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    Liftboat nears completion having survived Hurricane Katrina

    Yard News // January 30, 2006

    Rodriguez Boat Builders is close to completing C&S Liftboat's new liftboat.

    Work prior to the hurricane saved the liftboat from serious damage.

    Rodriguez Boat Builders in Louisiana in the US has provided Offshore Shipping Online with an interesting insight into the construction of a new liftboat for C&S Liftboats, and the efforts that the yard had to make to protect the semi-completed liftboat, which is now nearing completion, from Hurricance Katrina.

    “We went down and cut 24in holes through the hull into the six major voids and then we opened up the deck plates so that when the water came into the hull the air could escape. This opened 60 per cent of the hull to the atmosphere,” recalled Joey Rodriguez, a director at the yard, of the hurried preparations for last August’s hurricane.

    When Katrina sent a wall of water rushing a half-mile up Bayou LaBatre to surge up and over the yard, Rodriguez’s strategy worked. The 1500 ton liftboat's 12ft deep hull flooded with 5ft of water but the vital parts stayed dry.

    “If it had moved we would have had a major problem,” he explained. Testament to this are the dozen or more shrimp boats, each weighing less than a tenth of the liftboat, that are still not back in the water along the marshy bayou months after the storm.

    While salvors work to get these boats and a small heavily laden freighter back into the water, the Rodriguez crews are hard at work trying to make up for the two-month delivery delay caused by the storm.

    The 145ft x 110ft vessel is scheduled for a preliminary test jack-up in early February.

    Her two 500hp Cummins KTA19 engines will drive the hydraulic pumps that operate 12 hydraulic motors on each of her three 265ft by 105in legs. The motors are capable of lifting the craft plus up to 500 tons of deck load.

    To prevent the huge weight from sinking in the seabed, each leg has a massive 20ft x 40ft pad on the bottom.

    The jacking system is supplied by Hydraquip Corporation of Kenner Louisiana. (

    The vessel will have one 200 ton and one 30 ton fixed base deck cranes. The deck provides a 4in catchment area in the event of any oil leaks. This is created by using 12ft wide steel plate for the hull sides to avoid any horizontal welds and lowering the deck within that dimension.

    The large accommodation superstructure will be capable of housing and feeding up to 42 crew and construction workers. Two Cummins KTA38 M1 engines rated for 1,000hp each at 1,800rom and turning 72in four-bladed propellers will provide main propulsion.

    Electrical demands will be met by a pair of Cummins 6CTA8.3DM engines powering 165kW generators.

    The vessel will be US Coast Guard and ABS classed.


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