Pacific Maritime Magazine - Marine Business for the Operations Sector

Vessels on the Ways


February 1, 2019

General Dynamics NASSCO is building two combination container and roll-on/roll-off vessels for Matson Navigation Company, with LNG-capable main and auxiliary engines. Artwork courtesy of General Dynamics NASSCO.

From pilot boats to ferries and container ships, west coast shipyards are hard at work, building vessels capable of carrying things vital to our daily lives or guiding them safely through Harbor spaces.

Some are constructing vessels that will move hundreds of TEUs of goods such as food and vehicles, while others are building the vessels that will likely become the mode of transportation for commuters in the San Francisco Bay.

Whatever the ship, ferry or tug, west coast companies are constructing them to be state-of-the-art vessels, many of them fuel-efficient, sustainable workhorses.

Here's a sampling of what's under construction:

Nichols Brothers Boat Builders

One of the Pacific Northwest's prolific shipyards, Nichols Brothers Boat Builders, continues to be a go-to builder for companies in need of fast, efficient vessels. The company secured major contracts at the beginning and the end of

last year.

In February 2018, the company announced that it had inked an agreement with Baydelta Maritime LLC to construct a new 100-foot by 40-foot Delta Class Hybrid Z-Drive Tractor Tug, the seventh tug NBBB has built for the San Francisco company, which performs escorts and assists in the Bay Area.

This newest one, however, is Baydelta Maritime's first hybrid tractor tug, allowing it to draw power in three ways, conserve fuel and curb emissions.

"Nichols Brothers is excited about the opportunity to build our seventh Delta Class tractor tug for Baydelta Maritime," said NBBB Executive Vice President Matt Nichols of the tug, scheduled for delivery in the first quarter of 2019. "It is even more exciting to take the design even further with a hybrid concept. Between the expertise at Jensen, the fine craftsmen at Nichols, and the dedication of Baydelta, this vessel will demonstrate and exceed durable performance, reliability, and environmental responsiveness."

The new tug is equipped with a pair of Caterpillar C3516 C Tier 3 diesel engines each rated at 1,995 kW at 1,600 rpm supplied by Portland, Oregon-based Peterson Power, and a pair of Rolls Royce supplied 424-kW electric motors.

The z-drive system, consisting of a pair of Rolls Royce 255FP units, can take power from the diesel engines, electric motors or both. Powering the electric motors are three CAT C9.3, 480V 3-phase generators providing 300-kW at 1,800 rpm, and one Harbor generator, a C7.1, 480V, 3-phase unit providing 150 kW at 1,800 rpm, all from Peterson Power.

"The flexibility provided by the drive system will allow loitering and transit at up to 7-8 knots in electric-only mode, then a bollard pull of better than 90 short tons in combined diesel-electric mode," according to Nichols. "The vessel will maintain the exceptional maneuverability, stability, and towing capacity of the earlier Delta Class vessels."

The tug will be outfitted with a Rolls Royce-supplied control system and main switchboard as well as electric motors and their control cabinets. It will also have seven berths, a Rapp Marine electric hawser winch, and a single drum tow winch, and Centa carbon fiber shafts.

Seattle-based Jensen Maritime Consultants designed the hybrid tug.

"Jensen is proud to have been chosen as the design firm on this project and looks forward to seeing the vessel through from concept to completion," said Bryan Nichols, director of business development at Jensen Maritime. "We have a long-standing partnership with Baydelta and Nichols Brothers and are proud to once again be chosen for this historic build. It demonstrates our commitment to innovative, environmentally friendly design while continuing to deliver powerful, high-quality performance. This tug will meet the industry's demand for strong, yet nimble vessels with the quality design people expect from us."

In November 2018, it was announced that NBBB had signed a contract with Seattle-based Foss Maritime to build four new 90-ton bollard pull tractor tugs with an option for six more.

The tugs will operate in ports and harbors on the west coast, handling ship-related duties, and are similar to a fleet of six boats the yard built for San Francisco's Baydelta between 2006 and 2014.

