Louisville District christens new workboat at Olmsted Locks and Dam

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Louisville District
Published May 1, 2023
New Olmsted Locks and Dam Workboat Motor Vessel (M/V) Jackie Lee Anderson

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Louisville District held a Christening Ceremony in Olmsted, Illinois, April 27, 2023, for the new Olmsted Locks and Dam Workboat Motor Vessel (M/V) Jackie Lee Anderson.

Friends, family and coworkers gathered together in celebration as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Louisville District held a christening ceremony in Olmsted, Illinois, for the new Olmsted Locks and Dam workboat Motor Vessel (M/V) Jackie Lee Anderson, April 27. 

The M/V Jackie Lee Anderson is a 2,000 hp Z-drive towboat that accommodates 14 crew members headed by Capt. Shane Byassee, who formerly served as the Olmsted Locks and Dam lockmaster. The new workboat will be used to maneuver the wicket lifters, crane barges and washdown barge - all of which are essential for raising and lowering the wickets at the project to ensure safe and successful navigation, and for performing maintenance and repair. Prior to the new workboat’s arrival, the team had been utilizing Marquette Transportation’s charter boat M/V St. James for the last few years while the M/V Jackie Lee Anderson was being designed and constructed. 

“The charter provided valuable training and lessons learned during the design process, and Marquette Transportation provided excellent support to the Olmsted team,” said Brian Holcomb, Louisville District project engineer. “It has been a key component in the timely operation of the dam at Olmsted and providing navigable waters.”

The M/V Jackie Lee Anderson is 82 feet long and 36 feet wide with a depth of 11 feet at midship. The vessel was built by Thoma-Sea Marine Constructors LLC., in Louisiana, and was completed April 11. The vessel is classed by the American Bureau of Shipping, also known as ABS, as a Class A1 with a Maltese Cross for use as a government towing vessel in towboat river service.

The new workboat was named after Jackie Lee Anderson, a former Lock and Dam Operator at Locks and Dam 52. Anderson was recognized for his dedication and tireless efforts in keeping Locks and Dams 52 and 53 maintained and operational, and received numerous awards during his career. While serving as a lock and dam operator at Smithland Locks and Dam, Anderson passed away on April 9, 2016, after a long battle with pulmonary fibrosis. 

The ceremony paid tribute to Anderson and several co-workers shared their own special memories of Anderson - all which led colleagues to vote to name the boat after him.

The christening ceremony also included a blessing by Rev. David Shirk from the Seamen’s Church Institute, the presentation of flags to Olmsted Locks and Dam Lockmaster Jeff Griffin and the presentation of a portrait of the M/V Jackie Lee Anderson to Anderson’s daughters, Haley and Mia. The pair also participated in the ceremony when they broke two bottles of champagne to formally christen the vessel named in their father’s memory and commemorate the occasion. 

Louisville District Chief of Operations, Waylon Humphrey, reflected upon the many times Jackie Lee Anderson assisted with dam operations at Lock and Dam 52. 

“After joining the crew for multiple raises, it become somewhat of an expectation for me that when I looked from the bow back to the stern I would see Jackie Lee,” Humphrey said. “It’s only fitting that the current and future generations dedicating their lives and their careers to operating Olmsted will grow to have that same expectation. Every time they turn towards the stern, they’ll see the M/V Jackie Lee working alongside them.”