US 3842782 A
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llnited States Patent 1191 11 1 3,842,782 Cuttica Oct. 22, 1974  INTERCONNECTION OF TWO CRAFI 3,492,964 2/1970 Garcia 114/235 R 3,557,742 1 1971 G" l 114235 R  Inventor: Vmona Veneto 3,613,628 11/1971 114l235 R 19, La Spez1a, Italy  Filed: Mar. 13, 1972 Primary Examiner-George E. A. Halvosa Assistant Examiner-Edward R. Kazenske  Appl' 233971 Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Arthur Schwartz  Foreign Application Priority Data  ABSTRACT Mar. 15, 1971 Italy l2572/7l For interconnecting or j g two craft, one of which having an end cavity for accomodating one end of the '8" 114/235 other craft, having the function of a pusher, the end of  Fieid 77 R 77 A the second craft is made to rest one the bottom of the 1 5 5 cavity in the first, a watertight scaling is formed be. tween the two coupled craft and the residual water is  References Cited drained out of said cavity for an increased adherence between the two craft and so as to obtain a joining UNITED STATES PATENTS such as that the astern portion does not feel the effects 1,803,104 4/l93l Fletcher 114/435 of the external wave motion, The detachment of the g z fiy i l l craft is carried out by inverting said operations. c m et a. 3,345,970 10/1967 DeLong 114/235 R 7 Claims, 8 Drawing Figures WEMIEWZZ 3,842J82 sum 21; a
I INTERCONNECTION OF TWO CRAFT This invention relates to a method for interconnecting two craft, one of which acting as a pusher; the invention also relates to a craft system or assembly thereby provided.
It is of a particular economical interest, both in shipping traffic on short journeys and river traffic, to base the marine transport system on a craft carrying the goods and a second craft carrying the propelling machinery and accomodation for the crew, the second craft, as coupled to the first craft at an astern zone, accomplishing the function of propelling and steering.
Such a system is already widely used with substantial advantage on rivers and inland waterways by using the so-called pushers connected to one or more barges.
Substantial advantages in marine transport saving could be obtained where the aforesaid pusher-barge system should be adopted also for maritime navigation which, however, requires due to wave motion, such connection systems between the pusher element and barge of a completely different design and nature from those as adopted in rivers or inland waterways.
Several approaches have been proposed relating to such connection systems for maritime navigation: some are of the articulated type, that is the bow or leading portion of the pusher is connected to the astern portion of the barge by pins or trunnions. A connection of this type has the disadvantage of causing under particular conditions of wave motion, particularly when from the stern, estremely high stressesin the barge structures at the attachement zones.
Other types of inventions concerning the connection between sea pushers and barges are provided by the socalled fixed connections, consisting of fixedly locking the pusher to the barge by mechanical blocking devices of a different nature, or by pusher portions being embedded in corresponding portions of the barge, or vice versa.
In such connection systems, the serious disadvantage always exists in that the pusher, while being in zones shielded by the barge stem, is always floating and thus always subjected to all possible different movements of the waves.
Which, also in this case, causes stresses to a substantial degree at the attaching elements. A further serious disadvantage in such fixed connections is that, to carry out such connections, the location for the attachment device section or the joints on the pusher should correctly correspond to the location for the attachment section on the barge: this would require particularly sensitive position and immersion changing systems as provided either on the barge or on the pusher or on both, which is extremely difficult to achieve when considering that a joining or linking between barge and pusher is effected in not always perfectly calm waters, whereby such a joining requires substantially extended time to carry it out. i
The novelty of the present invention essentially consists in that, upon joining completion, the pusher is no longer floating and, moreover, the major portion thereof is out of water contact within the barge and thus completely free of the wave motion effect. In this case, the rigid type of connection system provided is but barely put under stress by wave motion, thus avoiding any need of installing blocking devices or joints, as typical for the prior art fixed systems. Additionally, the
connection operations between the pusher and barge are estremely simple and fast, essentially consisting of bringing the front portion of the pusher into a floating dock section or cavity having a mutually conjugated shape and prearranged at the barge astern zone; resting the pusher bottom on the bottom of said dock section and then bringing to a dry state that pusher zone located within the dock section by draining the residual water, the rear portion of the pusher forming a sealing system for said section. Also in the case of the present invention, blocking means could be provided, but they would exclusively serve an auxiliary safety purpose, while hooking thereof, to be carried out upon completion of connection between the propeller and barge, would .be extremely simple, as the connection elements. of said blocking means are located on members unable to have movements relative to one another.
