Halter Marine Building Diesel-Electric Sternwheeler For 1984 World's Fair

What may be the newest "old" boat in the United States is under construction at Halter Marine's Moss Point, Miss., shipyard.

There, a genuine sternwheeler with all the outward appearances of a paddlewheel riverboat of a bygone era is rising on the banks of the Escatawpa River. Appearances can be deceiving however, as its old time outer shell encloses an ultramodern diesel electric propulsion plant linked to a revolutionary new cost-saving paddle drive system.

In making the announcement, R. J. Shopf, president of Halter Marine, Inc., said the new 1,000- passenger vessel, the Creole Queen, will be 189 feet long with a 40-foot beam and 8-foot depth. Her normal operating draft will be 5 feet 6 inches. She will be powered by three Caterpillar D353 engines coupled to three 300-kw generators.

Together, they will produce 900 kilowatts of electricity for the two 350-horsepower General Electric motors that will turn the paddlewheel.

The Creole Queen is being built for New Orleans Paddlewheels, Inc., who will operate her on the Mississippi River in conjunction with the 1984 Louisiana World's Fair. After the fair she will be berthed permanently at the same site.

"Her design, machinery, equipment, and appointments are a direct result of our own criteria coupled with extensive research and personal visits to nearly every boat of its type in the United States," said Warren Reuther Jr., president of New Orleans Paddlewheels, Inc.

"We wanted a multipurpose boat that could provide unobstructed views of the New Orleans harbor for hundreds of sightseeing passengers, while being able to cater three private parties at the same time," he added. "We have achieved that in the Creole Queen because she has a spacious topside promenade deck which can accommodate up to 125 people, and three separate dining rooms which can host parties of 300, 125, and 100 people simultaneously. Her windows are considerably larger than those on other vessels of her type to facilitate observation and to permit more persons to see through them.

We think the larger windows will really be appreciated during rainy and cold weather." Mr. Reuther said the Creole Queen will also be the first of its type to use diesel-electric propulsion.

"We chose this system because it makes the boat quieter, more fuel-efficient, and vibration free. It also gives us greater safety underway and in docking because of finite controls," he said.

In a diesel electric system the generators feed power into a prefabricated General Electric silicon- controlled rectifier unit (SCR) which converts the AC power into DC power. The power pool thus created is similar to an electrical power plant, from which power can be drawn as required.

The Creole Queen will operate on two of the three generators with the third in reserve as a spare during maintenance or it can be used for additional power.

As the generators are linked to the SCR system, one, two, or three can be utilized as needed in several voltages. The SCR system will also provide power to the boat's 200-hp Schottel bowthruster, as well as supply power for all of the vessel's other electrical power requirements.

The diesel electric system allows finite control of the paddlewheel and bowthruster and eliminates costly clutches, and other expensive components while simplifying machinery requirements.

"The Creole Queen will also utilize a new Halter developed drive system to the paddlewheel which eliminates the possibility of water pollution posed by chain, oil, and hydraulic fluid associated with some other systems," said Mr.

Shopf. "In addition," he added, "it will also eliminate vibration and much of the maintenance required by other methods." A key element in the Halter system are two totally sealed, hightorque planetary gears. One is located on each side of the paddlewheel and is driven by a D.C. motor.

Mr. Shopf said the Halter unit is a significant advance and that the company has applied for patent rights on the system.

Maritime Reporter Magazine, page 58,  Aug 1983

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