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Huge Vessel Heads Upriver
Posted on Jul 9th, 2019

Photo Tom Folger folgerstudios.com
Towboats M/V Sea Bull and  M/V Sea Cat were seen churning up the river on Sunday, July 7 pushing a barge holding a huge pressure vessel. This vessel is part of the new fractionator unit being built at the Phillips66 refinery in Old Ocean. Many were surprised to see it moving upriver on a summer Sunday, including Phillips management. They have informed the contractor and all personnel associated with the project that Phillips' policy to voluntarily restrict product shipments on summer weekends applies to all barge traffic of any kind. Plant management has reaffirmed its commitment to safety on the river and requests that any further concerns be brought to their immediate attention.
Four days later on Fri Jul 11th, another payload of a huge Phillips66 refinery fractionator unit was seen heading upriver being pushed and pulled by the same towboats.
The towboats are owned by Garber Bros, Inc. based in Morgan City, LA. Both towboats are powered by two engines each. The Sea Cat has a couple of 900-hp Detroit V1271 NA engines and the Sea Bull has two 1,200-hp Cummins KTA19M3 engines.
<< Fishermen sitting on the docks at the FM 521 boat ramp watch as the towboats skillfully navigate under the bridge.
Word of caution for river boaters:  Working vessels look slow but they move faster than most people realize. At a speed of a seven-minute mile, it can take almost two miles for a towboat to come to a complete stop. If wake boarding or jet skiing near a barge and you fall into the water, there might not be enough time to swim out of the towboat’s path. The results could very well be fatal. 
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