronics supplied by: Wood River Electronics
Winches: Patterson 40E-5
Capstan: Schoellhorn-Albrecht SA 1214-10-48
Fendering: Schuyler Maritime
Other equipment installed: Custom Hydraulic Components pilothouse life system; Dura-Weld grid coolers; Seahorse Manufacturing SMSD 300-RF sanitation device
Floor/deck surface finishes: Ceramic wood tile
Fuel capacity: 37,000 gallons (140,000 litres)
Freshwater capacity: 15,800 gallons (59,800 litres)
Accommodation: Cabins; 4 x full bathrooms; half bathroom; galley; lounge

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