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Ohio River vessel named for Proctorville man

Sep. 20, 2011 @ 11:01 AM

PADUCAH, Ky. -- During a ceremony on the Ohio River last month, AEP River Operations dedicated the M/V Mike Weisend in honor of the long-time employee and current manager of safety and health.

"There is no higher honor for a mariner than to have a boat named after him. It is really quite the honor," Proctorville, Ohio, native Mike Weisend said during the dedication ceremony.

"I'd like to thank the good Lord for giving me the opportunity to have a career where I could help the mariners, but I have to give all the credit to my wonderful wife, Tammy, and my beautiful daughter, Taylor, for being my safe home port," he said, according to a report from AEP. "I can truly say I wouldn't be standing here today if it wasn't for my lovely family. They're my solid anchor."

The AEP report said the vessel will be based in Lakin, W.Va., and will be used primarily to transport coal to AEP power plants. The boat was built this year by Gulf Island Shipyard in Houma, La. It is 48 feet wide, 45 feet high, 166 feet long and weighs 774 gross tons. It is powered by two EMD Tier II turbo-charged marine diesel engines, each rated at 3,000 horsepower. It has two five-blade stainless propellers, each nine feet in diameter. The vessel can hold 76,000 gallons of fuel, 19,000 gallons of water and can push approximately 30 loaded coal barges with a nine-member crew.

Weisend holds several professional certifications and degrees that he's used to promote safety throughout the river navigation system. He served as chairman of the American Waterways Operators Interregional Safety Committee and participated in the navigation industry's cooperative efforts with the U.S. Coast Guard to craft new towing vessel inspection regulations, and he helped organize the Ohio/Kanawha Spill Response Council.

He has served as an adjunct professor at local institutions of higher learning, teaching safety with a maritime perspective. He also is a published author in navigation trade periodicals and has spoken at numerous conferences. Additionally, he served as chairman of the Port Safety and Training Committee, Huntington District Waterways Association, for several years, according to the AEP report.