As a part of the Intercon Coupler System, customers are furnished ladder members for installation in the barge notch walls. Alternatively, skeg modules can be fabricated at Intercon, with the complete ladder section incorporated.
The ladder members provide a continuous tooth pattern on the fore and aft sides of the section, designed to engage the ram's helmet, and thereby lock the tug's vertical motion relative to the barge. The side taper is relatively flat to minimize resultant thrust from bow to stern sway loads. The tooth profiles are of equal angle, and peaked to balance forces and minimize multi-angle planes of contact when connected. Ladder vertical length can vary from 15 ft. to 50 ft., eliminating the need for ballasting either vessel when entering the notch.
When engaged, the Intercon Coupler System fully eliminates hull to hull contact between tug and barge, permitting the tug to pitch freely relative to the barge. Crew fatigue is lessened given smoother tug motions afforded by the pitchline being aligned with living areas.
With the ability to retract the interface heads within the hull envelope, the Intercon System avoids dangerous, fixed projections on both the tug and barge. This feature also preserves fleet interchangeability.
Tugs equipped with the Intercon Coupler System can conventionally push or tow non-System barges, and conversely, non-Intercon Coupler System tugs can work with ladder equipped barges. Each vessel retains its ability to operate as any vessel in its respective class.