Saturday 11 May 2013

River Barge WICOMICO

If the rust and rugged worn-out look, so perfectly shown in my friend Jim's photo taken recently in Salisbury, Maryland is any indication, one might believe the end of the line maybe near for the river barge WICOMICO. Now let's not jump the gun here because on that day, the rake bow  WICOMICO was actually just sitting easy banking rays while a large hydraulic excavator being careful not to put a hole in her, gingerly scooped out a load of stone from her deep hold and onto a nearby conveyor. From there the stone is piled on the dock and ready for use in construction, road repairs or other applications in and around this Delmarva Peninsula community.
Unfortunately, unlike so many other ships that I have researched in this blog, there's not a lot of background information about barges like when or where they were built, who owns them, or how big are they? I did read in an article in the Salisbury Daily Times, which said hopper barges like the WICOMICO can be as long as 285 feet and 54 feet wide and according to the Delmarva Water Transportation Committee,  one fully loaded barge carries the same amount as 150 tractor-trailers. Also over two thousand of these large trucks would be needed per day or over one hundred thousand annually to transport the same products. Now that's a lot of wear and tear on area highways, not to mention the environment impact and safety aspect of having all those trucks on the road. Definitely something for everyone to think and talk about, but when push comes to shove, it's off to another market along the Wicomico River for the barge WICOMICO, leading the way for the pushboat at her stern and continuing to make herself a useful cost effective dry cargo vessel for her owner and the communities that appreciate the services she provides. A lot like life in general for all of us, eh?

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