The Amelia Ray, a 1,600-hp towboat Rodriquez Shipbuilding delivered to L&L Marine Transportation in June, features a full range of Thordon Bearings oil-free and grease-free bearings designed to reduce a vessel’s lost charter days.

The 65' newbuild is the first vessel in Harvey, La.-based L&L Marine's fleet to be specified with a Thordon Bearings propulsion package at the vessel design stage.

Designed by Entech Designs, Amelia Ray is a twin-screw towboat purpose-built for the transportation of petrochemicals along all inland and coastal waters in the southern U.S.

The towboat is powered by a pair of Mitsubishi S6R2 diesel engines driving Kahlenberg screws through Twin Disc MGX-5321 reduction gears. Two 60-kW Cummins generators provide power to amongst other consumers a Hydra Force LLC electric-over-hydraulic steering system.

With tank capacity to transport 15,000 gals. of petrochemicals, 4,100 gals. potable water, and 500 gals. lube oil, L&L Marine’s new boat is Subchapter M compliant and thus is able to move barges carrying oil or hazardous materials in no discharge areas from St. Marks, Fla., to Rio Grande, Texas, on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway and rivers not more than three miles from shore.

The Amelia Ray, named after the owner’s four-year-old granddaughter, is currently running petrochemical products along the Mississippi and GIWW between Houston and Baton Rouge, La.

L&L Marine has an option on an additional vessel from of Bayou La Batre, Ala.-based Rodriquez Shipbuilding but “we will wait to see how Covid-19 plays out before making the decision,” said LeBoeuf.

Amelia Ray is the fifth vessel in the L&L Marine fleet to be equipped with a complete Thordon propulsion package.

The decision to select Thordon's RiverTough tailshaft bearings, shaft liners, TG100 seals, ThorPlas-Blue rudder bearings, ThorPlas-Blue Self Aligning Bearings (SAB), and SXL thrust washers follows the success of earlier retrofits across L&L Marine’s fleet.

L&L Marine owner Lee LeBoeuf explained that all his vessels now operate with only Thordon bearings due to the “significant operational savings” experienced with the earlier installations. The Harvey, La.-based operator owns a fleet of five vessels.

L&L initially replaced all its rubber tailshaft bearings with Thordon’s RiverTough bearings and shaft liners and found it was able to extend drydocking intervals from three to eight years.

“We then started retrofitting ThorPlas-Blue bearings in the rudder stocks and installing TG100 seals, which reduced operational costs even further as there is less vessel down time and maintenance," L&L Marine owner Lee LeBoeuf said. This means we are more attractive to our customers, more dependable, and more reliable. We can better plan drydock schedules in line with the operational needs of our customers.”

LeBoeuf added that while the cost is more than a conventional tailshaft/propulsion bearing system, the Thordon application aboard Amelia Ray is expected to result in annual operational savings of about $15,000.

“Compared to conventional propulsion and tailshaft bearings, which require regular maintenance, replacement and frequent drydocking, the Thordon system results in threefold reduction in operational costs,” said LeBoeuf.