A further basic feature of the present invention resides in that, with the particular shape adopted at the rear portion, the barge can introduce into its holds from the stern naval craft or small floating barges by simple water transfer thereof, that is avoiding entirely the use of any lifting means for embarkment or discharge thereof from aboard. This system is a"particularly topical system in expectation of the future development of the transport system commonly referred to as lash (lighters aboard ships) and transfer of such barges for maritime coasting or inland waterway journeys.
The advantages and features of the invention will become apparent from the following description concerning embodiments by mere way of example with particular reference to the appended drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a longitudinal sectional view showing the craft acting as a pusher, fixedly connected in an operative position to the astern zone of a barge, the latter being shown only by dot and dash lenes;
FIG. 2 is a plan view showing onlythe left-hand portion of the pusher in FIG. 1;
FIGS. 3, 4 and 5 show on a reduced scale the three relative subsequent positions as taken by the barge and pusher in a connection sequence; these three last figures in a reversed order may serve to show the separation sequence between barge and pusher; and
FIGS. 6, 7 and 8 show how by the connection as provided between the pusher and barge a small barge can be introduced into the mother barge.
Particularly referring to the drawings, it will be seen that at the astern face or bulkhead 2 of barge 1 the outer plating 3 and bottom 4 of the barge extend for a certain length to stern forming side wings 5 and a flat bottom 6, respectively. Within the plating 3 projecting to stern two longitudinal bulkheads 7 are formed parallel thereto, and at the projecting bottom 6 a second bottom 8 is inwardly arranged.
The end portion for both the wings 5 of plating 3 and the bottom, are limitedly thereto, is closed in transverse plane by sealing structures '10. Thus, the end astern portion of the barge will form a cavity or section similar to that of a floating dock open to stem and upwards,
while being closed at astern face 2 of the barge by a plating.
The craft hull forming the pusher 11 comprises two parts, an astern section 12 having side outer plating and bottom respectively flush with the side outer plating 5- and bottom 6 of the barge, whereas the leading section 13 has a shape conjugated to that for the barge cavity,
that is with a side outer plating and bottom flush with the inner plating 7, if this is the case, and inner bottom 8 of the floating-dock shaped section for the astern portion of barge 1. In view of the different positions of the planes forming the plating and bottom between the leading section 13 and the astern section 12 of the pusher, a board or head 14 will be provided at the transverse plane.
Inside and on the bottom of pusher 11, balancing and ballast tanks 15 and 16 are arranged. By partially or totally filling such tanks, the pusher 11 can assume both changes in immersion and longitudinal position.
In addition to said balancing tanks 15 and 16, accomodation and services 17 and 18 for the crew, as well as propelling engines 19 operating a propeller 19' can be accomodated within pusher 11. In order to increase the availability of ballast tanks within the pusher, the drive system between the engine and propeller 19' can be accomplished by a Shottel type of drive system, or the like.
Coupling between pusher l1 and barge 1, possibly to be effected in calm waters in a port environment, is carried out as follows: the pusher (see FIG. 3 and so on), having a slightly astern position is moved or moves near to barge l and with its leading section 13 enters inside said cavity or floating dock section of the barge 1, until the board or head 14 on the pusher bottom abuts the board or head on the bottom of the dock section of barge 1.
