Harley Marine Welcomes M/V Ahbra Franco


M/V Ahbra Franco.

Harley Marine Services has taken delivery of the Ahbra Franco from Freeland, Washington Shipyard Nichols Bros. Boatbuilders. The new boat is the company’s third tractor tug put into service on the west coast this summer in what proved to be a very busy time for Harley Marine. Not only did the company welcome the Robert Franco in May, Bob Franco in July and Ahbra Franco in August, but the company also dedicated their new world headquarters – a spectacular 45,000 square-foot waterfront structure with a stunning view of Seattle’s Harbor, container terminals and cityscape.

Ahbra Franco the boat was named after Ahbra Franco the teenaged daughter of company president Harley Franco, and the boat was christened in mid-July at the Nichols Langley, Washington location by the vessel’s sponsor and namesake. Designed by Seattle’s Jensen Maritime Consultants, the Ahbra is the eighth boat in the very successful series.

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Speaking at the christening of the new vessel, Harley Franco related the story of the boat’s design: When his company was getting started in the local ship assist and towing business, he was competing with bigger companies with fleets of newer boats. He approached Jensen to design him a boat that would be bigger and more powerful than those being used by his competitors. Sadly, Harley noted, when the design was complete, he couldn’t afford to have the boat built. Instead, the design sat until another company purchased the plans, and then another, and so forth. “It worked out for the best,” Harley said. His competitors ironed out all the wrinkles, and the Ahbra Franco now reflects the culmination of years of research and development taken on by his competitors.

In keeping with the Harley Marine policy of environmental stewardship, the new tug is equipped with the most modern and cleanest-burning Caterpillar engines available- the Tier III/IMO II-certified high speed C-175. The new 16-cylinder engines are turbocharged and aftercooled with a common rail injection fuel system and electronically controlled injectors. The Markey all-electric winch package consists of the company’s TES-40-75HP towing winch aft and a forward DEPCF-52-75HP Class II Hawser Winch. The winches share a single AC variable frequency electric drive panel and dynamic braking resistors, although each has its own controls. By combining equipment for the winches, space can be freed up below deck, and equipment costs are reduced. The use of electric rather than hydraulic deck machinery on the new boat further reduces environmental impact.

The new vessel has been delivered to the company’s Starlight Marine Services, in Alameda California, and will work in San Francisco Harbor in the competitive San Francisco Bay ship assist market where the new tug promises to be the gold standard for her class.


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