Pacific Maritime Magazine - Marine Business for the Operations Sector

New Vessel and Tugboat Review


The 692-foot, 22-knot con/ro Marjorie C began service between San Diego and Honolulu in May. Photo by Gary Hofheimer courtesy of Pasha Hawaii.

This year's selection of new vessels for west coast work runs the gamut from big steel ships to small aluminum boats, but all are crucial to the continued success of the west coast maritime industry and the yards that build and service these new vessels.


In May, the 692-foot by 106-foot Marjorie C made waves as she began her maiden voyage for Pasha Hawaii from the Port of San Diego, California to Honolulu, Hawaii. The new Marjorie C is a combination container/roll-on/roll-off (con/ro) Jones-Act vessel named after Pasha Hawaii President and CEO George Pasha, IV's grandmother, Marjorie Catherine Ryan.

The new ship has a 350 metric-ton ramp and the capacity to carry 1,400 TEUs, as well as up to 1,200 vehicles. Onboard cranes allow her to service ports and handle containers without onshore gantry cranes.

The Marjorie C is the second ship built for Pasha by VT Halter Marine, after the 2005-built, 579-foot M/V Jean Anne, the company's first pure car/truck carrier.

The new ship is based on a successful design by Uljanik Shipyard in Croatia, but modified to suit the US Jones-act trade. Among the design enhancements is the reconfiguration of one of the container decks to better handle 40- and 45-foot containers rather than 20-foot units

The design was also upgraded to allow carriage of up to 150 reefer containers, with improved access to the container ends for in-voyage maintenance. The main engine is a turbo-charged single MAN B&W 8 cylinder ME-C slow speed, two-stroke engine rated at 19,040 KW at 105 RPM, turning a four-bladed fixed pitch propeller almost 23 feet in diameter, and providing a cruising speed of 21.8 knots.

"Constructed in the US, manned by US crews, with state-of-the-art technical capabilities, our ships provide streamlined, environmentally friendly capacity to the trade," says CEO George Pasha, IV. "Marjorie C is a testament to the value of the Jones Act."

New Washington State Ferry

Also in May, a second Olympic-class ferry for Washington State Ferries, the 362.5-foot M/V Samish, was delivered to Washington State Ferries by a consortium of builders including Vigor Fab, Nichols Bros. and Jesse Engineering. Vigor Fab acted as the prime contractor at the company's Seattle location, while Nichols Brothers on Whidbey Island fabricated the superstructure and Jesse Engineering in Tacoma built the two identical bows.

The ferry is powered by a pair of Tier 3 EMD medium-speed two-stroke diesel engines producing 3,000 HP at 900 rpm. In the double-ended hull, the engines face in opposite directions, each connected to one Rolls Royce controllable-pitch four-blade propeller. Rolls Royce high-lift rudders were fitted at both ends of the vessel, and an inter-connecting shaft runs between the two transmissions, allowing both engines to power a single aft propeller for a top service speed of 17 knots at 80-percent power, with an economy cruise speed of 14 knots.

A waste-heat recovery system uses the exhaust gases to provide hot water for the ship's hotel needs. Three MTU Series 60 300kW gensets provide electrical power from the engine rooms, with a fourth on the sun deck for emergencies. The navigation and other lights are LEDs.

The double-ended hull, classed Sub-Chapter H for 1,500 passengers by the US Coast Guard, was assembled from 10 modules. The superstructure of the new ferry is more than 300 feet long, weighs 1,500 tons and includes an upper vehicle deck, a passenger deck, a sun deck and a crew-only navigation deck. The Samish also boasts wider vehicle lanes to accommodate up to 144 vehicles, two ADA-compliant elevators and wider stairwells.

Small River Ferry

A smaller ferry was delivered in March to Washington's Wahkiakum County, for service between Puget Island, Washington, and Westport, Oregon, where it will serve as the last ferry on the lower Columbia River.

The county commissioners started discussing the need to replace the old ferry in 2006, and began applying for grants from state and federal governments in 2010. Since 1962, the crossing has been made by a 12-car vessel built by Nichols Boat Works of Hood River, Oregon. The new boat, designed by Elliott Bay Design Group (EBDG) in Seattle and Christened the M/V Oscar B, is 115 feet long and 47.5-feet wide, with a capacity of 23 cars and 100 passengers. The shallow hull allows the ferry to pass over the sandbanks that quickly build up along the shore.

