under an agreement recently signed with the Interlake Steamship Company, Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding is to construct the first U.S.-flagged Great Lakes bulk carrier to be built in more than 35 years
The new 28,000 dwt River-Class self-unloading bulk carrier will measure 639 feet in length with a beam of 78 ft. Delivery is scheduled for mid-2022.
The Interlake Steamship Company, headquartered in Middleburg Heights, Ohio, operates the largest privately held U.S.-flag fleet on the Great Lakes, with nine vessels carrying bulk cargoes and a rich history dating more than 100 years.
“When we approached a historic project of this magnitude – building our company’s first ship since 1981 – we knew it was critical to choose the right partners. Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding is the shipyard that has the experience and skill to execute on our long-term vision,” says Interlake President Mark W. Barker. “We’ve had a long and positive relationship of partnering with Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding as we have modernized and reinvested heavily in our fleet. They have skillfully handled four repowers, five exhaust gas scrubber installations, as well as regular maintenance and regulatory dry-dockings on our vessels.”
The new vessel is being built as the result of listening to and addressing the logistics needs of Interlake’s customers and is being jointly designed by Interlake, Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding and Bay Engineering, incorporating advanced vessel and unloading systems automation.
“We are excited to construct this historic large-scale bulk carrier on the Great Lakes for Great Lakes operation,” says Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding’s Vice President and General Manager Todd Thayse. “We are very proud of our long-term relationship with Interlake, and we appreciate their continued confidence in our shipyard and in our shipbuilding team.”
Major partners for the project include: American Bureau of Shipping (ABS); Bay Engineering (BEI); EMD Engines; Caterpillar; EMSTech, Inc.; Lufkin (a GE Company) and MacGregor.
The new self-unloading bulker has a unique cargo hold arrangement and cargo hatch covers designed for maximum cubic space and the ability to handle difficult cargoes.
The vessel incorporates a flap rudder as well as bow and stern thrusters for high-level maneuverability.
All aspects of the vessel have been looked at to ensure that it will have a low environmental impact on the Great Lakes and on those who work aboard. The hull has been optimized for efficiency and all systems have been designed to ensure low energy consumption.
The vessel is expected to have a top speed in excess of 15 m.p.h. and will be powered by two EPA Tier 4 and IMO Tier III certified sixteen-cylinder Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD) diesel engines delivering 7,800 shaft horsepower. It will be propelled by a single-screw, 18’ diameter, Kongsberg, controllable pitch propeller.
Electrical power requirements will be met by one 940 kW ship service diesel generator, two 2500 kW shaft generators and one 274 kW emergency generator.