M/V The James R. Barker, built by American Ship Building Company in Lorain, Ohio, was the first vessel of its size class to be built entirely on the Great Lakes. Her self-unloading system, which consists of a 250-foot boom and three cargo hold belts, can discharge a cargo in about eight hours. The James R. Barker was given that name in honor of Interlake’s board chairman. The vessel has consistently been a part of the fleet of Interlake Steamship.
The Self Discharging Bulk Carrier JAMES R BARKER (IMO: 7390260, MMSI 366905890) is 46 years old and is now flying the flag of the United States (USA).
The American Ship Building Co., Lorain, Ohio, constructed Hull #905 in 1976, the third thousand-footer in the lakes fleet. She was the first vessel of 1,000 feet constructed for the Interlake Steamship Co. and the first vessel of 1,000 feet constructed wholly on the Lakes. A thousand footer that had all of its rooms in a five story superstructure at the stern served as the model for the ten 1000 footers built after her, among other firsts. It’s noteworthy to note that the initial plan planned for the vessel to be constructed with the customary pilot house ahead and engine room at the stern.
Her keel was laid on October 14, 1974, and on May 29, 1976, her float was launched. On July 31, 1976, she underwent sea testing, and on August 7, 1976, she was christened. Under Title XI of the Merchant Marine Act of 1970, she was constructed for more than $43 million.
Two Fairbanks Morse Engine Division of Colt Industries, Beloit, WI, V-16 cylinder, four stroke cycle, single acting, turbocharged Colt-Pielstick PC2V diesel engines that produce 8,000 bhp each are used to power the ship. These engines drive two Bird-Johnson controllable pitch, stainless steel, four bladed propellers that measure 17 feet, 6 inches in diameter through a Falk reversing gear box.
15.75 knots is her rated service speed (18 mph). One other piece of equipment is a 1500 horsepower Bird-Johnson bow thruster. At a draft of 28 feet, the rated load capacity is 59,000 gross tons of iron ore pellets and 52,000 net tons of coal. Her self-unloading rig has a 250 foot boom and can discharge 6,000 net tons of coal per hour and 10,000 long tons of taconite pellets per hour from a three row hopper/belt system.
The 242’loa wooden steamship the V.H., Interlake’s first bulk carrier, was used to compare unloading rates. The 1874-built Ketchum, which was added to the fleet in 1883, had a load capacity of 1700 tons of ore and required over twelve days to unload using wheel barrows.
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Video resource: Duluth Harbor Cam