Built in 1969, by Main Iron Works of Houma, Louisiana as the Ocean Tower for Dann Ocean Towing of Tampa, Florida.
In the late 1970's she was acquired by Reinauer Transportation Companies of Staten Island, New York. Where she was renamed as the Franklin Reinauer.
She was later chartered under Baleen Towing, of Boston, Massachusetts. This company was a joint venture between Reinauer Transportation and Jake Tibbetts (son of Boston Fuel and Towing's President at the time.) The Franklin Reinauer featured a single "B" in the diamond on the stack, in the late 1970's the single "B" was replaced with the "BFT" in the diamond.
When Reinauer Transportation took delivery of the current Franklin Reinauer (built in 1984) the original Franklin Reinauer was renamed as the Matthew Tibbetts. It is said that the renaming corresponded with the purchase of the Boston Fuel Transportation barges BFT 38 and BFT 39 in 1980/1981.
Although, in the late 1990's, environmental regulations called for vapor recovery systems be installed for the transfer of gasoline from shore side to barges. Since the oil terminals in the port of Boston opted not to install the systems. The Mathew Tibbetts and most of the barges were transferred to Reinauer Transportation's operations in New York where vapor recovery systems were already in place.
Powered by two Detroit MTU-M60-8v 4000 main engines with Lufkin reduction gears at a ratio of 5,938:1 for a rated 2,000 horsepower. Her electrical service is provided by two 99 kw John Deer 208v generators driven by two John Deer Powertech engines.
Her capacities are 36,510 gallons of fuel oil (at 90%), 751 gallons of lube oil, 1,535 gallons of potable water and 12,540 of wash water.
Her towing gear consists of 1200(ft) 8(in) braided towing hawser with 1200(ft) of 3(in) twisted nylon for her emergency towing hawser. In 2011, she was fitted with an upper wheelhouse.
(Matt Surette, Harold Tartell)