On Friday, this reporter visited
Orange, Texas, to check out Signal
International’s Texas division
newbuild facility, where a pair of 600-foot articulated tug-barges are
Signal is building the $47 million ATBs for Kirby Ocean Transport Co., Houston.
The ATBs are made up of a 20,000-DWT oceangoing bulk barge and
a 6,000-hp ocean tug. The 480’x90’x36’ barges are being outfitted with Ocean Tug & Barge Engineering’s Articouple
connection. OTBE designed the ATBs.
The 125’x42’x22’ tugs, built and classed to ABS Maltese
Cross, +A1 Ocean Towing Service standards, each feature a pair of EMD 12-710G-7 3,000-hp engines. The
engines turn 135”, 3-bladed props in NautiCAN
nozzles through Reintjes WAF-3455
gears with 5.091:1 ratios.
The first ATB barge is being finished in the yard, while
both tugs and the second barge are currently being fabricated under cover. The
Orange facility features 450,000-sq.-ft. of covered area, 20 acres of outside
fabrication area, and 70,000-sq.-ft. of warehouse space. The yard also features
a 385-ton floating crane, panel line equipment, and a Wheelabrator.
Work on the first ATB began in the second quarter last year,
and fabrication of the second ATB began shortly after Kirby exercised the
option for the second unit in August 2011.
The first ATB should be completed early in the fourth
quarter, with the second to follow shortly after.
Check out this video report below that
shows the ATBs underway at Orange: