October 3, 2008
N.C. Ferry Division yard builds crane barge
The North Carolina Department of Transportation's Ferry Division has completed its first ever in-house constructed vessel this week. The crane barge Skyco left the state shipyard in Manns Harbor October 1 for its first assignment at the Currituck ferry facility to install new dolphins adjacent to the terminal.
"The Skyco barge will enhance our dredging operation and make us more efficient and able to more rapidly respond to maintenance issues," said Don Chapman, assistant ferry director. "We'll be able to perform piling and ramp maintenance along with bulkhead replacement at each of our eight ferry facilities."
Skyco carries a 50-ton crane with an 80-foot reach. The crane will be able to lift dolphin clusters, pulling them out and replacing them with new ones and help perform maintenance to docking ramps. The 10-man crew will alternate between barge duties and dredging activities on a priority basis.
The Skyco was built entirely in-house at the shipyard, which will be the vessel's home berth. Local contractors supplemented some of the shipyard's labor force. According to NCDOT Marine Engineer Joe Waldrep, who designed the barge, the idea occurred three years ago when the old LCU (Landing Craft Utility) with crane became obsolete and needed to be replaced.
Skyco, which is 136.5 feet long and 40 feet wide, is not self propelled and must be pushed and maneuvered by tug boat. The vessel is fully self-contained and boasts power generators; fuel and water tanks; a ballast/trim system; a fire fighting system and quarters for 10 crew members. It has 3,200 square feet of open cargo deck. The barge has been built to ABS and U.S. Coast Guard regulations and guidelines