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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, October 7, 2008

High-tech deck-cargo barge will transport goods to Isles

Associated Press

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

The Kamakani, a 438-foot deck-cargo barge, was unveiled yesterday in Coos Bay, Ore., by Sause Bros. Ocean Towing. The barge will transport building supplies, forest products and other materials to Hawai'i.

Sause Bros. Ocean Towing photo

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COOS BAY, Ore. After 50 years of major advancements in automotive, aviation and maritime engineering, an Oregon shipyard decided it was time to tinker with the design of a cargo barge that hasn't changed much in the past half century.

Sause Bros. Ocean Towing has unveiled the Kamakani, a 438-foot deck cargo barge, at the Southern Oregon Marine shipyard in Coos Bay.

The Kamakani, which means "Heavenly Wind" in Hawaiian, will be used to transport building supplies, forest products and other materials to Hawai'i.

Company president Dale Sause said the Kamakani is the result of 10 years of evolution in the company's Bay Class barges.

Before the Kamakani, the average length of Sause Bros. deck- cargo barges was 350 feet with a width of about 76 feet. Construction costs were about $5 million.

The new $20 million Kamakani is 88 feet longer and 29 feet wider.

It also boasts an array of advancements developed by Friendship Engineering in Germany, which used computational fluid dynamics to study the flow of water around 1,300 different hull shapes before settling on the final design.

The streamlined hull contains lateral slats like the wing of an airplane to reduce drag in the water.

The barge also features a new hydro-lift foil for steering, which is more effective than old-style rudders. The thick, rubbery paint on the barge effectively weather-seals the Kamakani, doubling the 15-year life expectancy of older models.

"We consider it really leading-edge technology," Sause said.

The expansive new deck means that Sause can replace two barges on the route to Hawai'i, and make the trip faster by sailing at 12 knots 4 knots more than the top speed on previous barges.

The new design will save Sause 60 percent of previous fuel costs or about 900 gallons of diesel every year.