The boat was built by Nichols Brothers Boat Builders, of Freeland, Washington, whose executive vice-president, Matt Nichols, is the grandson of Mark Nichols, who built the older boat.

The new ferry's hull is steel, but the superstructure is aluminum, and includes a small passenger lounge and ADA-accessible restrooms. The pilothouse has a comfortable chair, a large wheel and modern electronic engine controls. Below the car deck is an inter-connected space with deep stringers supporting the skin and cargo deck, accommodating two Cummins QLS diesels, each delivering 285 HP at 1,800 rpm. A pair of Cummins gen-sets meet the ferry's electrical needs. Crossing time is about 12 minutes at a speed of 8 knots.

The ferry was named Oscar B, after Captain Oscar Bergseng, who served for 17 years as the last private owner/operator of the service and the county's first captain in 1962.

Big ATB Boat

In early December, Freeland, Washington-based Nichols Bros. Boatbuilders delivered the 136-foot, 10,000-HP ATB tug Nancy Peterkin to Kirby Corporation of Houston Texas. The boat is the first of a two-boat order and will be mated to a new 185,000 barrel barge built at Gunderson Marine in Portland, Oregon. The second boat, Tina Pyne, will be delivered early this year. Both boats are fully ABS classed and SOLAS compliant, and feature fully automated engine rooms.

Designed by Louisiana naval architecture firm Guarino & Cox, the Nancy Peterkin uses a rounded hull form for optimum sea keeping and propulsive efficiency, and connects to the barge via an Intercon coupling system.

The new tug can produce more than 165 tons bollard pull, and has a free running speed of better than 16 knots.

The Nancy Peterkin is expected to operate along the West Coasts between refineries in Puget Sound, such as those in Anacortes, Washington and the San Francisco Bay area in California.

The new vessel was launched using the boatbuilder's new launch system, which accommodates vessels up to 3,000 tons and allows for deeper draft than the company's venerable crawler system.

Built for the Arctic

In mid-May, Foss Shipyard in Rainier, Oregon delivered the first of three 132-foot tugs for Foss Maritime's arctic operations. Christened Michele Foss, she is the first tug in the western hemisphere built specifically to operate in the harsh arctic environment. The clean-sheet design combines features of traditional towboat design with advanced engineering concepts to meet the standards of safety and efficiency required for operation in the arctic.

Michele Foss complies with all SOLAS rules and is classed American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) A1 Towing to enable it to work internationally, and meet the latest ecological and navigation safety standards demanded by the oil and gas industry. It is powered by twin 3,634-HP Caterpillar diesels turning 126-inch diameter propellers with Nautican nozzles and linked triple rudders. The combination provides a bollard pull of more than 100 tons, and the vessel has sufficient fuel capacity for a 30-day/3,000-mile operation.

The new tug is engineered for zero-discharge of Ballast Water, fuel or sewage. Michele Foss has no ballast tanks, thereby eliminating the chance of introducing invasive species to arctic waters. Instead, it will adjust trim by transferring fuel between several inter-connected fuel tanks. During fueling, an innovative piping system allows diesel oil storage tanks to cascade to port and starboard overflow tanks as an additional level of environmental protection. Holding tanks for black and gray water permit operations in "no discharge zones."

The hull is built with heavy steel plating, and the bow is reinforced with closely-spaced frames and 1/2-inch plate, with a 1-inch thick band extending along the deckline.

To cope with extreme cold, the decks are heated and the engine coolers are housed in sea chests, which are equipped with heaters to keep them ice-free.

A direct-drive Markey double-drum TDSD-40 towing winch providing a line pull of 91 metric tons is protected from the weather by an extension from the house open only at the aft end.

Michele Foss spent last summer on the Point Thomson oil field development project in the Alaskan arctic, and will be followed by identical sisters Denise Foss later this year and Nicole Foss, in early 2017.

