Three vertical cargo heaters provided by Heatec, Inc. of Chattanooga, Tennessee keep the cargo of this tanker at a temperature of 270 degrees F or higher. The tanker's cargo is nearly 8 million gallons of liquid asphalt. The ship, named the Asphalt Commander, is owned and operated by Sargeant Marine, Inc. of Coral Springs, Florida.
The ship was originally built in 1984 and served as a U.S. Navy fuel tanker. Sargeant Marine bought it earlier this year and rebuilt it for transporting liquid asphalt. It is pictured here approaching port at Charleston, South Carolina on its maiden voyage with liquid asphalt. The ship is carrying 185,000 barrels of asphalt that it picked up in Curaçao, near Venezuela.
The asphalt heaters are housed in a large vertical compartment that can be seen directly behind the pilot house and main stack. Heatec designed, built and helped to install the heaters. Heatec engineers and technicians adjusted the heaters and remained on board during the maiden voyage.
The heaters operate on either diesel fuel or heavy fuel oil and provide 15 million Btu/hour each. They heat fluid circulating through over 22 miles of piping installed in fourteen compartments filled with the liquid asphalt. Heat from the compartments also evaporates sea water, leaving a white salt residue visible on the deck and hull. The heating equipment complies with requirements of ABS (American Bureau of Shipping), and the U.S. Coast Guard.
The ship is 669 feet long (approximately the length of two football fields) and has an 84-foot beam (width). Its hull extends 36 feet below the waterline. The ship travels at speeds of 16 knots (18.4 miles per hour) and has a range of 24,000 nautical miles, (27,600 statute miles), equal to once around the world and 62 days of travel. It has American registration and an American crew.
Heatec is a division of Astec Industries, a leading manufacturer of plants and equipment for road construction. Heatec makes asphalt heating equipment and storage tanks for asphalt plants. Heatec's products include portable containers for transporting asphalt aboard ships. Heatec also makes heating equipment for asphalt storage terminals, oil refineries, the chemical industry, the food processing industry and others.