Now the ballast and balancing tanks 16 within the pusher are flooded until the bottom of the leading section 13 of the pusher rests throughout its length on the dock section bottom 8. For an increased adherence between the bottom of the pusher leading section and dock section bottom 8 and to prevent the pusher from even momentarily floating due to the wave motion, the pusher ballast tanks and 16 are entirely flooded.
To completely isolate the leading section 13 of pusher 11 from the sea and thus to prevent wave motion from affecting it and also to further ensure a perfect adherence between the pusher bottom and dock bottom, the residual water remaining within the dock section is removed by a pump. The hermetic sealing of said dock section is provided by the astern section 12 of pusher 11 at the pusher board or head 14 and barge board or head 10. To this end, in the transverse plane on the board 10 or on the pusher board 14, in any case at the contact zone between the two craft, provision will be made for seals (not shown) of rubber or other material, capable of preventing water from penetrating into the dock section. In this case, the pusher leading section 13, as a result of the hydrostatic head due to the level differential between the astern and leading sections at dry, and in view of the sealing provided by said seals, would accomplish the same function as a caisson gate relative to a brick dock.
If the pusher 11 should be separated from the barge to be inserted into another barge, water is admitted to the dock section and through evacuation of its ballast and balancing tanks 15 and 16, said pusher will float and can by itself come out of said section.
It should also be noted that to further ensure a locking effect between said pusher 11 and barge 1, suitable blocking systems can be arranged therein, generally designated at 20 and which may be of different types.
Referring now to FIGS. 6, 7 and 8, a variant will be described for using the above craft system.
In fact, it should be noted in FIG. 6 that the plating at the astern face has been replaced by a sealed door 21 of any type, which in the example shown can be opened by upward overturning it for allowing an access to the interior of the barge room intended for goods transport.
Barge 1 can be fitted with suitable position and ballast tanks as a floating dock, in order to allow water to enter the barge, and hence introduce into the barges through the open door 21 floating goods containers 22, as it will be seen by comparing FIGS. 6 and 7, which otherwise could not, for example, be transported by themselves on the sea by river or on low depths of water. Once the goods containers 22 have been introduced into the barge l and the door has been closed, the barge inside is brought to a dried state and the barge is connected with the pusher as above described and shown in FIG. 8.
Although for description purposes the present invention has been based on the foregoing description and as shown with particular reference to the appended drawings, many modifications and changes can be made to the invention embodiment.
1. An assembly of two craft comprising:
a. a pair of craft, one being a pusher craft and the other being a barge,
b. said barge having a cavity being formed by a bow portion, a pair of sides extending rearwardly of said bow portion and a bottom, said cavity being open at the stem end of said barge, and being of a size sufficient to accommodate a front end portion of the pusher craft, the pusher craft having a transverse wall portion extending outwardly from the sides and bottom thereof at substantially amidships, said front end portion of said pusher craft resting firmly on the bottom of the cavity,
. positioning tanks in at least one of the craft for facilitating joining the two craft,
means for water sealing the two craft together relative to the surrounding sea, the sealing means being positioned at the stern end of the barge and comprising a surface at the extreme rearward end of each of the pair of sides and the bottom, said surface being transverse to the open end of the cavity, and abutting said transverse wall portion of said pusher craft when said front end portion of said pusher craft is within said cavity,
e. means for draining the residual water in the cavity after the joining of the craft to obtain increased adherence between the two craft.
2. An assembly comprising two craft as claimed in claim 1 wherein floating containers are introduced into said cavity through said open stem end of said barge and accommodated within said cavity between said bow portion of the barge and said front end portion of said pusher craft when said front end portion of said pusher craft is entirely received within said cavity.
3. An assembly comprising two craft according to claim 2 wherein said cavity is provided with closing means for dividing that portion of said cavity intended to accommodate said front end portion of said pusher craft from that portion of said cavity intended to accommodate said containers.
6. An assembly comprising two craft as claimed in claim 1, wherein seals are provided at said surface.
7. An assembly comprising two craft according to claim 1, wherein connecting means are provided between the pusher craft and the barge accomplishing the function of safety holding and towing means when the barge is going backwards.