New Vessel Review: West Coast Players


In March, Kvichak Marine Industries delivered the aluminum pilot boat Astoria to the Columbia River Bar Pilots. Photo courtesy of Kvichak.

2014 brought an interesting mix of new vessels to the west coast, including ferries, pilot boats, tugs and barges. The fact that most of the vessels were built in Pacific Northwest yards to the designs of west coast naval architects for use in west coast waters is an indication of both the strength of the commercial maritime industry and the quality of designs and vessels coming from the west coast.

In March the Columbia River Bar Pilots took delivery of a new 75-foot by 21-foot pilot boat, the Astoria, built by Seattle's Kvichak Marine Industries to a design by Camarc, Ltd., of the UK. The all-aluminum, self-righting boat is the third by the same builder and designer for the pilots, and will join the 2008-built Columbia and replace the retired 2000-era Chinook.

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The pilots operate in extreme conditions along the Columbia Bar, and require reliable, stable and self-righting pilot boats to transport pilots safely to and from the ships and tugs that navigate across the Bar.

The new Astoria is powered by twin MTU 16V2000 M70 marine diesel engines, each providing 1,410 BHP through ZF 3050 electric shift transmissions to Hamilton 651 waterjets. The handsome new vessel can reach speeds of 29 knots and cruise comfortably at 25 knots.

Astoria's passengers ride in climate-controlled comfort with accommodations for 2 crew and four passengers. Two Kohler 40 kW Gensets provide power, and the new vessel boasts a 500-lb capacity rescue davit in case of emergencies.

Also in March, JT Marine, of Vancouver, Washington, delivered the second in a series of four planned ocean-going tugboats to Hyak Maritime. The new 120-foot by 35-foot Washington, like Hawaii before her, was chartered to Crowley Marine Services. "Crowley is very happy with them," says Robert Dorn, part owner of Hyak Maritime. "I know they've both already been to Africa and back."

The Jensen Maritime-designed Azimuthing Stern Drive boats are based on a design originally produced for Seattle's Western Towboat. Rather than the high-speed diesels found in the Western boats, the Hyak boats make use of medium-speed 900-RPM General Electric 8L250 EPA Tier II engines coupled by Centa connectors and carbon-fiber shafting to Schottel FP1515 azimuthing stern drives. Hyak expects the reduced maintenance of the robust powerplants, as well as their lower fuel consumption, to make the design attractive to a wide range of customers. The third boat in the series, Montana, was undergoing sea trials at press time and will be delivered early this month to Hyak Maritime. The fourth boat in the series, Alaska, is currently in production at JT Marine for delivery to Hyak in early 2016.

In April, Washington State Secretary of Transportation Lynn Peterson christened the new 362-foot, 144-car ferry Tokitae at Vigor Fab's Seattle Shipyard. The hull was built at Vigor and the superstructure at Nichols Bros. Boatbuilders, of Freeland, Washington. The superstructure was then barged to Seattle for assembly. Subcontractors Jesse Engineering in Tacoma, and Eltech Electric and Performance Contracting Group in Seattle also contributed to the new boat.

The Tokitae is the first of three new 144-car ferries planned to replace the state's aging Evergreen State-class 87-car ferries, all of which are about 60 years old. Tokitae began service in June, and the second 144-car ferry, the Samish, is nearly complete with delivery expected early this year.

Washington lawmakers also approved funding for a third 144-car ferry during the recently completed legislative session. The 144-car third ferry, still unnamed, will be built by Vigor and likely serve the Seattle-Bremerton route. An option for a fourth ferry to the same design is yet to be exercised by the state.

Portland's Diversified Marine delivered the Robert Allan-designed ship assist tug Peter J. Brix to Brusco Tug & Barge in July. The 78-foot by 31-foot boat is a continuation of a line of ship assist tugs for Longview, Washington-based Brusco Tug & Barge, and is similar to the Simone Brusco delivered by Diversified late last year, for operation at Port Hueneme, California. The Peter J. Brix, the fourth in this line of boats designed by Robert Allan and built by Diversified, will be based in Aberdeen, Washington and assist vessels into and out of the Port of Grays Harbor.

The new boat was fitted with a pair of Caterpillar 3512 Tier III engines producing a combined 4,000 HP through Rolls-Royce azimuthing stern drives.

