Blount Boats Inc., Warren, R.I., has been awarded a $9.1 million contract to build a 90’x26’x10’ icebreaker/buoy tender for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
The vessel will be designed by BMT Designers & Planners Inc., Arlington, Va. The new vessel will have a steel hull and an aluminum deckhouse. Cummins will supply the main engines and the vessel will be outfitted with a Melcal deck crane.
The new vessel will replace the 100’x24’, 167-ton J. Millard Tawes, commissioned by the Coast Guard in 1942 as the Barberry, which has been in service for the Maryland DNR since 1972. It is the DNR’s largest vessel. Delivery of the new vessel is scheduled for June 2022.
The J. Millard Tawes currently serves as the primary icebreaker for Crisfield Harbor and Smith Island. Due to the relative safety of its size, additional duties include Smith Island evacuation for the Maryland Emergency Management Agency during hurricanes and other severe weather events. The Tawes also serves as backup for the Coast Guard as an icebreaking vessel for the Port of Salisbury, the second-busiest port in Maryland, handling much of the fuel and dry bulk deliveries for the Eastern Shore.
The Tawes is also a buoy tender with a large carrying capacity that allows it to safely carry over 20,000-lb. deck loads. This capacity allows the Tawes to trans-port large weights up to 900 lbs. that are used to secure buoys in the open waters of the lower Chesapeake Bay and Pocomoke and Tangier sounds.
The replacement vessel to be built by Blount will be capable of placing buoys in very shallow water (4’) without damage to the hull, propellers, or appendages, and returning buoys to their precise locations. The new vessel will also be capable of continuous icebreaking operations (ice 1.5’ thick) with sufficient power in an ABS ice-classed hull to back and ram rafted ice (3’ thick). The state of Maryland requires a fully functional and complete vessel ready for operation in the Chesapeake Bay upon delivery.