5 Ridiculously Heavy Towing Jobs

Towing on the Water
Watercraft make for the heaviest towing jobs ever.
Watercraft make for the heaviest towing jobs ever.
Malcolm Fife/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

Some of the heaviest towing jobs don't happen on land but on water. Tugboats, like the tractor vehicles that pull airplanes, must push or even pull vehicles several times their size. Not only do these jobs involve towing some of the heaviest vehicles and structures, but they also involve towing the longest distances.

Towing cables, called hawsers, run underwater from the stern of a tugboat on one end to the bow or front of the towed structure on the other end. These cables equip tugboats to pull wrecked ships, barges and even oil rigs from one place to another.

Take the Adriatic LNG terminal, the first offshore liquefied natural gas terminal. It weighs more than 300,000 tons (272,158 metric tons) and needed four tugboats to tow it 1,700 nautical miles (3,150 kilometers) an average speed of 4.4 knots (8 kilometers per hour) to its permanent location -- a process that took about three weeks [source: Edison].

To learn more about towing, and read about the heaviest buildings ever moved, browse the links below.

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  • Airbus. "Aircraft Family -- A380 Specifications." Airbus. [Oct. 22, 2008] http://www.airbus.com/en/aircraftfamilies/a380/a380/specifications.html
  • Airports International. "Towing the big jet: now that the Airbus-A380 has begun to flex its wings, the competition for orders between the tow-tractor manufacturers is greater than ever." Airports International. Nov. 1, 2005. [Oct. 22, 2008] http://goliath.ecnext.com/coms2/gi_0199-5012414/Towing-the-big-jet-now.html
  • Airport-Technology.com. "TBL 600 Towbarless Aircraft Towing Tractor Handles A380 Aircraft." Airport-Technology.com. Nov. 8, 2007. [Oct. 22, 2008] http://www.airport-technology.com/contractors/apron_clean/douglas/press1.html
  • Boeing. "Space Exploration: Space Shuttle Backgrounder." Boeing. Last updated Oct. 2006. [Oct. 22, 2008] http://www.boeing.com/defense-space/space/hsfe_shuttle/docs/shuttle_overview.pdf
  • Braden, Twain. "The Handbook of Sailing Techniques." Globe Pequot, 2003. [Oct. 22, 2008] http://books.google.com/books?id=z6GMZP0Wh40C
  • Dumoulin, Jim. "Launch Control Center." GlobalSecurity.org. Last updated April 17, 2008. [Oct. 22, 2008]http://www.globalsecurity.org/space/library/report/1988/sts-lcc.html
  • Edison. "First Offshore Regasification Plant in the World Lands to Italy." Edison. Press Release. Sept. 20, 2008. [Oct. 22, 2008] http://www.edisongroup.eu/edison/site/en/pressroom/index.html?&uri=/shared/press/ir/ n20settembre2008.html
  • Guinness World Records. "Heaviest Building Moved Intact." Guinness World Records. [Oct. 22, 2008] http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/records/science_and_technology/buildings/heaviest_ building_moved_intact.aspx
  • Huffman, Alan. "Take It Away." New York Times. Feb. 1, 2007. [Oct. 22, 2008] http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/01/garden/01moving.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss
  • Joshi, Vijay. "Malaysian man pulls train with teeth." Boston.com. Aug. 31, 2007. [Oct. 22, 2008] http://www.boston.com/news/odd/articles/2007/08/31/malaysian_man_pulls_train_with_teeth/
  • NASA. "Astronomy Picture of the Day: The Shuttle Crawler Transporter." NASA. March, 4, 2002. [Oct. 22, 2008] http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap020304.html


For towing, what's more important, horsepower or torque?

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