M/V American
Piggy-back shallow-water barge

Delta Exploration Incorporated
Jackson, Mississippi, USA

Rigging the barge - 1969/70

Vicksberg, Mississippi & Mombasa, Kenya

The M/V American docked on the Mississippi & Yazoo river at Vicksberg, Mississipi.
( 32° 20′ 10″ N, 90° 52′ 31″ W)

This is where we rigged the Delta piggy-back shallow-water barge


Work progressing on the back deck of the M/V American.
Note the Monarch (aluminium-hulled) work boat being prepared on the right.

Rigging the 50-ton shallow water barge.

The barge was propelled by a steerable water jet system,
so there was no propeller to damage when working in very shallow water.

Note the fibreglass instrument room, the navigation-system radar antenna on it's roof, and
the cable drum for storing the thin (eel) oil-filled shallow-water hydrophone cable.

We tested the Motorola RPS system by setting up one of the radar transponders
in the Vicksburg National Military Park - in line of site of the barge.


Loading the barge onto the back of the M/V American (the mother ship)


Loading the barge - view from the back deck of the mother ship.

A very powerful hydraulic winch and heavy-duty cable were required to pull the 50-ton
barge on to the back of the mother ship.


The barge almost fully loaded. A sigh of relief ... the loading system worked.


Sailing with the barge piggy-backed on the M/V American down the Mississippi to New Orleans.
This is 234 miles as the crow flies. This is where we left her as she set sail for Mombasa, Kenya.



Mombasa Pilot guiding the M/V American into port.




Supplies of soft drinks delivered on-board


Pontoon rented to allow streamer cable kerosine filling, assembly & repair + temporary storage for delivered items


At rear, empty streamer cable section ready to be filled. The sections were air-freighted to Kenya
in the large cardboard boxes shown on the pontoon.


The brown cable is a floating lead-in cable.


Section by section the 1 Km long cable is filled, joined (electrically-connected & sealed) to the previous section
and wound onto the cable drum on the barge.


The pontoon had to be guarded at night.


Building shooting boat Long John Too


(Photos - Robert J. Horne)