Final commissioning of the second double-hulled oil recovery barge in the series for Eastern Canada Response Corporation (ECRC) was completed earlier this year. The first one in the series, designed by Capilano Maritime, was launched in May 2017. The 61-metre barges are used in oil spill response events for the collection of recovered oil.
In 2015, ECRC hired Allswater Naval Architects & Engineers of Halifax, Nova Scotia to act as Owner’s Representative and assist with issuing an RFP and Technical Specification for two new oil recovery barges. The successful bidder was Ocean Industries Inc. (Ocean) of Quebec City, Quebec. Capilano Maritime Design Ltd. (CMDL) of North Vancouver, B.C. provided concept and detailed design services to Ocean as part of the Design-Build team. Ocean was awarded a contract in early 2016 and steel was cut for the first barge in July 2016.
ECRC is certified by Transport Canada – Marine Safety as a Response Organization under the Canada Shipping Act. As a certified Response Organization, ECRC provides oil spill response arrangements to ships and oil-handling facilities. ECRC’s headquarters are located on Ottawa, Ontario with staffed Response Centres at Corunna, Ontario; Vercheres, Quebec; Quebec City, Quebec; Sept-Iles, Quebec; Dartmouth, Nova Scotia; and St. John’s, Newfoundland. ECRC provides coverage for almost all navigable waters in Canada east of the Rocky Mountains. This includes inland rivers and lakes as well as the entire East Coast of Canada south of 60 degrees latitude. Operations are broken down into three regions: Great Lakes, Quebec, and Atlantic. ECRC-SIMEC 300 will be stationed at Quebec City and ECRC-SIMEC 400 will be stationed at St. John’s.
The barges will be used for the storage and transport of recovered product. The product can be transferred from primary storage units to the barge by portable pumps or collected directly by oil spill response equipment deployed from the barge. The barge will be manned during oil spill response activities. The barge will always have a suitable tug secured to it while personnel are on the barge. The barge will transport recovered product from the spill site to a shore-side facility, or transfer the product to another vessel alongside. All discharging will be completed using portable, hydraulically driven pumps on the barge, pumping to the facility or other vessel. The barges are designed and certified for unrestricted navigation servicing the offshore and near-shore marine sectors. The barges carry a load line and can transport oil product internationally if required.
ECRC desired to have a barge design to transport 2,000 cubic metres of recovered oil at a density of up to 1,000 kg/m3. CMDL designed a relatively wide and shallow barge hull form to minimize windage area for a vessel that spends most of its life unloaded in a lightship or ballast condition. The chosen hull proportions also provide a large deck area for layout of equipment and ISO storage containers while still providing lots of space for oil spill response operations. The barge has a light operating draft of less than 1.0 m (3’-3”) allowing it to access shallow waters if necessary. Wing ballast tanks are fitted and when filled provide a light operating draft of 1.32 m (4’-4”).
Early on in the Design-Build contract, ECRC elected to invoke the option to upgrade the structural hull envelope to Bureau Veritas Ice Class 1D. This included increased hull plate thicknesses, additional web frames, and closer longitudinal stiffener spacing throughout the ice-strengthened area at the fore part of the vessel.
The two 61-metre barges were constructed by Ocean at their shipyard facility on L’Isle-aux-Coudres, Quebec and supported by their engineering team located at the headquarters in Quebec City. The Charlevoix Shipyard at l’Isle-aux-Coudres employs more than 100 skilled workers and has extensive newbuild experience in a variety of vessels, but specializes in powerful ship-docking tugs, barges, dredges, and small to medium sized ferries. Ocean has also constructed many of the tugs in their extensive fleet including Canada’s most powerful tug, the 6,000 kW ASD Ocean Tundra. CMDL and Ocean previously worked on the same project together in 2015 during the construction of a 13.5-metre inland push tug, Jessica Coy, for Manitoba Hydro.
Chris Mulder is a principal at Capilano Maritime Design Ltd. and can be reached at email@example.com. Also contributing to the article: Russel Woodman, Owner’s Representative, Allswater; and Dany Boily, Project Manager, Ocean Industries Inc.