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January 15, 2009

U.S. Shipping ITB's go to Nigerian owner

Marcon International, Inc. of Coupeville, Washington, says that it represented the buyers in the purchase of two sister integrated tug barge (ITB) tank vessels "Groton" and "Jacksonville" from U.S. Shipping Partners L.P. of Edison, N.J., to foreign buyers. Sales of both units were concluded in November and December 2008 on delivery to new owners overseas.

U.S. Shipping Partners disclosed the sale of the Jacksonville in December 2008 and the sale of the Groton earlier this week. It said the disposals were "part of its overall strategy to modernize its fleet and replace its older ships."

The ABS Record gives the new owner as Platinum Fleet Limited, of Lagos, Nigeria, according to www.coltoncompany.com.

Both of the single sided tank barges had recently been utilized to transport grain cargoes to Africa for humanitarian organizations. The buyers will return both vessels to petroleum service, but under non-U.S. flag.

Both ITBs were originally built in 1981 and 1982, respectively, for Amerada Hess of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Halter Marine Services, Inc. of Chickasaw, Alabama, built the catamaran style (CATUG), twin screw tugs and Bethlehem Steel Shipbuilding, Sparrows Point, Maryland, built the double-bottom / single-side tank barges.

The vessels have a unique design where the twin-hull tug "docks" on a tongue protruding from the stern of the tank barge and locks into place with hydraulically operated link-arms, rigidly connecting the unit.

Overall dimensions, with tug and barge connected, are 691 ft x 95 ft beam x

61.5 ft depth with a maximum loaded draft of 40.5 ft carrying a deadweight of about 48,000 long tons. The thirteen cargo tanks have a combined capacity of 362,000 barrels with each cargo tank fitted with its own Framo single stage submersible pump.

Both units are classed with ABS as Oil Tank Barge +A1 for the barges and Towing Service +A1, AMS, ACC for the tugs.

The 133.5 ft x 90.3 ft x 39 ft tugs are powered by two medium speed Enterprise DMRV 16-4 TransAmerica Delaval main engines generating a total of 18,200 bhp providing a service speed of about 14.6 knots on 44 tons/day. The engines are capable of burning IFO and MGO.


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