TAI’s Design of 168 Ft, Double-Ended Passenger, Truck and Vehicle Ferry Launched

NEW ORLEANS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–TAI Engineers, LLC’s design of a passenger, truck and automobile ferry, “Carmen Lee,” has been built and launched by Thoma-Sea Marine Constructors, LLC (TMC) at its Houma, Louisiana, shipyard.

The ferry, projected to begin service in early 2022, was built for a partnership between the Lorain Port Authority (LPA) and Kelleys Island Ferry Boat Line. It can hold 149 passengers and 36 trucks and automobiles. The “Carmen Lee” will operate on Lake Erie providing service between Marblehead, Ohio and Kelleys Island, Ohio.

TAI was selected in a competitive procurement by LPA in conjunction with the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) to provide naval architecture and marine engineering services for the design and specification of this ferry. TAI also provided professional support for the competitive procurement of a shipyard to build the 168’x45’ “Carmen Lee.” TAI’s work included drawing review, construction inspection, as well as test and trial supervision of this ferry during its construction. The Carmen Lee has been built to conform (but not certified) to American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) standards and is inspected by the U.S. Coast Guard.

The double-ended ferry is designed to operate on lakes, bays and sounds. The vessel has a steel hull and deckhouse design and is compliant with USCG 46 CFR Subchapter T regulations. The main deck is high-strength AH 36 steel to withstand tire loadings from up to 36 cars or equipment trucks in four lanes. This quad azimuthing drive ferry is equipped with four Caterpillar C18 propulsion engines 470 BHP at 1,800 RM, each driving Schottel SRP 150FP Z-drives using Twin Disc HPTO hydraulic clutches. This allows precision maneuvering in challenging Lake Erie approaches during harsh weather and provides propulsion redundancy. The vessel has two Onan 40 kW marine gensets. Kelleys Island Ferry Boat Line has a similar ferry called the “Shirley Irene” in operation on this route.

“TAI Engineers and S&B Infrastructure are proud to utilize our marine engineering expertise to help improve transportation, mobility and accessibility for the Lorain Port Authority and Kelleys Island Ferry Boat Line,” said Danny Rios, President of S&B Infrastructure. “TAI’s marine capabilities, especially in passenger and automobile ferries, nicely complement S&B’s transportation and highway design capabilities.”

TAI Engineers, LLC is a subsidiary of S&B Infrastructure, Ltd (S&B), a company that specializes in master planning, transportation and drainage system design and construction, environmental services, facility audits, marine systems and storage tanks. S&B Infrastructure serves governmental customers in the United States, Caribbean, Central and South America.


Lindsay Burke, Director of Communications and Marketing

S&B Infrastructure


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