On Saturday, Sept. 19, Marquette Transportation Co., Paducah, Ky., held a christening ceremony for its new 180'x48'x11'6" towboat, Rick Calhoun, on the Miss. River in New Orleans.

“Large horsepower new construction is rare,” John Paul Eckstein, president and CEO of Marquette, said during the christening ceremony.

Co-designed by Gulf Island Marine Fabricators, Houma, La.; CT Marine, Edgecomb, Maine; and Ships Archtects Inc., Daphne, Ala., and built at Gulf Island, the new towboat’s propulsion package features twin EMD 20-710 G7C Tier 3 diesels, producing a total of 9,200 hp at 900 rpm. The mains are connected to 5-bladed, stainless steel Sound Propeller wheels in Kort nozzles through Lufkin RHS3200HG marine gears. The package gives the steel-hulled Rick Calhoun a running speed of 8 knots.

Marquette is pleased with the job Gulf Island did on the new towboat. “We signed the contract in July 2014 and took delivery in August 2015,” Joshua D. Esper, Marquette’s senior vice president, told those in attendance. “Actual construction was less than a year.”

Capacities include 136,000 gals. of fuel; 31,500 gals. potable water; and 1,600 gals. lube oil.

Significant supplementary equipment includes a Furuno electronics suite, deck winches from Patterson (BC-40) and Nabrico (DF156-60-11), CO2 fire suppression system from Herbert Hiller, fire alarm system from Honeywell’s Fire Lite (MS-4) and Carrier air conditioner.

The Rick Calhoun, which has a steering system by EMI, is the first towboat in 37 years named for someone who is not a member of the Eckstein family. Calhoun is president of Cargo Carriers, Wayzata, Minn., a subsidiary of Minnetonka, Minn.-based Cargill Inc., and in charge of Cargill’s barge and marine operations in North America.

“It’s the first time [the Ecksteins] reached out of the family to name a boat,” the new vessel’s namesake said during his remarks. “It’s an honor. It’s humbling, really.”

Ship’s service power comes from two John Deere-powered gensets, sparking 222 kW of electrical power each.

Gulf Island has two sisterships to the Rick Calhoun currently under construction — the second is due out in February 2016 and the third in August 2016. The only difference is that the third boat will feature Reintjes reduction gears instead of Lufkin.

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.