New ATB for BC’s Island Tug & Barge

Island Tug & Barge Ltd., Vancouver, British Columbia, (not to be confused with Seattle-based Island Tug & Barge) has begun regular runs of the Island Trader, its new articulated tug-barge (ATB), between Vancouver and Puget Sound. 

With a capacity of 65,000 bbls., the 368’×69’ Island Trader is the largest Canadian oil tank barge on the West Coast, almost twice as large as the second biggest, the ITB 38, which carries 38,000 bbls. “This is our first articulated pin barge,” said Capt. Bob Shields, Island Tug’s president. “We’ve never had a barge large enough for a full pin system.”

Built in Shanghai, China, at Jinling Shipyards, the double-hull barge is an IMO-compliant, Transport Canada Class A and ABS A1 oil tank barge built with 12 separate cargo tanks. It is expandable to 75,000 bbls. It has four independent centrifugal pumps with a combined capability of 16,800 bbls. per hour.  It was designed and built to ice-strengthened Arctic Class A1 and has a draft shallow enough to operate in the Beaufort Sea. The barge can also pass through the Great Lakes waterway’s locks and canals.

The Island Trader arrived in Vancouver from China late last year pushed by the Island Monarch, a 136’×32’, 3,000-hp tug.  In the process, the Island Trader and Monarch became the first Intercon C-series ATB and the first Intercon ATB to cross the Pacific Ocean.

The Island Monarch was built in 1966 and rebuilt in 1995. Pins for the Intercon system were added in 2003 after extensive work to convert it to the pin-coupling system, including extensive tank testing at the BC Research towing tank. The coupling system work took place at Allied Shipbuilders Ltd., Vancouver, with some electrical and machinery work performed at Island Tug’s facilities.

Work at Allied included not only the installation of the Intercon pins, but the addition of Nautican triple rudders, modification of the propellers and widening of the upper wheelhouse. The electronics were also changed so the vessel could be used worldwide.

Crossing the Pacific provided a lengthy sea trial for the ATB.  Shields said that the Intercon system “worked great. It acted just like a ship.”

He said Nautican rudders were installed to enable the tug, with her relatively low horsepower, to turn the barge safely and quickly. The triple rudders were extremely useful when bringing the Island Trader down the extremely crowded Wangpu River in China and in keeping the ATB on course while crossing the Pacific Ocean.                          —Chris Martin

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