Pacific Maritime Magazine - Marine Business for the Operations Sector

Full Speed Ahead!

Northwest Yards Keep Their Order Books Full


Hydrus is the first of four 135-foot by 38-foot, twin-hull 400-passenger ferries for San Francisco Bay's Water Emergency Transit Authority (WETA). Artwork courtesy of Vigor.

Shipyards and boatyards in the Pacific Northwest launched many notable vessels in 2016, and the order books for 2017 show a continued demand for more of these technical projects from complex tank barges to small cruise ships. Also of note is that most of these designs were produced by local naval architects, an exception being the 135-foot by 38-foot, twin-hull 400-passenger ferries for San Francisco Bay's Water Emergency Transit Authority (WETA) from the world leaders in this field, Incat Crowther of Australia.

This contract's first two vessels do showcase another unusual aspect of Washington's ship building sector – the ability to form partnerships to share the work and meet tight deadlines. Vigor's Ballard (Seattle) facility constructs the aluminum hulls, connects them with bow and stern decks, and installs the entire propulsion system, while Nichols Brothers, on Whidbey Island, Washington is fabricating the superstructure. The twin-hull platform is launched into the Seattle Ship Canal and towed to Nichols where it is hauled out and the deckhouse is lowered into place. This cooperative method was proved in the completion of four smaller Incat ferries for WETA nearly ten years ago.

The passenger area is fitted out and all related systems are installed before the complete catamaran returns to Ballard for final installation of controls to the twin MTU 12V4000 M64+ EPA Tier 3 engines, rated for 1,950 BHP at 1,830 RPM. These are coupled with ZF7600 reduction gears and five-bladed Michigan propellers.

According to MTU, these vessels will be the cleanest diesel-powered ferries in the world with a Hug selective catalytic reduction (SCR) exhaust after-treatment system, engineered by Pacific Power Group.

This is predicted to reduce carbon, nitrogen and particulate matter emissions by 10 tons per vessel per year. The Service speed will be 27 knots. The cost per boat is $16 million. The first vessel, named Hydrus, will be arriving in San Francisco Bay in early February, the date depending on weather conditions, and will undergo further tests and begin crew training in the spring. The superstructures for the third and fourth WETA cats will be built at Vigor's Harbor Island, Seattle yard.

AMHS Ferries

The Alaska Marine Highway System contracted with Elliott Bay Design Group (EBDG) to prepare a Design Study Report and associated vessel concept for a new ferry, which was completed in the summer of 2013. EBDG tested a 15-foot hull model in Norway to gauge its performance and motion in heavy weather on the Lynn Canal route between Juneau, Haines and Skagway. They presented the final design for the 280-foot by 67-foot "Day Boat Alaska Class" ro/pax ferry in 2014.

No federal money is being used on the project, allowing the state to construct the vessels in Alaska. The two keels were laid during a ceremony at Vigor's Shipyard in Ketchikan in December 2014. The twin vessels will each seat up to 300 passengers and carry 53 standard vehicles. Each ferry will feature bow and stern doors for quicker loading and unloading, fully enclosed car decks and controllable pitch propellers to maximize maneuverability and efficiency. Glosten Associates was retained as the owner's representative and to provide production design.

Glosten is using the 3D CAD/CAM engineering software system from Cadmatic in Turku, Finland to produce detailed drawings and cutting data for the 23 modules in each hull and to ensure accurate and timely assembly of the blocs. lan Coffin, Senior Project Manager at Vigor, says "Cadmatic has opened the doors to new technologies. We anticipate improved efficiencies and advancement of our shipbuilding capabilities."

This is reported to be the largest ship-building project ever undertaken in Alaska with the construction of modules taking place inside a new 70,000-square foot assembly building erected in 2012, followed by construction of a $10 million module fabrication shop. By January 2017, fifteen modules were assembled into the fore part of the first hull, which was weatherproofed and moved out of the building in November 2016.

