Thursday, January 17, 2013

Tarpon makes a side trip

 1. Tarpon makes a bow wave as it ambles across the harbour.

The tug Tarpon arrived at Imperial Oil yesterday with its barge Potomac and berthed at Number 4 dock. This morning the tug exited the barge notch and made its way across the harbour to the Svitzer Canada (ECTUG) dock.
The tug was built in 1974 by the prolific McDermott yard in Morgan City, LA as Miriam M. Defelice for Defelice Marine Towing of New Orleans. That company was taken over by Gulf, then Zapata, then Tidewater, and the tug was sold in 1986 to Morania Oil Tanker Corp and renamed Morania No.1. When Morania was merged into Penn Maritime (they had common owners) it is reported that the tug was renamed Penn No.1 for a time. However this change must have been short lived, for all documentation that I can find, such as the USCG and Lloyds says that it became Tarpon in 1993. A sister tug, Morania No.2 did become Penn No.2, and kept the name.
In 2005 the tug was fitted with a JAK coupler system, and the barge Potomac was rebuilt to double hull, and its shallow notch was modified to a deep notch, with JAK fittings. The barge has a capacity of 79,000 bbls of cargo - usually asphalt or heavy black oil.
2. The tug slows as it approaches the dock. Note the array of ladders for reaching the deck of the barge.

The tug is rated at 4300 bhp, from two V-12 GM EMD engines (12-645-E) driving two open fixed pitch props. The tug still carries its large towing winch and can tow the barge if needed, but normally operates in the notch.
The purpose of the visit to the ECTUG dock is the same as that of several fleetmates, and that is to take on water and some stores. This is not possible at Imperial Oil due to the configuration of the jetty. Alsao if some minor repairs require hot work, that is also forbidden at the oil dock.
Penn Maritime Inc was taken over by the Kirby Corp in December of 2012, but so far the tugs have not been renamed or changed colours..  
3. The JAK couplers are built out from the hull in special housings, and are retracted to disconnect from the barge. An emergency tow line leads aft to the tug's winch. It appears not to have been used recently.

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