Bender Shipbuilding & Repair (Mobile, Alabama) announced that it has signed a contract with Maritrans, a U.S. flag marine petroleum transportation company, to build three new articulated tug-barge (ATB) units, each having a carrying capacity of 335,000 barrels. Each barge will be connected to a 12,000 hp tugboat utilizing the latest version of the Intercon connection system. Tom Bender, Chief Executive Officer of Bender Shipbuilding, believes that this type of ATB Unit will establish a new industry benchmark for capacity and performance for years to come.
The units are being designed by Ocean Tug and Barge Engineering. The design will incorporate several innovations in ATB design including the largest Intercon coupler system, heavy fuel capability, shutter rudders and double hull fuel tanks. The barge features include a 2,200 hp bow thruster, electric deepwell pumps, inert gas system, crude oil wash system and remotely actuated valves.
Construction of the three new vessels will take place at both the Bender Shipbuilding facility in Mobile and at their affiliated company, the Tampa Bay Shipbuilding & Repair Company (Tampa, Florida). Maritrans estimates that the total cost of construction, including owner furnished equipment, will be approximately $77.5 million for each tug-barge unit. Bender Shipbuilding expects to deliver the first unit in October of 2007, with the remaining two vessels expected to be delivered seven months apart in May and December of 2008, respectively.