VIDEO: Vigor launches complex liquefied ammonia barge

Written by Nick Blenkey
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508 ft barge will be operated by a subsidiary of Savage Companies as part of an articulated tug and barge (ATB) unit

JUNE 20, 2017 — Portland, OR-based shipbuilder Vigor recently launched The Harvest, the first complex liquefied ammonia transport barge built in the United States for Jones Act trade since 1982.

The vessel was constructed to support the operations of The Mosaic Company (NYSE:MOS), the world’s leading integrated producer and marketer of concentrated phosphate and potash. The Harvest will be operated by a subsidiary of Savage Companies as part of an articulated tug and barge (ATB) unit. The 139 ft x 44 ft ATB tug unit was built by Nichols Brothers Boat Builders, Whidbey Island, WA, and will connect to the barge via an Articouple hydraulic connecting pin system.

“This is a significant project for both the maritime industry and our community,” says Vigor CEO, Frank Foti. “We’ve worked hard to bring together a family of companies designed to take our complex fabrication capabilities to the next level and bring new work to the Pacific Northwest.”

Over the last 23 months, the project supported approximately 1,500 American jobs and involved close to a million labor hours at Vigor shipyards in Oregon and Washington and subcontractors throughout the region. Teams used 9,000 tons of American rolled steel to complete the 508 ft x 96 ft ATB tank barge.

“The NH3 barge project brings our vision to life,” says Foti. “It combines Vigor’s capabilities in large vessel construction with decades of experience building complex structures like nuclear containment devices, dam lift gates and bridges. It’s proof that the industrial artisans who are a huge part of the Portland and SW Washington economies are the reason we are nationally competitive.”

Successful completion of the first U.S. flagged liquefied gas carrier built in decades hinged on extensive project planning and management between Vigor, multiple contractors, designers and its customer, Savage. Careful integration of various complex systems was required to support the Harvest’s state-of-the-art, onboard re-liquefaction plant that keeps cargo cooled to -27 degrees Fahrenheit. Vigor subcontractor JH Kelly, based in Longview, WA, was a key partner in this effort, providing the onboard electrical work as well as fabrication and installation of the cargo piping systems for the plant.

Built to the highest ABS (American Bureau of Shipping) and U.S. Coast Guard safety standards, the first-in-class Harvest was completed on an aggressive timeline.

“It was an honor to partner with Savage and Mosaic on this project,” says Joe Corvelli, Vigor SVP and Program Manager. “It was their close collaboration throughout the vessel construction that helped maintain an efficient and well-executed build.”

Savage, a leading supply chain solutions company, has been steadily increasing its footprint in the marine industry.

“We chose Vigor for this project following an extensive search. Their unique capabilities combined with our shared commitment to safety and environmental integrity were key drivers in our decision,” says Kirk Aubry, Savage’s President and CEO. “We’ve been extremely pleased with Vigor’s focus on safety and commitment to quality throughout the construction process. We look forward to operating the ATB and providing transportation services to support this critical link in Mosaic’s supply chain.”

Principal Characteristics
Length: 508 ft
Beam: 96 ft
Depth: 51 ft
Draft (Full Load): 26.6 ft
Cargo Tank Capacity: 22,000 ST @ 96%
Cargo Tank: Type A Prismatic Tank, (4)
Cargo: Refrigerated Liquid NH3 carried at –27 degrees F
Onboard re-liquefaction system for cargo maintenance
GENSETS: 4 x 940kW, 1 x 163 kW
Fuel Storage Capacity: 27,250 Gal
Articouple Connection System
USCG and ABS approved Ballast Water Treatment System


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