UPSCO Launches Hull Number 001 — A 120-Foot Tug For An ITB
The Upper Peninsula Shipbuilding Co. (UPSCO) in Ontonagon, Mich., recently launched its first vessel to be built under contract.
Hull No. 001—a 1,053-ton tug for an integrated tug-barge (ITB) system—is being built, along with four barges, for the State of Michigan. It was the first commercial launching at the 16- month-old yard.
UPSCO used its 2,167-LT floating drydock for the launch. The drydock, which is equipped with removable wing walls for side transfers, was designed and built by the yard — its first newbuilding.
The 120-foot-long tug, designed by the naval architectural firm of Breit & Garcia, New Orleans, La., is undergoing outfitting and completion of its superstructure while moored at UPSCO's dock.
Four rail ferry barges for the ITB system are also being built by the yard, with the first barge s c h e d u l e d f o r completion six months ahead of schedule.
The tug has an automated engine room and is powered by two MAK 6M551, 4,000-hp turbocharged diesel engines which drive Liaaen controllable-pitch propellers. The tug will propel one of the four 436-foot-long rail ferry barges in turn across Lake Michigan, while the remaining three barges are loaded and unloaded in port. The tug and barges, ice-strengthened to permit year-round operation on the Great Lakes, will utilize a connecting system and hydraulic pads manufactured under license from Bretagne ACB.
The State of Michigan selected the ITB system to increase utilization of this cross-lake service and to eliminate a state rail subsidy which exceeds five million dollars annually. The state felt the versatility of the ITB would attract a variety of cargoes as would the unique shuttle schedule.
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