New towboat will be Blessey’s largest.
New Blessey pushboat at Kody Marine

2/1/2004

More pushboats were built in 2003 than in 2002 and if Kody Marine in Harvey, La., is any indication, the numbers might go up again in 2004. 

Kody Marine is building a 120’×34’×12’6” pushboat for Blessey Marine Services Inc., Harahan, La., which is due to be delivered at the end of April, and a pair of 74’×32’×10’9” pushboats for Maryland Marine, Houston. In June 2003, a 74-foot sistership, the Skipjack, was delivered to Maryland Marine. 

When completed, the 120’, four-deck Blessey Marine boat will be the largest in its fleet. It will push “three or four asphalt barges to wherever they need to go, Ohio or the upper Mississippi,” said Mitch Jones, vice president of maintenance and repair for Blessey Marine. 

One advantage the 120-footer will have over other Blessey boats is improved steering. “The longer the boat, the better it steers and it handles better,” said Jones. He also said that they hope the design “will give us a little less draft because of the extra beam.”

Besides being the largest boat in the fleet, the new pushboat will have a couple of firsts for Blessey Marine. In the wheelhouse, a motion sensor will set off an alarm if no movement is detected during a set period of time. 

“It’s called a Pilot House Event Detection Alarm System. If the pilot becomes incapacitated or falls asleep—so there’s no movement in the wheelhouse for a certain period of time—it will set off a local alarm in the pilothouse. If that’s not silenced, it will set off a general alarm for the whole boat,” said Jones. 

And for the first time, a Blessey Marine boat will have a fixed-CO2 firefighting system in the engine room. “It should be a nine-bottle system,” said Bobby D’Aquin, vice president at Kody Marine. 

On deck will be a pair of Patterson 65-ton electric winches. 

For power, the pushboat is getting a pair of Cummins Marine 16-cylinder KTA50-M2s that together put out 3,200 hp. The diesels will be bolted to Reintjes marine gears with 7:1 ratios. The props will be four-bladed, 88”×68” stainless-steel open wheels with shaft brakes. There will be four flanking rudders and two steering rudders. 

To reduce engine noise, there’s mineral-wool insulation throughout the boat and hospital-grade mufflers, which are very quiet, said Jones. 

Cummins Marine diesels seem to be popular at the Kody Marine yard. The two 74-footers for Maryland Marine are also having Cummins iron bolted to the engine beds. Each pushboat will get a pair of 1,000-hp KTA38-M1 diesels. Behind the diesels will be Twin Disc marine gears with 6.18:1 ratios and 78”×53” props on 8” shafts. 

Electrical power on the two pushboats will come from a pair of Cummins Marine 6B5.9-powered 55kw gensets.                 —M. Crowley


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