When you walk through the main fabrication building at Steel America you will find a multitude of different projects in various states – but one unique project currently in production is a custom barge for a long-term customer/partner.

Barges are flat bottomed boats generally used for carrying/transporting freight, but this custom barge is extremely distinctive in its sheer size, configurations, and plans for use. When completed, the barge will be 180’ x 59’ x 10’ and will weigh roughly 604-tons. This spud barge will be built to American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) standards and will be an official ABS Classed Vessel.

Steel America’s Marine TraveLift

Two things that make this barge so special, are the interior design and planned usage. The vessel has specially designed longitudinal bulkheads and girders to accommodate three (3) extremely different heavy lift cranes. Upon completion it will serve as a floating platform for an American 11320 crane, with the capability of supporting a 750-ton crawler crane or a Manitowoc 4100 Ringer. In addition to the special interior design, the barge will feature flexi-float connectors to allow the final customer to attach additional flexi-float barges to increase stability and buoyancy during a heavy lift pick. The barge has also been designed to have bulkier/bigger stiffeners and material in the aft of the vessel – this will help withstand a heavier load and not compromise the stability of the vessel. Listing (leaning to one side or another as a result of unbalanced weight and cargo) is a very real danger when it comes to heavy crane lifts, this heavier aft and specialty design will offset the risk of damaging the load, crane, or barge as a whole.

The fabrication team will build the barge in five (5) modules in the main shop and then transport the modules over to our 360,000 square foot assembly area (West Yard) for final assembly and launch using the 1,000MT TraveLift (more on our TraveLift’s capabilities here).

This barge will serve as a tool to help the waterfront community adapt to heavy construction in Hampton Roads. With expansions and upgrades coming to the ports and local shipyards, the Hampton Roads area will soon become a focal point for heavy construction along the Eastern seaboard.