The partnership is a first for the maritime veteran firms, both well-known in Puget Sound.

"Nichols Brothers Boat Builders is excited that Foss Maritime has chosen our Shipyard to build their new tugs in this important program," said Tor Hovig, NBBB Vice President of Sales and Customer Relations. "This is the first contract we have had with Foss, and it allows us the opportunity to work with one of the most respected players in the US tug and workboat industry."

Foss also went with local company Jensen Maritime Consultants of Seattle to design the 100-foot by 40-foot Z-Drive tractor tugs, to be outfitted with a pair of MTU series 4000 main engines meeting Tier 4 emission standards and Rolls-Royce US255 azimuth thrusters. The tugs' Z-drives and main engines will also be outfitted with condition-based monitoring. Markey winches will complete the package.

To get the vessels delivered in an expedited manner, NBBB will employ a new production line to speed up delivery of the tugs. The first of the four is expected to be delivered starting in the winter of 2020.

"With the series of vessels included in this program, we look forward to working with Foss for a long time ahead," Hovig said.

General Dynamics NASSCO

In its San Diego Shipyard, General Dynamics NASSCO has been hard at work on two Kanaloa-class containerships for Matson Navigation Company, Inc., beginning in 2017 on the first ship, Lurline, followed by Matsonia in April 2018.

This class of vessels, which will be tasked with ferrying containers, vehicles and wheeled products between Hawaii and the US west coast mainland, is named "Kanaloa" as an homage to a Hawaiian ocean deity. The vessels are named after predecessor ships taken from Matson's 135-year history.

NASSCO, which delivered one of the world's first LNG-powered containerships, is building Matson's 870-foot-long, 3,500 TEU platform combination container and roll-on/roll-off vessels with liquefied natural gas-capable main and auxiliary engines, complying with Tier III emission requirements.

Each vessel will have a deep draft of 38 feet and a capacity for as many as 800 vehicles or breakbulk cargo within its enclosed garage space.

NASSCO also teamed up with DSEC Co., Ltd. – a partner for more than a decade – for the newest and greenest in ship design and shipbuilding technologies.

"Designing and building these vessels brings pride to every member of our team," said Kevin Graney, president of General Dynamics NASSCO. "It's an honor to add the Kanaloa-class vessels to NASSCO's decades-long history in Jones Act ship production."

Lurline is expected to be completed in late 2019, followed by Matsonia in the second quarter of 2020.

"Matson's customers in the Hawaii trade rely on us for dependable delivery of their goods, and these new Kanaloa-class vessels designed specifically for serving Hawaii will ensure we meet the highest standards of efficiency and reliability," said Matson president Ron Forest.

Gunderson Marine

In July 2018, it was announced that Portland-based Greenbrier Companies, Inc. subsidiary Gunderson Marine had signed an agreement with Tampa-based energy transportation services provider Overseas Shipholding Group, Inc. to build a 204,000-barrel capacity oil and chemical tank barge for dual mode ATB service, with an option to build a second sister barge that could be ready in late 2020.

"The Gunderson Marine contract for construction of a new barge is an exciting development for OSG," said OSG President and CEO Sam Norton. "This transaction represents the first significant new capital investment into our Jones Act businesses in nearly a decade and is an affirmation of our commitment to operate ATBs, as well as tankers, within this market."

This comes on the heels of OSG's earlier announcement of a contract with Hyundai Mipo Dockyard Company Ltd. to build a pair of 50,000-dwt product chemical tankers, to be delivered in late 2019.

"Following on from the two tanker contracts announced earlier this month, this additional newbuild initiative underscores our leading presence in the US Flag petroleum transportation sector," Norton said. "We look forward to the contribution that this effort will make to our long-term success."

Meanwhile, the 581-foot tank barge, designed by Louisiana-based naval architecture firm Guarino & Cox, is the biggest one to be built by Gunderson Marine and is designed to complement Overseas Shipholding's fleet of tugs as an articulated tug barge.