There are currently more than 100 people assigned to the shop floor where four more modules are under construction including the engine room that will contain two 1,500-HP engines. The ferries will be launched via the yard's 430-foot drydock. The first vessel, named the Tazlina, is scheduled for delivery on October 15, 2018.

WSF-Vigor Seattle

Vigor is also building two more ro/pax ferries for Washington State Ferries at its Seattle Harbor Island Shipyard. The third Olympic class ferry Chimacum is set for delivery in early 2017 and Vigor laid the keel for Suquamish in May for delivery in fall 2018. The Chimacum remained dockside at Vigor's Harbor Island Shipyard until construction was complete and the vessel was prepared for sea trials in early 2017. It will replace an older vessel on the Seattle/Bremerton route.

The 362-foot Olympic-class vessels can carry 144 vehicles on two decks and can accommodate 1,500 passengers. The ferries are powered by twin EMD 12-710 engines producing 6,000 total HP with a service speed of 17 knots. The new vessels are replacing some of the oldest in the state ferry fleet, some dating back to the Eisenhower administration.

Tour Boats

All American Marine, Inc. (AAM) of Bellingham, Washington has moved into its new 57,000 square-foot building and begun construction on a new boat for Argosy Cruises of Seattle. The 125-foot by 34.5-foot aluminum three-deck monohull will be used on the popular route between Seattle's Pier 55 and its concession at Tillicum Village on Blake Island State Park, and for private event charters. The boat will have panoramic windows from both the main deck and second deck cabins, and is valued at close to $7 million.

Argosy selected a Teknicraft Design for the fuel-efficient aluminum vessel by NZ naval architect Nic de Waal, who also produces the plans for all the yard's Teknicraft catamarans. The new vessel will be certified under the latest US Coast Guard Subchapter K regulations to carry 500 passengers. The versatile floor plans will offer both fixed and configurable interior seating, elevator accessibility, and fully-equipped service bars.

The vessel will be powered with twin Tier 3 Scania DI 16-080M 9460 kW engines, each producing 617 BHP at 1,800 rpm, with Twin Disc reduction gears. Draft is 6 feet, 10 inches. Auxiliary power will be supplied by Northern Lights 65 kW and 40 kW (three phase) generators. "We have been working hard to reach this point and are truly excited about the comprehensive design and features that this new boat will offer to Argosy while moving the bar for our future designs," said AAM's CEO, Matt Mullett. The vessel is expected to be completed by October 2017.

Small Cruise Ships

The Whidbey Island yard of Nichols Brothers Boat Builders continues to be filled with projects well under way, the most visible being a pair of 238-foot by 45-foot, 100-passenger cruise ships for operation by Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic. Jensen Maritime is serving as the naval architect with interior design work provided by Tillberg Design International. The first is for delivery in the second quarter of 2017 and the second quarter of 2018.

Each ship will have 50 cabins, 22 with balconies and eight that can be configured into four adjoining cabins for families. An outdoor walkway will ring the sun deck, which will feature an alfresco bar and grill. They will be a third larger than the existing Lindblad vessels with an extra deck of passenger cabins and a more sophisticated exterior design.

These small cruise ships will carry a fleet of sea kayaks, paddleboards and specially-designed landing craft. Expedition technology will include a remotely operated vehicle, video microscope and a hydrophone and bow-cam to capture sounds and images of marine mammals. Lindblad Expeditions president and CEO Sven-Olof Lindblad called the newbuilds 'an exciting step in the long-term growth of the company,' adding that the company could now expand in the Americas 'where we have very strong demand.'

Pacific Power Group is supplying all four engines to each boat. The mains are two MTU 12v4000M54, 1,600 HP at 1,800 RPM, EPA T3, IMO II Emission Certified. They are connected to Reintjes WAF665 Free Standing reduction gears and the installation includes MTU Blue Vision New Generation Controls for three stations.

