US owners are expanding their escort and harbour tugs with newbuildings despite delays at some shipyards due to hurricanes and coronavirus
Gulf Island Fabrication’s construction of harbour tugs for US owners Suderman & Young Towing and Bay-Houston Towing was delayed by the active hurricane season in Q3 2020. According to Gulf Island president and chief executive Richard Heo, the group’s shipyard in Lake Charles was impacted by one of the strongest tropical storms this year.
“The third quarter was challenging given the ongoing economic and operational impact of Covid-19, oil price uncertainty and a record level of tropical storm and hurricane activity along the Gulf Coast,” said Mr Heo. “Hurricane Laura directly impacted our operations in Lake Charles, damaging our facilities, drydocks and ninth harbour tug project, which was within days of being delivered,” he added.
In the aftermath of that hurricane, Gulf Island focused on completing this harbour tug for the owner. “We delivered our ninth harbour tug in October and are on scheduled to deliver the 10th vessel, as well as complete the closure of our Jennings facility, in Q4 2020,” said Mr Heo.
These harbour tugs are built to Robert Allan’s Z-Tech 30-80 design with a sponsoned hullform incorporated into an existing Z-Tech design. They have escort performance of more than 90 tonnes and a steering force at 10 knots for assisting very large crude carriers and ultra-large container ships into and out of terminals.
Gulf Island’s tug newbuildings have two Caterpillar 3516E main diesel engines, compliant with EPA Tier 4 driving a pair of Schottel SRP 510 fixed-pitch Z-drive units.
So far this year, Bay-Houston has taken delivery of George M in this series, plus in 2019 it added Connolly M, Cooper K and Cecil M, and Mark K Kuebler in 2018.
Also in this series, Suderman & Young started operating Gemini this year, Mazu and Apollo in 2019 and Ted C Litton in 2018. It is expecting delivery of Mercury later this year.
Foss Maritime has added four escort and harbour tugs to its fleet operating on the US west coast this year, including three introduced in October.
US-owned Foss, part of the Saltchuk Marine family of companies, had ordered azimuth stern drive (ASD)-90 tugs from Nichols Brothers Boat Builders in Freeland, Washington state. They were built to Jensen Maritime’s Valor design with EPA Tier 4-compliant propulsion.
In October, Foss Maritime chief operating officer Will Roberts highlighted the launch of the final three of the current series – Sarah Averick, Rachael Allen and Leisa Florence. They are sister tugs to 31.7 m Jamie Ann, which joined the fleet in Q1 2020.
These tugs have a bollard pull of 90 tonnes, which comes from two Rolls-Royce’s MTU series 4000 main engines driving two Kongsberg US255 azimuth thrusters.
On the US east coast, Washburn & Doughty in Boothbay, Maine, is building two new harbour tugs for Moran Towing. Wyatt Moran, is set to be launched later in Q4 2020 and then delivered in 2021. Following this, Washburn & Doughty will build sister tug, Andrew Moran.
McAllister Towing and Transportation has reassigned tractor tug Gregg McAllister to Long Island Sound in preparation for the arrival of larger ships. It will be stationed in New Haven, Connecticut, as part of McAllister’s commitment to Long Island Sound Ports.
New Haven harbour will be dredged over the coming months enabling the port to accept larger ships and more numerous arrivals.
Gregg McAllister will also provide ship assistance services in Riverhead, Bridgeport and Port Jefferson.
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