I saw a post on a tug boating group on facebook about the L.E. Stewart:
Not a particularly successful vessel in its lifetime but an interesting concept nonetheless. Having piqued my interest, I googled the topic, and obviously found very few examples of anything similar. There was this somewhat futuristic design but not much else:
Obviously as a wire-boat the L.E. Stewart did not impress too many people, but it did make me ask myself why not apply the concept to ATB’s in order to enable a taller superstructure for applications such as containers? Now, I know what you’re thinking, the ITB platform was basically just that, a catamaran with a taller-than-normal-for-its-length superstructure attached to a very large barge, but the ITB tugs were never intended to float on their own and so they never became the “rule-beaters” that ATB’s are today. Say what you want about the L.E. Stewart, it was still a seaworthy boat that was capable of crossing oceans, something an ITB without its barge could never hope of doing. So why then not take a tug like that with a taller (but skinnier) superstructure and mate it to a specially-built barge with some inter-con pins and make the ATB platform applicable to just about any form of ship, containers or otherwise? You would certainly be able to get much more capacity out of a container barge with a taller, but stable, tug than McAllister is looking to get with their upcoming design, which looks sort of pitiful if you ask me:
I just don’t see how that few containers can justify the cost of such an expensive platform when you can get so much more out of a fully-loaded barge behind a wire-boat:
I am much more of a fan of ATB’s than wire-boats but it is undeniable that ATB’s have a long way to go before they achieve the almost universal utilitarianism of wire-boats.