Thursday, August 9, 2012

Oversize tow 8/9/12 (Updated with correction)

Every now and then Adam and I see a boat pushing 25 jumbo barges on the Ohio River. We call it an oversize tow because that's too many barges to go through an Ohio River lock in one cut. We've seen Crounse do it with the Linda Reed, and we've seen AEP do it with the Chuck Zebula, but usually it's an Ingram boat or a boat pushing for Ingram that does it.

Today we happened to see the Vernon C. Smith William E. Porter (see comment below), owned by Amherst Madison but pushing for Ingram, coming upriver with 25 barges. The Matthew T was alongside it but not pushing. We figure it was along to take the 10 empties in the tow through the Robert C. Byrd locks.

Three pictures were taken from bridges. I drove and Adam shot. It's how we do things.

I don't know why companies do this unless it's to (a) test the pushing and maneuvering abilities of their boats and crews, (b) save on fuel  or (c) use only one or one and a half crews instead of two.

Meanwhile, as of this writing at about 9 p.m., the tugboat Mr. Russell is somewhere in the Belleville pool headed my way.

Oversize tow

Adam and I came across a 25-barge tow this afternoon. Photos and more later.

News update 8/9/12

It's been a while, but I'm taking a vacation day today and tomorrow so Adam and I can spend some time together before school starts on Monday.

Here are a few items I found that may prove interesting.


Several years ago, I wrote a piece that the stuff that goes out the power plant stack is not the only pollution problem from burning coal. Sludge left over from the scrubbing process is one, and piles of coal ash are another. The National Geographic has written a piece about coal ash piles, and it includes a view of the Ohio River and a nearby ash pile from space.


Here's a piece about a cap-and-trade program designed to reduce the amount of nitrogen and phosphorous getting into the Ohio River, and thus into the Mississipi River delta, which is suffering from nutrient overload.

A few years ago, I talked with Charles Somerville, now dean of the College of Science at Marshall University, about some research he was doing on the Ohio River. Among other things, we talked about how the amount of fertilizer-based nutrients in the river went up sharply below the mouth of the Scioto River at Portsmouth, Ohio, because of agricultural runoff.

For what it's worth, I remember years go that bags of fertilizer my family bought had three numbers on them, which we referred to as N-P-K, for nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium.


And I see that the tugboat Mr. Russell is headed backdown the Ohio again. The last I saw, it was in the upper part of the Willow Island pool. If anyone gets pictures of it, I would be willing to post them on here, giving proper credit, of course. There's a chance Adam and I will see it tomorrow.