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OT&BE to design LNG-fueled Jones Act container AT/B

Written by Nick Blenkey

Minyan view3OCTOBER 7, 2013 — Ocean Tug & Barge Engineering Corp. (OT&BE), of Milford, MA, reports that it has been selected to design a new high speed, LNG-fueled AT/B container carrier for Minyan Marine LLC, of Houston, TX. It will be the world’s first LNG-powered AT/B (articulated tug/barge).

Minyan Marine LLC is planning to operate high speed Jones Act AT/B cellular container carriers between the Gulf Coast and the East and West Coasts.

The LNG-fueled, 15 knot units will also be capable of carrying project cargo as well as oversize loads. It will be based on OT&BE’s Rapid class AT/B design. This class of high speed AT/B was developed jointly with Taisei Engineering, of Tokyo, creators of the Articouple AT/B connection system which will be employed on the new design.

Model testing of the parent form has been completed and vessel design is now under way.

The AT/B’s barge portion will have a capacity of 1,056 TEU, held within cell guides and eliminating the need for costly and time consuming lashing of boxes in port.  

The barge will feature a set of LNG fuel tanks adjacent to the tug notch and will employ a proprietary barge to tug gas fuel transfer system developed by OT&BE client Argent Marine.

The barge will carry enough LNG to provide a round trip capability in gas fuel over the primary intended trade route.

The companion AT/B tug will be a 12,000 bhp Rapid class vessel designed to attain the speed required for the unit and also able to function fully as an ocean towing tug.

“No compromises were made in the design that would preclude her being able to operate without restriction when away from her barge,” says Robert Hill, her designer. “This is not some sort of compromise design created to get added speed. “

The diesel/gas-electric tug will feature a group of four dual-fuel EMD DGB 12-710 variable speed main generator sets and the barge will have a pair of 8 cylinder EMD gensets of the same design.  

In addition each vessel will have smaller diesel fueled generators to provide power in port.  

The EMD gensets will have EcoMarine Propulsion Systems TeraTorq variable speed permanent magnet generators attached, and the propulsion motors on the tug, of 6,000 hp each, will be of EcoMarine manufacture as will the entire propulsion drive power electronics. The control electronics will have Eco’s proprietary TeraTorq Inverter Modules deployed, as will the barge.  

The system will drive the 2,000 hp bow thruster as well as specialized machinery on the barge.  The electric drive system will allow for fuel savings and emissions reductions unparalleled to date in the maring propulsion market and is the most crew-friendly system available.

“You will not need specially trained people to run and maintain this system,” says Robert Hill.

Ocean Tug & Barge Engineering has long experience in the LNG market, having done work in this field for Chevron, Dominion Gas, Cran & Stenning, the Argent Marine/Maersk project, SeaOne Maritime,  Enersea Transportation and Reinauer.

The Minyan Marine design will add to OT&BE’s experience in the AT/B container carrier field. It was recently awarded the design work for the new container AT/B for the McAllister Bros./Maine Ports New England Marine Highway Project  (see earlier story).

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