Big Charter Tug

In January of 2015, Vancouver, Washington Shipyard JT Marine delivered the 120-foot M/V Montana to Hyak Maritime co-owners Robert Dorn and Gordon Smith. Montana is the third boat in a three-boat series built as a modern offshore tug design to replace hundreds of older, outdated boats still in service. The design is based on a popular design by Seattle's Jensen Maritime Consultants for local tugboat firm Western Towboat, which has built seven boats to the design, with an eighth due to launch this year.

The Montana features a single chine, a 35-foot beam and a 19-foot draft, propelled by azimuthing stern drives, like the Western boats, but differs in propulsion, with all three boats utilizing twin GE 8L250 EPA Tier III engines, each rated at 2,679 HP at 900 RPM. The medium-speed diesels consume significantly less fuel and enjoy much lower maintenance costs than other equivalently powered oceangoing tugboats, and the engines are available to meet US EPA Tier 4i and IMO Tier III Emission standards using exhaust gas re-circulation (EGR) rather than urea or scrubbers.

Towing is managed by a Markey TESD-34 towing winch specially designed to handle the pull this powerful vessel can develop in open water. The new Markey TESD-34 100-HP Double Drum electric towing winch is rated for 2,500 feet of 2 1/4-inch wire rope on each drum, and features a line-pull of up to 183,000 lbs. and a drum brake capacity of 293,000 lbs. A levelwind is also included for the starboard side drum.

All three boats were built to ABS + A1, AMS Machinery Class, Towing Certification All Oceans, with the Marpol compliance necessary to work in international ports. Montana's relatively compact size results in a US regulatory tonnage of only 91 and international tonnage of 497, allowing her to operate with smaller crews than the traditional type of offshore tug that is typically above 500 tons.

The first two boats, Hawaii and Washington, were chartered by Crowley Maritime services, while the Montana was chartered by Foss Maritime and put immediately to work supporting Shell's arctic operations.

New Pushboat

Delivered to Vancouver, Washington-based Tidewater Transportation in June, the 102-foot by 38-foot push boat M/V Crown Point was built by Vigor Industrial at the company's Portland Shipyard to a design by CT Marine Naval Architects and Marine Engineers of Edgecomb, Maine. The first of three sisters, Crown Point was Tidewater's first new tug in 30 years, and will be followed later this month by Granite Point, and Ryan Point later this year.

The new boat incorporates a flat-bottomed hull that looks traditional, but features a slightly concave upswept stern to improve water flow to the propellers. The bow plating is convex, in order to withstand impacts from logs and flotsam.

Crew comfort and endurance were a priority in the design. Attention was paid to the wheelhouse, with increased ergonomics and full-height glass to offer its operators good all-round visibility. A floating floor under the entire accommodation block and soundproof doors contribute to a low, 60-decible noise level when the vessel is underway.

Two Caterpillar 3516C Tier 3 diesel engines produce 2,240 bhp each at 1600 rpm. The engines drive two 92" x 100" Kaplan-type, stainless steel propellers in CT-28 Kort nozzles via Reintjes (WF 873) 6:4.41 reduction gears and 9.25" shafts.

Engine noise suppression measures include Christie and Grey vibration-control engine mounts and comprehensive acoustic insulation of the bulkheads with vibration damping tiles. Elevated mufflers are heavily insulated and flexibly mounted where they pass through two openings in the overhead deck above the engine room. Positioned aft on the main deck is a dedicated generator room with soundproof doors housing two Cat 7.1, Tier 3 480-volt generators, rated at 200 kW at 1,800 rpm.

Fuel capacity is 44,000 gallons with a service speed of 8 knots – sufficient for two 350-mile round trips along the Columbia/Snake River navigation system between Vancouver, Washington and Lewiston, Idaho.

Powerful ASD Tugs

Diversified Marine, in Portland, Oregon, delivered two Robert Allan-designed 80-foot by 36-foot Azimuthing Stern Drive tugboats to Seattle's Harley Marine Services. The first, Michelle Sloan, was delivered in March. The second, Lela Franco, named after the wife of company founder Harley Franco was Christened by her namesake in June.

Both vessels are propelled by a pair of CAT 3516C diesel engines, each rated 2,575 bhp at 1,600 rpm, and each driving a Rolls-Royce US 205 Z-drive unit, with a 94.5-inch diameter fixed pitch propeller, providing a bollard pull of 65 tons.

