Saturday 31 October 2015

Tow Boat EMERALD COAST & Tanker Barge VB-38

Another hard working gem that's been sitting in my "2Bdone" folder for far too long is the 71' towboat EMERALD COAST taken here by my good friend Jim Moyer of Salisbury, Maryland. I don't know who said it but I know we can all agree that "life is not a straight line" and so is true of the the twenty-four and a half mile Chesapeake Bay tributary and tidal estuary, the Wicomico River.
According to some towboat skippers, the passage along the Wicomico with its many bends and turns is a nerve racking "sweaty-palms" experience, specially when pushing tanker barges like the EMERALD COAST is doing in all three snaps. Up here in the Great White North, where trucks and trains are mostly used to haul a variety of liquid goods from community to community, clean oil tanker barges like EMERALD COAST's payload, the 292' VB-38 are used to carry over 4 million barrels of petroleum products annually into Salisbury, the State of Maryland's second largest port.
When launched in 1973 at Main Iron Works in Houma, Louisiana,  Jim's  "Little Toot" which he snapped from his canoe, was named MAGGIE SWAN. Currently named after the emerald-green waters along Florida's northern Gulf of Mexico shoreline, the twin screw and flat bowed EMERALD COAST is owned by Dann Marine Towing of Chesapeake City, Maryland.
Meanwhile, the VB-38 which can carry up to 33,000 barrels of clean oil, was built in 1973 in Gulfport Shipyards of Port Arthur, Texas, and when launched the name she was given was INTERSTATE 38. In 1974, she became TEXACO 38, before being re-named INTERSTATE 38 in 1980. In 1983 she became TEXACO 38 again, and like the back and forth channel along the meandering Wicomico, her name was changed back to INTERSTATE 38 in 1988. Finally, when purchased by Vane Brothers of Baltimore, Maryland, she was given her current name, VB38 in 2000. Though she currently remains operational in Vane Brothers' fleet of 45 barges, I'm not 100% certain whether she is double-hulled which effective 2015, is the standard requirement for all petroleum product vessels like previous posted and snapped by Jim, the DOUBLE SKIN 214:
Whether it's repeated name changes, continuous manoeuvres to avoid shallow spots and bends along a river or shipping lane, or for all of us just having to endure life in general, perhaps Forrest Gump's "Mamma" had it all right when she said, "Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna to get." Ain't that the truth!! c);-b

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