In the fall of 2013, Curtin Maritime launched our latest full-scale design-build project, converting existing barges to dump scows.
In the fall of 2013, Curtin Maritime embarked on its latest full-scale design-build project involving the conversion of existing barges into dump scows. Founder Martin Curtin and Chief Engineer Jason Burcombe spearheaded the identification of suitable barges for conversion and initiated the design engineering process. Collaborating with Curtin’s design partners, Jensen Maritime in Seattle, a meticulous conversion plan and assembly sequence was developed.
The barges underwent a substantial transformation, with 100% scantling and over 65% new steel per vessel. To underscore the extent of the modifications, DNV/GL classified the barges as “new” and updated their build dates. A key strategic element of the build plan aimed at minimizing shipyard time, resulting in the division of the assembly into two phases: the in-water phase and the out-of-water phase. Over 1.5 million pounds of new steel was assembled into 28 separate modules per barge at Curtin’s Long Beach shipyard. Ten of these modules, comprising the upper hopper and bulwarks, were efficiently installed while the barges remained afloat at the dock. The barges were then transported to Marine Group Boat Works in Chula Vista to commence Phase 2, whereby the barges were meticulously bisected down the centerline by hand and rolled apart. One side remained fixed on blocking while the other was rolled to starboard on a dolly system. This facilitated the installation of the remaining 1.3 million pounds of centerline, hinge, and rake modules. The alignment of components was crucial for hinge operation and proper sealing of the hopper, requiring the use of cranes from above and hydraulic jacks on the underside to guide the modules, including the 56,000 lbs hinge boxes, into place for welding.
Simultaneously, painting, piping, and the completion of the engine and hydraulic systems were meticulously executed. From the initial haul-out of barge one to the launching of barge two, the total shipyard time amounted to a remarkable 10 weeks. This swift and well-sequenced assembly, coupled with the dedication of our hardworking crews, exemplifies the full range of capabilities that Curtin Maritime possesses as a shipyard and marine construction company.