Main Iron Works, Houma, La., is building four new 2,680-hp inland towboats for Kirby Inland Marine. Work on the 88'x35'x12'2" vessels has begun and delivery is scheduled for August, October, and December 2018, Main Iron said in announcing the contract. Three of the new boats have been named — Bailey (hull 461), Bowie (hull 462) and Cochran (hull 463).

Designed by Sterling Marine with 9' drafts, the vessels will be twin propeller 2,680-hp conventional towboats. The boats will be used in the transportation of a variety of petrochemicals, refined products, oils and liquid fertilizers.

Main propulsion will be the responsibility of twin Caterpillar 3512C-HD diesel engines, producing 1,340 hp at 1,600 rpm each. The Cats turn the props through Twin Disc MG-5600 marine gears with 6.04:1 reduction ratios and shaft braking system.

Ship’s service power will come from two John Deere-powered gensets, sparking 99 kW of electrical power each. Rio marine electric/hydraulic control system, and electric over hydraulic redundant steering systems main and flanking will be installed.

Capacities include 40,434 gals. of fuel; 8,000 gals. potable water; and 800 gals. lube and gear oil. The new boats will feature accommodations for eight crew/passengers.

On deck will be a Rawson Koenig deck crane, two 40-ton Nabrico hydra electric deck winches, and a car puller capstan system.

The electronics suite will feature two Furuno 2117 BB/AC 12-kW radars with 19" flat screen monitors, FA 150 with GPS ANT, BR500 bridge navigational watch alarm system, LH3000 loudhailer and sonic weather sensor, RD33 data display/GP33 GPS receiver and 235 DT transducer, twin Standard GX5500S VHF radios, Jotron CIS 3000 command intercom with talk back/Dehart RZ630 swing meter, and Richie HE 845 magnetic compass.

Kirby’s service area spans the U.S. inland waterway network including the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, the Mississippi, Illinois and Ohio rivers, and other waterways. Kirby currently operates 998 inland tank barges and 302 towboats.

Cenac Towing Co., also of Houma, acquired Main Iron Works in 2015.


Ken Hocke has been the senior editor of WorkBoat since 1999. He was the associate editor of WorkBoat from 1997 to 1999. Prior to that, he was the editor of the Daily Shipping Guide, a transportation daily in New Orleans. He has written for other publications including The Times-Picayune. He graduated from Louisiana State University with an arts and sciences degree, with a concentration in English, in 1978.