Freshly blasted barge goes into the paint facility.

C&C Marine & Repair Blasts 100th Barge In New Facility

Only nine months ago, C&C Marine & Repair, the Belle Chasse, La.-based shipyard located on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway between the Harvey Canal and Algiers Lock, opened its groundbreaking robotic paint and blasting facility. The 83,000-square-foot facility can accommodate barges up to 320 feet by 75 feet and has the capability to blast and paint a standard 30,000-barrel tank barge or two 10,000-barrel tank barges in only seven to 10 days.

“We knew we had the capability to blast and paint barges quickly and efficiently,” said C&C Marine and Repair owner Tony Cibilich, “but what we’ve been able to accomplish in these first nine months has exceeded our expectations in both speed and quality of blast.”

The facility is totally enclosed and climate-controlled, thus allowing 24-hour, year-round operations. The facility takes technology used to blast rail cars and containers and applies it to barges. C&C has three fully-automated robotic blasters, each equipped with oscillating nozzles. Two of them blast barges from the top and sides, while a third blasts the underside of barges. The result is an extremely efficient blasting and painting operation.

“We understand that taking barges out of operation to get blasted and painted costs our customers revenue, so painting these barges quickly is very important,” said Mike Wade, C&C manager of blasting operations. “The benefit of blasting and painting in an enclosed, environmentally-controlled facility is tremendous, because you are insulated from weather delays and humidity.”

Another efficiency of the C&C robotic paint and blasting facility is that the system uses steel grit as the blast medium rather than sand or coal slag. The steel grit is reusable up to 150 times and provides a much cleaner blast finish. The result is an exceptional surface profile for paint adhesion and bonding. For barge owners, that superior profile finish and improved paint adhesion translates into fewer required paint jobs over the lifespan of the barge, according to C&C.

And because it’s fully enclosed, the facility eliminates overspray, contamination and the runoff of paint and blast media into adjacent waterways. The facility’s filtration system captures more than 99 percent of all airborne particulates associated with the blast and paint process. According to C&C, the robotic paint and blast facility is the most efficient and environmentally safe facility of its kind in the barge industry.

Included among the 100-plus barges C&C has blasted and painted since the new facility opened are hopper barges, deck barges and both 10,000- and 30,000-barrel tank barges ranging in size from 110 feet by 30 feet to 300 feet by 80 feet.

Besides the paint and blasting facility, C&C also offers a full range of new build construction and repair services. Repair services include ISE work, topside repairs, hull damage repairs, bottom replacement, barge coatings and tank liners.

“We want to offer our customers the most cost-effective approach to maintaining their barge fleet,” said Michael Alfortish, manager of barge and marine repair for C&C. “One way is by saving them time by performing all their repair needs at one location, under roof.”

C&C’s new build capabilities include 10,000- and 30,000-barrel  tank barges, dredges, inland towboats, and offshore service vessels, in addition to a variety of specialized projects. The shipyard also recently added an additional 1,000 linear feet of dock space for a total of 3,200 linear feet of frontage on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway near New Orleans. The company also offers two drydocks, six hydraulic transporters and more than 500,000 square feet of covered fabrication space spread across 80 acres.

Caption for photo: Freshly blasted barge goes into the paint facility. (Photo courtesy of C&C Marine & Repair)