Vessel Repair Inc., Port Arthur, Texas, delivered the steel-hulled 100'x34'x10'9" towboat Freedom in June to the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). The boat was designed by Sterling Marine, Fairhope Ala., and has a draft of 9'5". The new towboat has a deadweight tonnage of 479 gt.

TVA is the public entity responsible for power generation in the Tennessee River valley, and the new Tier 4 towboat will be dedicated to supporting public power production. Freedom is reportedly the first Tier 4 towboat commissioned by a government agency and joins the exclusive ranks of just a few Tier 4-powered towboats that navigate the inland waterways, according to TVA officials.

While Freedom initially was envisioned as a triple-screw Tier 3 vessel, Shane Carman, TVA’s manager of river services and CCP facility management, said TVA’s commitment to reducing emissions led them to a groundbreaking decision. Understanding their role as a power producer and their existing use of scrubbers in fossil-fuel-driven plants, TVA opted for twin-screw Tier 4 engines in the Freedom, which aligned with their environmental objectives.

“One of TVA’s core focus areas is environmental stewardship, so when we received our options, we recognized that the 4-tier, twin-screw engine vessel was the more environmentally responsible choice,” Carman said.

Main propulsion comes from two Caterpillar 3512E Tier 4 engines, each generating 1,341 hp. The Cats, supplied by Thompson CAT, are paired with Twin Disc MGX-5600 gears from Sewart Supply. The 5-bladed, 58"×85" propellers were supplied by Sound Propeller Services, Seattle.

Tankage includes 20,300 gals. of freshwater; 4,500 gals. Potable water; 325 gals. Hydraulic oil; 25,500 gals. fuel, and 2,750 gals. Diesel exhaust fluid. Wheelhouse Electronics supplied the electronics suite. The steering system is from RIO Marine and is paired with Twin Disc EC300 single-level controls.

Freedom’s first project took place in Mobile, Ala., in late July, receiving cargo directly from the BBC Virginia.

Ben Hayden is a Maine resident who grew up in the shipyards of northern Massachusetts. He can be reached at (207) 842-5430 and [email protected].

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