Blog Post 3

Fleet Maintenance by Scott Stewart

Posted by Scott on September 22, 2013

     Because of their efficiency, barges are the primary mode of commercial cargo transportation.  Unfortunately, from time to time, barges break free from their moorings or towing arrangements and are swept down the river, potentially wreaking havoc to the river system until they are either corralled by assisting towing vessels or salvaged (if the barges have sunk).  There are two primary locations where barge break-aways occur: either at a fleeting facility or from a towing vessel underway.

     Many factors can contribute to a barge break-away that originates from a fleeting area, such as impact from large items floating downriver, high winds and current, rapid changes in water levels or human error.  Break-aways may also occur when other barges hit a fleeting area.

     I would like to stress the importance of properly maintaining the fleet in order to prevent barge break-aways.  It takes everyone's efforts to recognize deficiencies that may occur due to the many forces exerted upon the fleet on a daily bases.  Please don't walk by a problem and assume that all will be fine.  If you see a deficiency, correct it.  Going that extra step will pay off in the long run by preventing exorbitant costs due to damages caused by break-aways.

     Fleet boat crews, physically walk the fleet you are operating twice a day.  Line boats, communicate with the fleet boat crew to be on the same page as to where and how your barges need to be tied off.  Everyone please follow the guidelines laid out for you in the GNOBFA, "Standard of Care & Streamlined Inspection Program" guide book that is on every Carline Vessel. 

Scott Stewart