Blount Boats to build icebreaking buoy tender

Written by Nick Blenkey
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New vessel will have sufficient power in an ABS ice classed hull to back and ram rafted ice (3.0 ft. thick).

Warren, R.I., shipbuilder Blount Boats, Inc. has been awarded a contract to build a 90-foot icebreaker/buoy tender for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. The vessel will be designed by BMT Designers and Planners, Inc. of Arlington, Va.

The new vessel will replace the 100-foot, 167-ton M/V J. Millard Tawes commissioned by the U.S. Coast Guard in 1942 and in service for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources since 1972.

Delivery of the new vessel is scheduled for June 2022.

The J. Millard Tawes serves as the primary icebreaking asset for Crisfield Harbor and Smith Island. Due to the relative safety of its size, additional duties include Smith Island evacuation at the behest of Maryland Emergency Management Agency during severe weather events. The vessel is also a capable buoy tender whose large carrying capacity allows it to safely carry over 20,000 lb deck loads, necessary for large weights up to 900 lb used to secure buoys in the open waters of the Lower Bay, Pocomoke and Tangier Sound.

The replacement vessel awarded to Blount Boats will be capable of placing buoys in very shallow water (4 ft) without damage to the hull, propellers, or appendages, and returning buoys to their precise locations.

The new vessel will also be capable of continuous ice breaking operations (ice 1.5 ft. thick) with sufficient power in an ABS ice classed hull to back and ram rafted ice (3.0 ft. thick).

The State requires a fully functional and complete vessel ready for operation in the Chesapeake Bay upon delivery.

Vessel Characteristics:

  • Length Overall: 90’-0”
  • Length Waterline: 85’-6”
  • Maximum Beam, Molded: 26’-0”
  • Hull Depth, Molded:10’-0”
  • Design Draft: 3’-8’ (4 Max)
  • Displacement, Light: 125 LT
  • Displacement, Full Load: 140LT
  • Hull Construction: Steel
  • Deck House Construction: Aluminum
  • Main Machinery: Cummins
  • Deck Crane: Melcal
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