Blakeley BoatWorks delivers Tier 4 linehaul towing vessel

Written by Marine Log Staff
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M/V Gretchen V. Cooper

Recently delivered to Cooper Marine and Timberlands (CMT) by Blakeley BoatWorks (BBW), the M/V Gretchen V. Cooper is the first linehaul towing vessel in the U.S. to be powered by Tier 4 Caterpillar high-speed engines with selective catalytic reduction. BBW and CMT are both headquartered in the port of Mobile, Ala., and are wholly owned subsidiaries of Cooper/T. Smith.

The 3,400 horsepower M/V Gretchen V. Cooper is 110-feet long and 33-feet wide and is fully compliant with the latest United States Coast Guard regulatory requirements.

Tier 4 diesel engine emission standards are the strictest set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency emissions requirements for new engines, significantly reducing emissions of particulate matter, or black soot, and nitrogen oxides to near zero levels.

“Our customers expect Blakeley BoatWorks and Cooper Marine & Timberlands to drive industry innovation, and our building and operating one of the industry’s most environmentally friendly tow boats marks our unwavering commitment to always exceed their expectations,” said Angus R. Cooper III, president, Cooper/T. Smith. “Naming a boat after my wife Gretchen meant that we couldn’t just settle for building a standard tow boat and therefore, the M/V Gretchen V. Cooper will be one of the most powerful towing vessels operating on the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway and will lead the way for a new industry standard for reduced emissions on tow boats.”

Cooper Marine & Timberlands operates 20 towing vessels, more than 400 hopper barges, and one of America’s largest fleets of dry bulk gantry and floating derrick cranes. The company’s marine footprint includes the Tennessee-Tombigbee River system, Ohio River, Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, Illinois River, Arkansas River, Cumberland River, Black Warrior River, Tennessee River, Tombigbee River, Mobile River, and Mississippi River.

CMT’s stevedoring operations include two deep-draft bulk cargo terminals in the Port of Mobile and numerous inland marine terminals throughout the states of Alabama and Mississippi.

“The ongoing investments that CMT is making across our fleet best ensures that our customers will continue to receive the safest, most environmentally friendly, and highest level of service in our region,” said James Fowler, Managing Director of Marine & Stevedoring Operations for Cooper Marine and Timberlands and Executive Vice President for Blakeley BoatWorks. “As was true when BBW built some of the nation’s first subchapter M new construction towing vessels and now, as we deliver a new linehaul with the latest and most advanced carbon reduction technology, BBW eagerly stands ready to deliver on our industry’s newest and most challenging jobs.”

Situated on 26 acres in the heart of the port of Mobile and with the capacity to simultaneously service up to 15 towing vessels and barges, Blakeley BoatWorks is a full-service shipyard specializing in small vessel repair, barge repair, and new vessel construction. It is equipped with a 1,900-ton floating dry dock, 660-ton travel lift, and four covered fabrication shops.

“Our team is proud to be part of the construction of the Gretchen V. Cooper,” said Swathin Kannalath, Managing Director of Blakeley BoatWorks. “Delivering one of the first Tier-4 linehaul vessels in the country presented an exciting challenge for the Blakeley team and we delivered with this vessel, meeting not only the highest industry standards but also exceeding our customer’s expectations.”


The towboat is powered by twin Caterpillar C3512E 3,400 HP Tier 4 marine diesel engines operating at 1,800 RPM and coupled to Twin Disc MGX5600 gears. Thompson Caterpillar also supplied two Caterpillar C4.4 Tier III generators with RW Fernstrum, Inc. keel coolers throughout.

A pair of Southeastern Propeller 88- by 74- by 9-inch four-bladed stainless steel propellers provide thrust through two J & S Machine Works, Inc. 9-inch ABS Grade two propeller shafts with Cutlass shaft bearings, Thordon rudder bearings, and Kemel shaft seals. Gulf Coast Air and Hydraulics supplied the steering system for the two 9-inch main and four 8-inch flanking rudders.

Hydra Force LLC provided a pair of Quincy reciprocating air compressors, with ventilation fans provided by Donovan Marine. Schuyler Maritime LLC supplied varying sizes of rubber fendering around the perimeter of the vessel and push knees.

Stone Construction provided a Mitsubishi mini-split HVAC system in all interior spaces with Blakeley BoatWorks providing all custom woodwork and interior finishes. Bozant supplied aluminum and rubber-framed windows and Donovan Marine supplied a pair of Patterson 40-ton deck winches. Blakeley BoatWorks installed all electronics, communications, and an alarm system.

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