A Quick Overview of ABS Classification for Barges
The American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) is the preeminent authority on barge classification and regulation for barge classification in the nation and a leading global authority on these subjects. Founded in 1862, the classification society’s mission is “to serve the public interest as well as the needs of our members and clients by promoting the security of life and property, and preserving the natural environment.”
The ABS has committed itself for nearly 160 years to promoting safety, service, and solutions to the maritime industry. Today, the ABS works with vessel manufacturers and barge operators to ensure that regulatory and safety standards are met. When the ABS officially classifies a barge, you can be assured that the vessel meets rigorous industry standards.
Barges today can be classified over a dozen different ways. Tank barges are best suited for transporting chemicals like oil, gas, or fertilizers. Other types of barges can be used to carry heavy equipment or materials, provide accommodations for offshore workers, or transport freight (about 15% of all U.S. freight is moved by barge). In this post, we'll break down the main ways the ABS classifies barges for the U.S.
The ABS classifies tank barges in the following types:
- Oil Tank Barge – This type of barge carries petroleum products with a flash point below 60°C
- Fuel Oil Tank Barge – This type of barge carries petroleum products with a flash point above 60°C
- Chemical Tank Barge – This category of barge carries chemicals considered dangerous/hazardous
- Liquefied Gas Tank Barge – This type of barge carries liquid gasses
- Tank Barge – This type includes barges intended to carry liquids that are not chemical or petroleum products
- Independent Tank Barge – Barges of this type carry cargo in independent tanks, and the cargo has a working pressure below 2.06 bar
- Pressure Tank Barge – Barges of this type carry cargo in independent tanks, and the cargo has a working pressure at or above 2.06 bar
- Fuel Oil or Chemical Tank Barge – Vessels carrying either petroleum products classified as “fuel oil” or chemical products. These barges are not approved to carry them at the same time
- Fuel Oil and Chemical Tank Barge – Vessels of this category carry both petroleum products classified as “fuel oil” and chemical products at the same time
- Oil or Chemical Tank Barge – Barges of this kind carry either petroleum products classified as “oil” or chemical products, but they are not approved to carry them at the same time
- Oil and Chemical Tank Barge – Barges of this kind carry both petroleum products classified as “oil” and chemical products at the same time
Other Types of Barges
Other types of barges classified by the ABS include:
- ITB Barges – A tug-barge combo where the two are connected with a specialty connection, connecting the tug to the barge by mechanical means other than simple rope, chain, lines, or tackle
- Oil Spill Recovery Barges – These barges (OSR) are specifically intended to recover spilled oil
- Crane CRC Barges – This type of barge has a permanently-mounted crane onboard used for work other than supply provision and maintenance of said barge
- Pipe Laying Barge – Barges in this category are involved in installing subsea pipelines
- Cable Laying Barge – This type of barge is involved in laying, maintaining, and repairing telecommunication and power cables
- Accommodation Barges – Vessels of this type operate offshore as accommodation barges or similar barges that “provide accommodations in support of the workings of the barge”
ABS’s classification designations indicate how barges should be used to best ensure safety and regulatory compliance. To learn more about ABS classification, we recommend you consult their recent rules for building and classification document, updated in January of 2019.
The ABS also notes that the rules for classification are, unless otherwise noted, “intended for unrestricted ocean service,” and provides safety requirements for manned vessels. Part 5 of the 2019 Rules documentation helps manufacturers design specific barges by type (dry cargo, tank, OSR, etc.) by providing guidance on deck beams, flanges and knees, frames, trusses, and more.
Buy and Sell Used Barges with Eiffel Trading
Eiffel Trading currently has various types of truckable marine equipment. Plus, check out our selection of used concrete formwork, used drill rigs, to used access trestle and used hdpe pipe, and more.
Ready to sell your used equipment or material? Fill out a form to get started!
Eiffel Trading’s dedicated and experienced team is available to help buyers and sellers connect, negotiate, provide free freight quotes, and more. Let us help you every step of the way. If you have any questions or would like additional information, please call us at 1-800-541-7998 or email email@example.com.
Information in this article is sourced from the ABS website and the updated Rules for Building and Classing Steel Barges – 2019 document.