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Iron propulsion for Oliver Hazard Perry

Dec 19, 2013
The Caterpillar C-12 engines at the dock alongside Oliver Hazard Perry.

The Caterpillar C-12 engines at the dock alongside Oliver Hazard Perry.

OHPRI/Carol Hill

Sailing ships have all those sails to catch the wind. The nature of modern life, however, is that schedules must be met and if the wind isn't cooperating, a sail training and education vessel like Oliver Hazard Perry must still get to the next port and get alongside the dock. This means engines, and Perry recently received two new Caterpillar C-12 main engines from Milton Cat in Milford, Mass., one of OHP's marine trades partners. The 12-liter, six-cylinder engines, each rated at 385 hp (@ 1,800 rpm), were installed in the 200-foot Perry's engine room.

In an effort to make the vessel as green as possible, the engines are set up to operate on 20% biofuel to diesel blend that will be provided by Newport Biodiesel, also an OHP marine trade partner.

“Ships have been green before there was a green,” said the Perry’s Captain Richard Bailey, “because they use wind in their sails to move from place to place. However, a ship still has to have engines and a bow thruster to make tugs unnecessary and provide ability to enter smaller ports. During times when the wind doesn’t blow, this is the hidden power to meet tight schedules, and since we have to have this power aboard the SSV Oliver Hazard Perry, we are making it as green as possible.”

“When we initially reviewed the project, we knew we’d like to be a part of it,” said Milton Cat’s Marine Business Manager Kevin Hampson, explaining that with the help of Caterpillar “corporate” his company immediately agreed to participate and provide the two main engines and back-up generator at a generous discount. “With some guidance from our project engineers, the shipyard will hook up all the systems (exhaust, fuel, cooling, etc.) and connect the engines to the drive shafts. Then we will provide technicians on board during the initial start-up and for the ship’s sea trials. It’s a great cause, and even though our exposure to sailing schools is limited, Milton Cat always looks at opportunities to support maritime institutes and vocational schools that feed the marine industry, since we look to these organizations for potential employees.”

Don't forget that Ocean Navigator will be doing two weeks of navigation and voyaging training aboard OHP in the fall of 2014. Contact Tim Queeney at 207-822-4350 x 211 for more information about sailing aboard this full rigged ship. 

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