"Our partnership with OSG for new ATB construction builds on Gunderson Marine's strong reputation for providing safe and efficient ocean-going, Jones Act barges for the transportation of petrochemicals, crude oil, refined petroleum products and chemicals," said Greenbrier Chairman and CEO William A. Furman. "Operating from the largest side launch on the west coast, Gunderson Marine is the only Shipyard in the western United States with successful experience in building ATBs of the type we will deliver to OSG."

Currently under construction and scheduled for delivery in the second quarter of 2020, the barge will be compliant with MARPOL Annex VI Regulation 13 Tier III standards for nitrogen oxide emissions within emission control areas.

"Gunderson is a great place to work and our agreement with OSG fortifies a strong baseload of business over the next few years," said Mark Eitzen, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Gunderson. "We have recently added more than 100 workers to our Portland waterfront operations to support our expanded manufacturing of both marine and rail products. We expect to add at least 150 new jobs over the next several months, all with competitive pay and benefits, as our total employment in Portland moves above 1,200 people."

Bay Area Ferries

To meet the rising demand of ferry transit service, the San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority has been investing in the construction of several ferries in recent years to expand San Francisco Bay Ferry service.

WETA has an aggressive 20-year strategy that envisions a ferry system that will run 12 services at 16 terminals with 44 vessels by 2035. Currently, the San Francisco Bay Ferry has six services at nine terminals with 14 vessels.

The latest investment came in the form of a $13 million contract awarded in October to La Conner, Washington-based Mavrik Marine to construct a new 300-passenger high-speed ferry that is anticipated to be in service in 2020.

This WETA contract is a first for Mavrik Marine, which produces a variety of high performance vessels including commercial fishing boats, ferries, research and patrol boats.

Able to accommodate at least 35 bicycles, this ferry will be a welcomed addition to the fleet.

WETA will begin expanded service to Richmond this year, and to San Francisco and Seaplane Lagoon in Alameda in the coming years. WETA is also looking to expand the service frequency on existing routes to and from Vallejo, the East Bay and South San Francisco.

"We're aggressively expanding San Francisco Bay Ferry service, and we need additional vessels to meet the high demand," said WETA executive director Nina Rannells. "This new vessel will play a key role in our fleet, complementing higher-capacity boats while being versatile enough to serve every terminal in the WETA system. It also boosts our emergency response capabilities by adding capacity."

This will be the eighth vessel being built to augment WETA's fleet since 2017, with more to come in the next few years.

Currently under construction are a trio of new high-speed 445-passenger ferries by Dakota Creek Industries Inc. in Anacortes, the first to be delivered in 2019. Each one costs $19.2 million, accommodates 24 bicycles and has two MTU 16V4000 EPA Tier 4 engines.

Nichols Bros. is finishing a new 100-foot by 40-foot Delta Class Hybrid Z-Drive Tractor Tug for San Francisco's Baydelta Maritime LLC. Artwork courtesy of Nichols Bros.

The three 142-foot-long aluminum catamaran fast ferries are being built in partnership with AMD Marine Consulting of Australia, who was selected as the naval architect. Both firms are no stranger to teaming up on projects, having worked on six fast ferries together since 1997 - all of which are serving the San Francisco Bay Area.

In fact, the design for the new ferries is modeled after the Solano, built by Dakota Creek in 2004.

The newest ferries, however, will accommodate more passengers while meeting speed requirements and be outfitted with MTU Tier IV engines and waterjet propulsion by HamiltonJet.

Meanwhile, Vigor, which has already delivered three aluminum 400-passenger ferries since 2017, is also expected to deliver its fourth $15.1 million ferry to WETA in early 2019. Each has two decks, the capacity to hold 50 bicycles, runs on two MTU 12V4000 Tier 3 engines with Selenium Catalytic Reduction and has a service speed of 27 knots, according to WETA.


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