Young Brothers Takes Delivery of the First of Four Damen-designed Tugs for Hawaii Inter-island Service

Vessel Profile: M/V Kāpena Jack Young


September 1, 2018

The new boat has an extended aft deck with 1,450 square feet of available cargo space to hold containers or other modular cargo. Photo courtesy Conrad Shipyard.

Young Brothers of Hawaii, the largest provider of inter-island barge services, is updating its fleet with four Damen-designed 6,000-hp 123-foot by 36.5-foot ocean-going tugs from Conrad Shipyard of Morgan City, Louisiana. The first vessel is named Kāpena Jack Young after one of the founders of the company, and was delivered by Conrad on July 2. It will be home-ported in Kaunakakai, Molokai, and will be joined by three more "Kāpena" class vessels now under construction and scheduled to be completed over the next year.

"The four new Kāpena class tugs represent our future while honoring our past. The average age of our fleet will be reduced from 44 years to 12 years," said Joe Boivin, recently appointed president of Young Brothers – an independent subsidiary of the Saltchuk group's Foss Maritime based in Seattle. Young Brothers' 360 employees serve the small ports in the Neighbor Islands at least twice a week by overnight sailings from its base in Honolulu. They have been operating with a fleet of seven towboats that ranges from 3,000 to 4,100 HP with an average age of 44 years.

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The new tugs will improve the company's ability to provide "just-in-time" cargo service to Island communities, with a faster towing speed, better operating efficiency, and lower engine emissions. "Foss Maritime worked with Young Brothers to research various tug hull designs, engines, and towing equipment options," said John Parrott, Foss' president and CEO. "I'm very impressed with the work that has been done by Damen USA and Conrad Shipyard in the delivery of the first of our four new, state-of-the-art, Tier 4 tugs."

Some notable features the team specified were an aft deck with space to hold containers or other modular cargo, accommodations for ten, and superior maneuverability in Hawaii's small harbors exposed to strong tradewinds. The technical requirements included classification to XABS A1 Towing, US flag (<400GRT), and meeting EPA Tier 4. After an analysis of engine options, they decided that it would be impractical to select Tier 4 engines using SCR (selective catalytic reduction) because that would require them to stockpile urea (diesel exhaust fluid) at all the small ports they served. That led the engineers to select General Electric medium-speed engines that use the alternative emission-control system – EGR (exhaust gas re-circulation).

Damen's naval architects were able to integrate elements from several proven vessels to create a design specification for a new hull with an extended aft deck with 1,450 square feet of available cargo space and meet all other requirements. The new model is called the Stan 3711 class, and will become another standardized tug design in Damen's portfolio. Based in the Netherlands with a network of shipyards in Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia, Damen provides complete design and construction services for a wide range of craft from dredges to fast ferries.

In 2016, with plans for more than 200 boats already sold in the US, the company opened an office in Houston, Texas. Young Brothers was one of the first operators to benefit from this initiative; the full design package comprised a license and materials agreement with a partial prefabricated shipbuilding kit supplied by Damen Technical Corp. The final version of the Stan 3711 was given an accommodation block with fully air-conditioned and insulated living spaces for ten crew, consisting of 6 state rooms with bathroom/showers, combined pantry/ mess and stores. The hull's molded depth is 15 feet/4.80 m, draft is 16.5 feet.

Conrad has five shipyards along the Gulf Coast, four in Louisiana and one in Texas, which focus on various markets including inland waterway vessels, barges, and inland and offshore tugs. They have a strong connection with Seattle-based Harley Marine, having built two-dozen vessels for them, but this was their first experience with Damen, said René J. Leonard, vice president of business development and engineering. "I went to the Netherlands to work through some of the details of the final design to incorporate requirements that are unique to the United States, and customer-specific modifications," he explained.

He then sent a team of eight to the Netherlands to review the design and materials package. The engine room layout was centered on a propulsion system of twin Tier 4 GE 8L250 MDC MR engines with a total power of 6,027 bhp (4,500kW) at 900 rpm. Reduction gears are Reintjes WAF 3455 / 5.524:1, propellers are 3,200 mm fixed pitch with nozzles by Damen. The Damen family of companies also includes a specialized rudder design-and-build department under the brand name "Van der Velden." It supplied a pair of Barke flap rudders for the final design to provide a steering system with maximum response from the Van der Velden Marine systems fore and aft consoles in the pilothouse.

The package provides 80 Metric tons of bollard pull, and the boat's free-running speed is 12.5 knots.

The engine cooling system is an innovative Norwegian modular system from ME Sperre Coolers AS, and fresh water is supplied by an Aquamar evaporator-distillation type watermaker that runs on waste heat from engine jacket water.

Service power comes from three identical CAT C7.1 TA generators producing 147 kVA, 480V at 60Hz. The lighting network is single-phase 110/208V at 60Hz via transformer. The deck was engineered to receive towing equipment from two of Seattle's world-class marine manufacturers – Markey electric winches and Smith Berger deck gear. The towing winch is a 100-hp Markey TESD-34AUL and the anchor winch is a Markey WESD-16-16-26 with a windlass and two wildcats. Smith Berger Marine supplied the combined tow pin/stern roller (flush-deck type) and 200MTS shark jaws.

"Damen has such a global presence, and the standardization over their various products gives them better buying-power than we can achieve as an individual Shipyard, so the material package for the client ends up being much less expensive," Leonard commented. "There are also long term benefits for customers because Damen can provide long-term support, including warranties, maintenance and spare parts, as well as technical assistance," he pointed out. Total coast of the four tugs is around $80 million. Other Damen clients in the US include the US Coast Guard for its 154-foot Sentinel-Class cutter, and the high-power escort tugs for the ECO (Chouest) service in Valdez, Alaska with up to 150 tons of bollard pull.

The christening of the Kāpena Jack Young was attended by representatives of Young Brothers, Foss Maritime, Conrad, and Damen, and was sponsored by Sharon Young, granddaughter of Jack Young, who was one of three brothers who founded the company in 1900.

"Kāpena" means "captain" in the Hawaiian language, and the name for the class of ships celebrates the skill and innovation of Young Brothers' Hawaiian navigators. Each of the four new Kāpena class tugs will be named after an original Young Brothers' captain, including nā Kāpena George Panui Sr., Bob Purdy, and Raymond Alapai.

Young Brothers serves several ports in Hawaii, including Nāwiliwili on Kaua'i island, Kahului on Maui, Kaunakakai on Moloka'i, Kaumalapau on Lāna'i, Honolulu on O'ahu, plus Hilo and Kawaihae on the island of Hawaii, with most routes serviced at least twice a week by overnight sailings.

An auspicious start for the newly-christened Kāpena Jack Young is an impromptu escort by a pair of dolphins. Photo courtesy of Young Bros.


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