BY H. NELSON SPENCER
September 11, 2017
JANTRAN, the Rosedale, Miss.-based river transportation component of Bruce Oakley Inc., has taken delivery of a new towboat, the mv. David Choate. Built by Nichols Boat Company in Greenville, Miss., the 3,400 hp. vessel is similar to seven other towboats Nichols Boat Company has constructed for the barge line, dating back to the mv. Dorothy M. Janoush, which Nichols built in 2010.
The new vessel is named for the late vice president-grain and barge operations of Bruce Oakley Inc., David Choate of Judsonia, Ark., who died March 19.
Choate went to work for Bruce Oakley Inc. after graduating from Arkansas State University. He remained there for three years until he and his brother founded Choate Brothers' Feed, which they operated for 16 years. After selling the business, he returned to Oakley as vice president-grain and barge operations. During his tenure, the company became one of the largest privately owned companies in Arkansas and expanded both the grain and barge divisions by over fivefold.
He was a member of the board of directors of the Arkansas-Oklahoma Port Operators Association and National Waterways Conference, and president of the Mid-South Grain Association. He was appointed by the Secretary of Defense to the Inland Waterways Users' Board to advise Congress and the Corps of Engineers on the Inland Waterways Trust Fund.
His namesake vessel, completed August 3, is a closed-wheel boat that measures 114 by 35 by 11 feet, with a draft of 9 feet and a pilothouse eyelevel of 33 feet, 9 inches, as per the design of Joe Janoush, president of JANTRAN. It has Cummins QSK50-M1 Tier 3 marine diesel engines coupled to Reintjes WAF 873L gears with a 7.087:1 ratio from Karl Senner. The wheels, made by Kahlenberg, are 96 by 91 inches. They turn on 9-1/4-inch, grade 1045 CF tailshafts supplied by Mosley Machine Works, with Duramax Cutlass bearings from Paducah Rigging.
Nichols Boat coordinated with Mississippi Marine Corporation, a neighboring shipyard, to install the tailshafts, rudders and propellers.
Providing ship’s power on the David Choate are two 99 kw. Marathon generators connected to John Deere 6068 diesels from Engines Inc. The main and auxiliary engines are cooled by Fernstrum Gridcoolers. M&I Electric installed the engine alarm system. Custom Hydraulic Components provided the electro-hydraulic steering system.
The hull has tankage for 52,000 gallons of fuel, 9,200 gallons of potable water, 12,000 gallons of ballast water, 8,000 gallons of wash water, 4,200 gallons of slop oil, and 1,200 gallons each of lube oil and gear oil. The hull is protected by Schuyler fendering.
There are six staterooms, plus 5-1/2 baths, for a crew of 10, in addition to which there is a fully equipped galley and lounge. The interior consists of cypress and FRP plywood, and FRP sheetrock drop-in ceiling panels. Flooring is Tuflex rubber. Sound and vibration dampening is accomplished via material installed by M&I Insulation. Dixie Fire Protection provided the fire suppression system.
The pilothouse communication and navigation equipment featuring Furuno radars is from Wheelhouse Electronics. On deck are two Patterson 40-ton winches supplied by Donovan, a Schoellhorn-Albrecht capstan, and Nabrico kevels from Paducah Rigging. There is an upper work deck with catwalks to each towknee.
JANTRAN has another boat under construction at Nichols Boat Company that will be a sister vessel to the David Choate. Other than that, the shipyard is currently building a retractable-pilothouse, 120- by 35-foot towboat for Magnolia Marine Transport that is a “stretch” version of the 110- by 32-foot Magnolia vessels it has built previously.
Bruce Oakley Inc. is an integrated group of businesses that include not only fertilizer distribution but also river transportation, grain terminals, port operations, stevedoring, bagging and trucking. The company is headquartered in North Little Rock, but has multiple other locations, to take advantage of the river. Oakley bought JANTRAN in 2011, adding towing and fleeting to its mix of businesses. It owns and operates barges, as well, under the name of Oakley Barge Line.