Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Pushin' Six

It's kinda hard to tell from the photo but this boat is pushing six big dry bulk barges...and a Steermaster. The steermaster is the little short barge in the very front. The steermaster gives the captain quite a bit of extra control as it gives him the capacity for being able to have steering capability at the front of the tow as well as the back...very handy when you have big loads, narrow channels, high crosswinds and other difficult conditions.

The name of the boat is "Safety First" and she's owned by AEP. Yep, that's right, the same AEP that has the electric lines going into our houses. AEP got into the towboat/barge business years ago to bring coal to their coal burning power generation plants. Originally they pretty much just operated on the big rivers back east. From the Ohio river, they could access the coal mines of Kentucky and West Virginia. Their fleet has grown over the years and they now have one of the (if not THE) largest barge transport operations in the country. The last report I read said that coal accounted for only 30% of their cargoes now...they haul for hire and specialize in dry bulk...cement, minerals, even grain. Most of their operations are still on the big rivers but you see a few of their boats down here from time to time.

Konica-Minolta 28-75/2.8


Paula said...

I enjoyed this entry, it is very interesting.

John Ownby said...

I've never lived near the water, but the work of towboat/tug's has always amazed me. The engines in these boats must be really substantial to do the work they do.

Wendy said...

I love it when you posts post like this! I love learning about the tugs, barges and such! Something I have no clue about! Still can't believe he's pushing 6, Wow! Fred was out in the bay last week. Said he had to ride the barge with his rig, took 4 hours, one way, ugh! He likes it when he gets to ride the crew boat but then he has to wait for the barge with the rig anyways but at least he can go eat.

shutterflycutie said...

How do you know so much? Are you retired or something? Love it like Wendy, I think I know more now than I did growing up with the boys on the waterfront!