Alaska Marine Lines Rail Barges Upgrade Ballast Systems
Two barges, the Anchorage Provider and Whittier Provider, already have the new piping systems installed. The Fairbanks Provider is scheduled for updates in August and the Nana Provider sometime next year. Using a patented rack system, the rail barges transport containers and rail cars from Seattle to Whittier, AK where the rail cars are rolled onto the train tracks.
The ballast systems are a network of valves, pipes and pumps below deck on all Alaska Marine Lines rail barges. The tanks are filled with fresh water to trim the barge before sailing. With six 1,200-ton ballast tanks on each barge, a total weight of 2,400 tons of water is moved between tanks to trim the barge for efficient towing.
Each rail barge is receiving the following services and updates:
- New ballast system, including all valves and actuators. An actuator is an attached electrical motor that allows the valves to be operated and monitored remotely. The operations crews can operate the system from on deck without going into the pump room.
- System modifications to add ballast water treatment systems in the future.
- New wave wall doors to protect the generator.
- Rebuilt valves in the spill containment system with modifications that will allow inspection and repair in the future.
- Removal of excessive hull paint built up by twenty years of paint jobs.
- Removal of generators for complete inspections and replacement of worn parts.
- Fuel tanks cleaned and refurbished.
- Complete recoating of all ballast tanks.
“John has done a great job coordinating these updates, including planning, vendor selection, material logistics and scheduling with operations for maintenance windows to work on the four barges,” says Marine Maintenance Manager David Byrne. “We are known for our exceptionally well-maintained and reliable equipment and these upgrades and renovations allow us to maintain that reputation with our customers.”
In This Issue
Meeting in the Middle
In January, when the Biden administration announced its ban on the future sale of oil and gas leases on federal land, the news understandably ruffled the collective feathers of Alaska’s oil and gas industry.