Posts Tagged ‘barges’

‘Towboat run deep’: ‘Barge’ shows the work and banter of the men who move the goods that fuel and build America

April 11, 2015

By Matthew E. Milliken
April 11, 2015

Barge, Ben Powell’s documentary about life aboard a Mississippi tugboat, offers a rare and unusual glimpse of the industrial transportation network that powers the American economy.

The movie tracks the crew of the M/V Mary Parker as they push barges from Rosedale, Miss., to New Orleans and back. The tug’s captain claims at one point that everything every American touches was either conveyed by barge or had a component that was. The petroleum and other chemicals that fuel our cars, build our roads and make plastics of all kinds; the fertilizers that spur crop growth; the food that results — all travel up and down American rivers, the captain claims in a rare moment of expansiveness.

The crew are handsomely rewarded for their work, which involves alternating six-hour shifts (one on, one off) for a month at a time. A deckhand can make upwards of $100,000 a year, one crewman says.

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