Two Volvo Penta D16 577 kWe marine generator set supply electrical power for the ship's system's and hotel demands, plus one Volvo Penta D9 230 kWe Marine Radiator Cooled Emergency generator set. Pacific Power Group has previously supplied MTU diesels and support to three older Lindblad vessels.

Nichols Brothers is also completing the first of a pair of 120-foot by 35-foot, 8,000 HP ATB tugs for Utah-based Savage Services for delivery in May 2017. Because Nichols has a full order book with more tugs under way, they will not be involved with Vigor on the third and fourth WETA cats.

New Fred Wahl Tug

Ruby Marine was established in 2006 in Nenana, Alaska to provide fuel and freight transportation service with two deck barges to the communities, fish camps, and mines along the Yukon, Tanana, Innoko, and Koyukuk rivers. In 2007, Fred Wahl's yard in Reedsport, Oregon produced a 72-foot by 30-foot triple-screw push boat for Ruby called the Yukon. It was designed by Frank Basile of Entech & Associates, Houma, Louisiana, with an extra-shallow draft of 3-feet, six inches to meet the demanding conditions of western Alaska's arctic coastline and Yukon River.

Wahl is currently building a sister tug, the Tanana, to ABS standards, with the same unusual versatility, power and stability. Propulsion is by three Scania DI16 080M V-16 diesels, each rayed at 550 HP (405 kW) continuous at 1,800 rpm. This Swedish Tier 3 engine features individual four-valve cylinder heads and unit injectors in the XPI common-rail fuel-injection system. Its three 38-inch by 26-inch, five-bladed Kaplan stainless steel propellers by Kruger & Sons of Seattle are tucked up into tunnels built into its swept-up stern Length. They are connected to Twin Disc MG 5202 SC, 2.48:1 reduction gears by 4-inch shafts. The gensets are a pair of 60-kW John Deere 4045's. There are accommodations for six in three staterooms, each with a head and shower, and a full galley with comfortable mess area. There is also a single berth in the wheelhouse stateroom. The new tug will be delivered in the spring, in time to reach the Bering Sea and begin service on the Yukon when the ice clears around mid-May.

110-foot Jensen Tug Design

JT Marine of Vancouver, Washington has completed the 110-foot by 40-foot hull of a multi-purpose tractor tug designed by Jensen for Vessel Chartering LLC. The builders are now installing power and Ballast Water systems that exceed the EPA regulations for a vessel whose construction was underway in 2016. The tug is powered by a pair of 3,385-hp Caterpillar 3516e Tier 4 engines, that are both equipped with Selective Catalyst Reaction (SCR) chambers. These neutralize the harmful NOx in the exhaust by scrubbing it with a urea solution carried in a 4,500 gallon tank.

The ballast system anticipates future restrictions on dumping ballast by dispensing with water altogether and using some of the 123,000 gallons of fuel onboard in its place, transferring it between tanks to maintain trim. The Seattle-based naval engineering and architecture firm, a subsidiary of Crowley Maritime Corp., developed the design jointly with the client. The goal is to combine the agility of smaller ship assist tugs with the towing ability and range of Jensen's 120-foot Titan ocean-going tugs.

For escort work, the hull has a full-length deep keel. For ship assist, it is equipped with an electrically-powered hawser winch forward from Markey Machinery with a 93-to-95 short-ton bollard pull that will be capable of handling 18,000 TEU container ships. For ocean towing, it has an electric, double-drum tow winch from Rapp USA. Using electrically powered winches eliminates any chance of a hydraulic oil spill on deck.

The large wheelhouse provides all-around visibility and the deckhouse below it is large enough to accommodate a crew up to 10, with a spacious galley, mess and lounge. Fresh water capacity is 4,300 gallons, with a water maker to top off potable water at sea. Vessel Chartering is a wholly-owned division of Baydelta Navigation Ltd, of San Francisco. Delivery is scheduled for the second quarter of 2017.

