New Metal Shark duo speeds Lower Miss. pilot transfers

Professional Mariner|April 2020

New Metal Shark duo speeds Lower Miss. pilot transfers
Belle Chasse Marine Transportation (BCMT) began operations in 1977 on the Mississippi River with one crew boat.
Brian Gauvin

In November, Metal Shark added two 45-foot Defiant-class pilot boats to the company’s fleet, the latest acquisitions in four decades of growth.

Jet 1 and Jet 2 joined more than 40 crew boats, supply boats, push boats and barges distributed among seven launch sites stretching from Pointe a la Hache, La., at mile marker 53, to Convent at mile marker 165.7.

Under a threatening January sky, BCMT Port Capt. Royce Hammer and Capt. Scotty Assavedo steered the stealth-gray Jet 1 into the river from the company’s New Orleans dock. Hammer pushed the throttles forward, the bow rose and the speedster reached 37 knots in no time.

“The boat is very responsive,” Hammer said. “And with the jets, you don’t have to worry about bending wheels.”

Propelled by twin Cummins QSM11 diesel engines coupled to HamiltonJet HJ322 waterjets, Jet 1, sleek of line, is every bit as fast and maneuverable as the boat looks.

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April 2020