Bender Yard Awarded Contract To Re-power Towboat 'Great America' With S.E.M.T. Pielstick Engines

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Walter Todd, president of Great American Boat Company, has announced the signing of a contract with Bender Ship Repair, Inc. of Mobile to do the re-powering work for the towboat Great America.

"We are doing a tremendous amount of work on this vessel," said Mr. Todd. "The original designer would have trouble recognizing it. The vessel had a reputation of having a draft problem but in studying the vessel we found it actually had a trim problem that could not be solved with the existing tank arrangements. To solve the trim problem, we've changed the tanks around completely. The center of gravity of the vessel has been changed with the new machinery, so we will have an excellent vessel operating at an acceptable draft on the Mississippi River," he said.

The new power plant will consist of two S.E.M.T. Pielstick 12PA6V280 diesel engines, which will be operated to produce 3,600 bhp each, driving 117-inch-diameter, stainless steel propellers in new Kort nozzles through Falk model 3548 reverse/reduction gears. The main engines will burn No. 5 heavy fuel, which is approximately 600 Redwood Sec. I. The vessel will carry 80 percent heavy fuel and 20 percent No. 2 diesel fuel. The latter will be used to run the diesel generators and for starting and stopping the Pielstick diesels. Once the main engines are started, they will remain on heavy fuel for all running and maneuvering.

"Our company feels it is necessary for inland waterway operations, where fuel is such a large part of operating costs, to position itself so that in buying our primary energy source for moving the boats we are not competing in tight markets where shortages and high prices will occur," Mr. Todd said.

As a result of the re-powering and based on the current price spread between No. 2 diesel and No. 5 heavy fuels, coupled with the fuel efficiency of the Pielstick engines, the owner estimates fuel savings in the first year of approximately $1 million compared with an average 7,200-bhp towboat on the inland waterways today.

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