Deck machinery includes a Markey DEPC-48 render-recover ship assist hawser winch forward, fitted with 500 feet of 9-inch line, and a Markey DEPC-32 towing winch aft with a capacity of 250 feet of 6-1/2-inch line.

The new boats are characterized by high freeboard forward to ensure good sea-going performance in exposed waters, providing enough depth of hull for accommodation in the foc'sle.

The vessels were delivered in quick succession by the yard which utilized a modular construction process, where all the modules are fabricated onshore under cover, then lowered down onto a 160-foot by 65-foot, 700-ton floating drydock for final assembly and fitting out. The yard is currently building a Tier IV tug for Harley Marine, to be delivered later this year.

Canadian Pilot Boats

Seattle-based Kvichak Marine Industries, acquired by Vigor last year, delivered several new vessels in 2015, including four similar but not identical pilot boats for two Canadian companies.

Early in the year, the company delivered two all-aluminum 36.6-foot crew/pilot boats to Tymac Launch Service, Ltd. of British Columbia, Canada. The boats, designed by Kvichak for the specific use of transporting 12 or fewer passengers, will provide transportation for BC Coast pilots, government officials, ships agents and surveyors, longshoremen and repair crews.

The two boats will operate in Vancouver Harbor, Indian Arm, Howe Sound, the Fraser River and Southern Gulf of Georgia Strait.

The boats are powered by twin John Deere 6090SFM85 diesel engines rated for 425 bhp driving Hamilton 322 waterjets through ZF 305-3 marine gears, providing a speed of 35 knots.

A month later, Kvichak delivered two similar boats to west coast Launch, Ltd., which operates year-round as a water transportation company in Prince Rupert, BC, Canada. The company serves clients including Pacific Pilotage Authority, Airport Authority, Canada Border Services Agency along with the Maher and Ridley Terminals. The company also serves the local First Nations Villages on a charter basis, and operate as Prince Rupert Adventure Tours offering Whale watching and Grizzly bear tours to the famous Khutzeymateen sanctuary.

The two vessels are powered by twin Volvo D11 diesel engines rated for 510 bhp, also driving Hamilton 322 jets through ZF 305 marine gears.

Containment Boom Deployment

The smallest workboat featured in Pacific Maritime Magazine last year was an oil spill containment boom deployment vessel, developed by Seattle's Snow & Company, designed to be fuel efficient, ergonomic, and built tough for demanding work conditions.

The 20-foot by 8-foot "Boomslinger" offers several options, including an outboard model and an inboard diesel model with a jet pump. The inboard jet model is equipped with an EPA tier III FNM four-cylinder 135 HP diesel engine, ZF 45 reversing gears, and an Almarin 185 jet. The diesel vessel is rigged to "run dry", so start up can happen before launching.

The new boat is constructed with heavy and frequent framing throughout, almost entirely of 0.25 inch, 5086 aluminum plate. The boat is ready for the abuse it is guaranteed to see on the most demanding jobs.

A second Olympic-class ferry was delivered to Washington State Ferries in May, to operate between Anacortes, Washington and the San Juan Islands. Photo courtesy of A second Olympic-class ferry was delivered to Washington State Ferries in May, to operate between Anacortes, Washington and the San Juan Islands. Photo courtesy of Vigor.

The beamy vessel has a relatively flat bottom (5 degrees dead rise mid to aft) for shallow draft constraints and better stability when crewmembers are working over one side. A 4-inch heavy wall HDPE (high density polyethylene) pipe collar with 2-inch polyethylene foam cushions behind it protects the entire perimeter. This bumper is a very durable and slippery means to aid in driving alongside vessels, pilings, and walls. There are large rubber-flapped freeing ports in the stern, with watertight decks and bulwarks, and the boat can be completely flooded and still have the ability to drive and maneuver (although with limited performance) while water quickly drains out of the stern.

For towing, a heavy wall 4-inch aluminum pipe post with various arrangements can be provided. A "flip down" 2-inch stainless steel pipe push knee can be lowered into the water for pushing booms, or pulled up on deck when traveling or driving over booms.

Four picking points are attached to the boat, and a harness is included, ready to clip in for quick launching and retrieval with a crane or davits.


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