The new tug features a Markey DEPC 48 single-drum electric hawser winch with automatic tension-selectable render-recover mode and high braking capacity, and fitted with 500 feet of 9-inch synthetic line.

Markey says the electric winches are easier and quicker to install than their hydraulic counterparts, require less expense maintenance and are quieter as well.

In November the Shipyard delivered yet another Brusco boat, the Bo Brusco, this one destined for Everett, Washington. Similar to the earlier boats designed by Robert Allan and built by Diversified, this one has more powerful Caterpillar 3512HD engines providing 2,400 HP each through Rolls-Royce drives with larger-diameter nozzles. The yard will be busy this year with two new Robert Allan-designed tugs for Harley Marine Services to be delivered in March and June and another boat for Brusco Tug & Barge, of the same design as the Bo Brusco and with the more powerful engines, for delivery in December of this year.

August saw the delivery of the new 6,800-HP ASD tug Delta Audrey for San Francisco's BayDelta Maritime. The sixth in a series of boats built for the company by Nichols Bros. Boatbuilders to a design by Jensen Maritime, Delta Audrey is powered by two 3,400-HP Caterpillar 3516C diesel engines driving Rolls-Royce Z-Drives and producing a bollard pull of 90 tons. The new boat is fitted with a Markey DEPCF-52 Render/Recover electric single drum hawser winch outfitted with up to 750 feet of 10-inch HMPE line. For towing duties, a single-drum electric towing winch carries up to 2,500 feet of 2 1/4-inch wire rope.

Not all of the boats in the series have gone to BayDelta. The first two were delivered on long-term charter to Crowley Marine Services while another was chartered by Foss Maritime. The powerful boats have received good reviews from operators who praise their seakeeping abilities.

A pair of 136-foot ATB tugs for Kirby Offshore Marine are also in the works at Nichols, as well as a car ferry for Washington State's Wahkiakum County to be delivered later this year.

In early October a new double-hulled bunker barge was christened and delivered by Seattle's Vigor Fab to Seattle client Maxum Petroleum. The Global Pilot was conceived to balance performance with fabrication cost, and the 15,000-barrel tank barge features a recessed machinery space aft for improved visibility and a state-of-the-art tankerman's office. The new barge was built in sections in the yard's prefab building, and the large sections were then moved to the buildway for assembly. The assembled barge was rolled onto a drydock and launched.

The Global Pilot is a clean-products-only barge that will focus on the transfer of MGO and bulk marine lubricants in the Seattle and Port Angeles areas.

Builder and client both say the project went smoothly, and attribute some of the efficiency to the fact that they are next-door neighbors on Seattle's Harbor Island. Vigor Fab has also been awarded a contract to build an 88-foot by 25-foot fireboat for the San Francisco Fire Department. That boat, designed by Jensen Maritime, is well under way and is slated for delivery late this year.

In November a much-anticipated new vessel was delivered to Seattle's Bowhead Transportation. Built by Nichols Bros., the 150-foot landing craft Uŋalaq will operate primarily in Alaska's arctic providing supplies and building materials to remote communities. Designed by Columbia Sentinel Engineers (CSE), the new boat was designed for all-weather versatility in Alaskan waters.

The boat was designed with a shallow draft to be able to beach and provide access to the most remote areas of the arctic.

The Uŋalaq was designed for ease of use, allowing for 20-foot containers to be driven onto the vessel via a 75-ton capacity bow ramp with a 25-foot opening. A 120-foot by 40-foot cargo deck has multiple securing points along the deck and bulwark, and the wear deck is covered in a 6-inch layer of timber to give traction for tracked vehicles and protection from heavy point loads.

The new boat can beach for easy on- and off-loading of cargo, and a stern anchor has been fitted so the vessel can pull off the beach.

A triple-screw propulsion system with heavily tunneled propellers and rudders allows for navigation in shallow rivers. The main engine and one of the generators are keel cooled with the other generator air cooled so operation can continue when the vessel is dried out.

An expansive wheelhouse offers visibility for docking to either port or starboard, and the deckhouse is made of aluminum to reduce weight and decrease maintenance. It offers accommodation for sixteen including single cabins for the captain and chief engineer.

In early August Nichols Bros. delivered the 100-foot, 85-ton bollard pull Delta Audrey to Baydelta Maritime.


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