More ASDs for Harley

Harley is building two more Ramparts 2400 ship-handling tugs at Diversified Marine to the same Robert Allan design as their previous four vessels. They are also 80 feet by 36 feet and equipped with Markey winches. Power will come from a pair of Caterpillar 3516, Tier 3 engines, for a total of approximately 5,200 hp. The gensets are a pair of Tier 3 Caterpillar C7.1.

The new tugs are sister vessels to the Michelle Sloan and Lela Franco delivered in 2015-16 and are intended to enhance Harley's west coast fleet presence. Bollard pull will be 69 short tons ahead and 65 short tons astern. The twin tugs will be launched by the end of 2017 and will be named after two long-time members of Harley's board: Rich Padden and Dr. Hank Kaplan of Swedish Cancer Institute.

Harley took delivery in January of the Earl W Redd – the second 120-foot Jensen Titan design Diversified has built for them. This version is outfitted with Markey winches for long-haul towing and ship handling. It is also the first vessel in North America to be fitted with Caterpillar's Tier 4 version of its workhorse 3516 engine, now called the "3516e," with an SCR catalytic exhaust-scrubbing chamber. Remarkably, the engine's output has been increased to 2,682 hp at 1,600 rpm.

Jesse Bunker Vessel

The Global Provider is Maxum Petroleum's newest self-propelled bunkering vessel, currently under construction at the Jesse Company dock in Tacoma, Washington, and expected to enter service in the spring of this year. The 150,000-gallon capacity hull measures 126 feet in length, with a 32-foot beam, 10 feet of draft, and a 13-foot depth of hull. Elliott Bay Design Group (EBDG) balanced the vessel's performance with fabrication cost while remaining under 100 Gross Tons. The vessel displaces 326 long tons lightship and has an ABS loadline.

The six pairs of cargo tanks provide 3,700 bbls of MGO and 24,000 gallons lube oil capacity. The cargo handling system allows the vessel to move segregated products, lube and fuel oil without cross-contamination. Power is provided by a pair of Cummins QSK-19M, 660 HP Tier 3 engines with Twin Disc MGX 5170DC 3.12: 1 reduction gears driving two fixed pitch 99-inch diameter propellers.

Northern Lights Gensets will supply electrical and hydraulic power. The fuel is transferred from six pairs of tanks at up to 1,200 GPM by Blackmer pumps; a Rapp Marine HP20-2K 30-foot crane is fitted to handle heavy hoses.

Reliable steering and exceptional maneuverability when coming alongside ships is ensured by a pair of Deflector high-lift rudders. EBDG Project Manager, James Jennings is "proud of the results of our work with Maxum and Jesse Engineering designing such a capable vessel to support the Puget Sound Maritime Community." Maxum Petroleum is a leading provider of marine diesel fuel and lubricants on the west coast between San Diego, California and Vancouver, BC.


Tazlina is the first of two 280-foot by 67-foot "Day Boat Alaska Class" ro/pax ferries being built in Vigor's shipyard in Ketchikan, for the Alaska Marine Highway System. Photo courtesy of Vigor.

Gunderson Marine, the marine division of the Greenbrier Companies, is building two 430-foot by 76-foot articulated ocean-going barges for Harley Marine Services, Inc., each with a capacity of 82,000 barrels. Construction began by mid-2016, with delivery of both vessels scheduled to occur during the second half of 2017. Their state-of-the-art nitrogen gas generators inject nitrogen into all cargo compartments, maintaining an inert or oxygen deficient environment, which greatly increases the safety of the cargo.

The system adds another vital level of protection to the transportation and handling of the customers' petroleum products. These ATB's will be coupled with Articouple pins to 116-foot tugs being built at Conrad Shipyard of Morgan City, Louisiana.

Final Zidell Barge

The Zidell yard in SW Portland is constructing its 277th and final barge after 55 years at the site by the Ross Island Bridge. This will be another petroleum river barge with an 80,000-barrel capacity and a stern notch. Zidell began barge manufacturing at the site in 1961 after a decade dismantling naval ships built in WW II.


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