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ROANOKE
Photo by: Birk Thomas

Built in 1966, by Main Iron Works Incorporated of Houma, Louisiana (hull #147) as the Roanoke for the Interstate Oil Transportation Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Designed by Naval Architect Chauncey Horton to be a heavily built inland riverboat, with open water capabilities. The tug was conceived as the new generation of 2,000 horsepower towboats. Designed to replace the smaller Interstate Transporter class towboat.

At the time, the Interstate Oil Transportation Company operated two fleets. Their Northeast Fleet, which was referred to as the "Green Fleet." Operated in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. And their Southern Fleet, which was referred to as the "White fleet" which operated out of Tampa, Florida.

However, over the years many changes came to Interstate Oil, when a company called Southern National Resources (also known as the SONAT Marine Company) acquired the Interstate Oil Transportation Company. Eventually, a group of managers at the SONAT Marine Company offered to form a partnership to raise the funds necessary to purchase the SONAT Marine Company subsidiary. These eleven partners included some individuals who had worked for the Interstate Oil Transportation Company since the 1950's.

On April 14th, 1987 the Martians Partnership, LLP of Tampa, Florida was formed. And, assumed control of the SONAT Marine Company's tug, and barge operations in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as well as in Tampa, Florida.

However in March of 1989, the Exxon Valdez ran aground in Prince William Sound near Valdez, Alaska. And in 1990, the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 was passed calling for the double hulling of all petroleum carrying vessels by January 1st of 2015. As well, as other stipulations that effected Maritrans including manning, preparedness, and spill prevention. Maritrans filed suit to fight the stipulations set fourth by OPA '90.

By the mid 1990's Maritrans Operating Partners had begun to consolidate its business. By first, backing out of the black oil trade, and carrying only petroleum products and petrochemicals. As well as, the phosphate trade, and local transportation in Baltimore, Maryland that was part of the Harbor Towing subsidiary. Which did not fit into Maritrans's new business model. As Maritrans backed out, local transportation companies emerged, and established operations in the area. They included the Bouchard Transportation Company of Melville, New York; and the Vane Brothers Company of Baltimore, Maryland.

In 1998, the tug was acquired by the Vane Brothers Company of Baltimore, Maryland. Where she retained her name.

In 2004, the Vane Brothers Company replaced the tug's original eight cylinder, turbocharged, White Superior diesel engines. With two, EMD diesel engines. The company also overhauled the reduction gears, rudders, shafts, and propellers, and installed new alarm systems, piping, and bottom plate.

She is a square bow, twin screw, pushboat rated at 2,000 horsepower.
(Captain Eric Takakjian)


  • Vessel Name: ROANOKE
  • USCG Doc. No.: 506289
  • Vessel Service: TOWING VESSEL
  • IMO Number: 7308205
  • Trade Indicator: Coastwise Unrestricted, Registry
  • Call Sign: WDD9656
  • Hull Material: STEEL
  • Hull Number: 147
  • Ship Builder: MAIN IRON WORKS, INC.
  • Year Built: 1966
  • Length: 97.2
  • Hailing Port: BALTIMORE, MD.
  • Hull Depth: 8.2
  • Hull Breadth: 33
  • Gross Tonnage: 278
  • Net Tonnage: 189
  • Owner:
    VANE LINE BUNKERING INC
    2100 FRANK FURST AVE
    BALTIMORE, MD 21226
  • Previous Vessel Owners:
    Interstate Oil Transport Co., SONAT Marine Inc., Maritrans Operating Partnership, VANE LINE BUNKERING INC., VANE LINE BUNKERING INC, VANE LINE BUNKERING INC, VANE LINE BUNKERING INC, VANE LINE BUNKERING INC, VANE LINE BUNKERING INC