Main Iron completes first in trio of new Kirby towboats

Main Iron Works, Houma, La., recently completed the first in a series of three Subchapter M-certified 2,680-hp towboats for Kirby Inland Marine, Houston.

The 88’x35’x9’Bailey is powered by a pair of Caterpillar 3512C-HD diesel engines, turning 1,340 hp at 1,600 rpm each through Twin Disc MG-5600 gears with 6.04:1 reduction ratios and a shaft braking system. Ship’s service power is provided by two John Deere 99-kW gensets.

A Rio marine electric/hydraulic control system, and electric over hydraulic redundant steering systems for main and flanking were also installed. Tank capacities are 40,343 gals. fuel, 8,000 gals. potable water, and 800 gals. lube and gear oil.

There are accommodations for up to eight crew or passengers. Deck equipment includes a Rawson Koenig deck crane, two 40-ton Nabrico Hydra electric deck winches, and a car puller capstan system.

In the wheelhouse is an electronics suite featuring two Furuno 2117 BB/AC 12-kW radars with 19” flat screen monitors, a FA-150 AIS transponder with GPS, BR500 bridge navigational watch alarm system, LH3000 loudhailer, RD33 data display/GP33 GPS receiver and a 235 DT transducer. Other electronics include two Standard GX5500S VHF radios, a Jotron CIS 3000 command intercom with talk back and Dehart RZ630 swing meter, and a Richie HE 845 magnetic compass.

“It is a pleasure working with Main Iron Works on the construction of one of the first Subchapter M towboats being built,” John Sansing, senior vice president of maintenance for Kirby, said in a prepared statement. “We appreciate Main Iron Works’ professionalism and work ethic.”

One of the nation’s largest tank barge operators, Kirby has about 1,000 inland tank barges and 300 towboats that are used to transport a variety of petrochemicals, refined products, oils and liquid fertilizers along the U.S. inland waterway network, including the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, the Mississippi, Illinois and Ohio rivers, and other smaller waterways.

Main Iron’s president, Arlen ‘Benny’ Cenac Jr., thanked Kirby for the opportunity to work on the three-vessel contract.

“In this economy, it is important to keep industry jobs on a local level and Cenac Marine and Main Iron Works are honored to have a part in that,” said Cenac.

About the author

Kirk Moore

Associate Editor Kirk Moore was a reporter for the Asbury Park Press for over 30 years before joining WorkBoat in 2015. He wrote several award-winning stories on marine, environmental, coastal and military issues that helped drive federal and state government policy changes. He has also been a field editor for WorkBoat’s sister publication, National Fisherman, for almost 25 years. Moore was awarded the Online News Association 2011 Knight Award for Public Service for the “Barnegat Bay Under Stress,” 2010 series that led to the New Jersey state government’s restoration plan. He lives in West Creek, N.J.

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