US-based Eastern Shipbuilding Group has launched a new inland towboat design, the Thunderbolt, aimed at offering better efficiency, performance, manoeuvrability, crew comfort and capacity.

Eastern Shipbuilding has worked with Gilbert Associates for more than a year to develop this new, hybrid, diesel-electric design.

This 36.57m-long and 10.97m-wide inland towboat design has been developed in accordance with ABS Class 2014 rules for building and classing steel vessels for servicing rivers and intracoastal waterways, as well as proposed US Coast Guard 46CFR towing vessel rules and IEEE 45 2002 standards.

The new, 4,200HP Thunderbolt will be equipped with twin azimuthing Verhaar Omega electric V-Pod propulsion and diesel-electric technology.

"Thunderbolt will be equipped with twin azimuthing Verhaar Omega electric V-Pod propulsion and diesel-electric technology."

The Verhaar Omega V-Pods will have 360° rotation and will be able to rotate 180° in approximately 14 seconds. They will be installed from top to avoid emergency dry-docking if a unit is damaged.

For this design, Cummins Mid-South will provide a generator package with three, identical diesel-electric power plants, Cummins QSK38-DM.

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The engines will offer optimal fuel consumption and also power a Cummins AVK DSG- 74 water-cooled generator, which can supply at 990kW, 690VAC at 1,800rpm.

In addition, the power management system for this design will be provided by Beier Radio, while IEM Marine will deliver a switchboard that automatically starts and closes the appropriate main bus generator breakers with load-sharing controllers.

Image: The new inland towboat design from Eastern Shipbuilding, Thunderbolt. Photo: courtesy of Eastern Shipbuilding Group.