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Lighter aboard ship (LASH)

Ships equipped with onboard cranes to load and unload entire barges/ lighters carrying cargo on behalf of vessels too large to navigate rivers and canals. These 900-foot-long ships carry small barges inside the vessel. LASH stands for Lighter Aboard Ship. Just as cargo is transported by barge from the shallower parts of the Mississippi River to the Port of New Orleans for export aboard ocean-going ships, LASH barges are lifted into these unusual ships. Overseas, the ship can discharge clusters of barges in the open waters. Then several towboats will assemble the barges into tows bound for various ports and inland waterways, without the ship having to spend time traveling to each port.