Jake Shearer (barge) separated from its tug near Goose Island


How long has the pin technology been available? Old technology isn’t phased out overnight.


yes, in the US shipping regulations are written with the vessel owner in mind first and the ATB concept is one which is in place to benefit the owner by offering approximate ship performance with a significantly reduced manning cost since the manning level is determined by the tug’s tonnage and not the combined unit. I would hope that the USCG might someday revisit their manning requirements to both increase an ATB’s manning levels and to lower a small ship’s (<10000grt) manning to bring the two closer together. Then you might actually begin to see fewer ATBs built and more small ships. I feel that the owners would be very glad to be rid of the added costs to build an ATB over a small ship and like the better performance without the potential of losing a tow in a bad place.

now why ATBs are not in widespread use worldwide is that the regulations in other nations are such that there is not such as savings in manning as in the US. also, the ATB concept is not great at all but they do work. I know of no casualty involving an ATB in the US resulting in significant pollution specifically because of the fact the unit was of an ATB type although we came extremely close to having one in this recent loss of the tow off the BC Coast. Harley just got very, very lucky in this instance and if the barge had grounded and spilled its load, you might see a huge cry to ban them because of their weak link in the connection arrangements.

lastly, the tug you showed is not an ATB at all but just a tug pushing ahead which is used all over the planet including the US. There is no mechanical connect between the two vessels, only lines.


Yes I’m aware of and agree with All you are saying.
BTW; I’m fully aware of the difference between an ATB and a Pusher tug. I just couldn’t find any picture of a Korean ATB hopper barge I have seen for years operating in Singapore waters.

The picture was in refr. to the text just above.


With reduced manning such accidents are a hazard of running ATB’s as coastal and deep sea vessels.


They were running a 3 watch system on that Tug 4 on 8 off which is the same watch schedule as Ships. So, in this case I don’t believe the manning level is to blame. Now if they did not have the Bridge Alarm working then that’s a problem for them.


Previous thread on Harley ATB


Yes, it is because of the Stewart that we can no longer transit inside. One of the main contributors is also the fact that there is NO working ballast system, only fixed (fresh water in the voids) ballast. When you are loaded you are at the extremist of the pin ladder. You have NO chance of recovering, just being bounced out. You should be in the “meat” of the ladder so you can push the friction “F” pads out and recover. Kind of hard to do when you are at the top with nowhere to go but out.
Designed by a bunch of harbor / bunker boys Franco promoted with NO offshore competency.
People can speculate all they want, but some people with years of experience were actually there.


I have heard similar things —- NO Coastwise Towing experience in management (except for now retired Larry, who had no ATB experience) —— so many times that there must be some truth to it.

I don’t hear much good news about their ATBs.