Pacific Maritime Magazine - Marine Business for the Operations Sector

Vessels on the Ways


February 1, 2020

The soon-to-be-delivered Sause Brothers tug Geronimo is seen here in the drydock at Diversified Marine Industries in Portland, Oregon. Photo by Kurt Redd courtesy of Diversified Marine Industries.

The latest reports from west coast shipyards strongly suggest that 2020 will be another successful year for boat and small ship builders on the west coast. From Vallejo, California to Homer, Alaska aluminum catamarans again stand out with versatile designs from 40 feet to 140 feet still in demand, while orders for a dozen tugs of all sizes and an ATB fuel barge show that ship-handling and barge hauling services are continuing to upgrade their fleets to meet new regulatory and environmental standards.

Crowley ATB for Western Alaska

Crowley Fuels has contracted with Greenbrier Marine (formerly Gunderson Marine) of Portland, Oregon to build a 350-foot, 55,000-barrel, articulated tug-barge (ATB) designed by Crowley Maritime subsidiary Jensen Maritime, to serve the Western Alaska market with clean fuels. With a coupled length of 410 feet, the ATB will be connected by an Intercon Series-C Coupler and will carry a full complement of spill response gear, including 2,000 feet of boom and a work skiff to meet State of Alaska requirements.

Engineering features include increased structural framing, shell plating, and extended zero discharge endurance to meet all ABS Ice-class and IMO Polar Code requirements. Additionally, the ATB will feature the capability to perform nearshore ship-to-ship cargo transfers and the barge will be fitted with an azimuthing pump-jet bow thruster to provide enhanced maneuverability and station-keeping capability.

The coupler system is manufactured by Intercon in Kansas City, Missouri. It features a fail-safe mechanical connection with redundant controls, two independently mounted ram assemblies for a connection that is rigid and mechanically locked.

Master Boat Builders, Bayou La Batre, Alabama will build the ASD tug, which will be powered by two GE 6L250 Tier 4 engines, and equipped with a fire monitor and foam proportioner to provide off-ship firefighting capabilities. The ATB will be in service under charter in Alaska to Petro Star Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of arctic Slope Regional Corp. (ASRC). The barge will be named Oliver Leavitt, in honor of ASRC's former chairman and current member of the corporation's board of directors. The tug will be named Aveogan, Leavitt's Iñupiat name. This will be the 10th barge Gunderson Marine has built for Crowley since 1985.

Three Yards Delivering US Navy Tugs

Dakota Creek in Anacortes, Wash., is continuing work on a new class of 90-foot tugs for the US Navy. The design is based on the Valiant class (YT-800) of "Yard" tugboats. The YT-808 will be the first of a contract that has grown to six vessels that are expected to be completed by August 2021 for a contract worth $80 million. The design is an updated version of the Z-Tech by Robert Allan Ltd., of Vancouver BC, which is well-established as the leading tug design office internationally.

With an updated deck house, new EPA Tier 4 engines and a new type of underwater fendering, these boats will be used by the US Navy to perform ship-handling duties for the full range of US Navy surface warships, barges and submarines. Propulsion will be two Caterpillar 3512E engines with SCR after-treatment – each rated at 1,800 hp at 1,600 rpm turning Schottel's latest high-performance azimuthing stern drives with anodes recessed into the nozzle. The Leacon sealing system prevents oil from escaping into the seawater, which complies with EPA regulations, according to Schottel. The bollard pull is predicted to be 43 tons with a free-running speed of 12 knots.

Dakota Creek received a $280,878 grant from the US Maritime Administration's Small Shipyard Grant Program for the purchase of a steel frame-bending machine as well as a computer-controlled router last year. Seven employees have been trained to operate the Netherlands-made steel frame bender, the only one in the US, the company says. The yard will soon complete the order for three 142-foot aluminum, high-speed, 445-passenger ferries for the WETA in San Francisco Bay with the launch of the last boat, the Lyra.

After delivering four 40-foot by 17-foot boats in the "Workboat Large" class for the US Navy, Snow Boat Building of Seattle has won additional orders for these sturdy general-purpose tugs with aluminum superstructures. They are propelled by a pair of Cummins QSM11 mains with shaft brakes, each developing 455 hp at 2,100 RPM. This gives the vessel a bollard pull of around ten tons and a speed of nine knots. The foredeck is equipped with a pair of Pullmaster winches, push knees and a heavy bitts, with smaller bitts and cleats on the aft deck.

Modutech Marine Inc., of Tacoma, Washington has contracted with Robert Allan Ltd. to design a new version of their commercially successful RAscal 1800-Z tugs for the US Navy. The new 63-foot by 31-foot by 11-foot Rascal tug will be called the "YT 815 class." The tug will be powered by twin 1,300-hp diesel engines and will have a bollard pull of 30 metric tons. The engine room will include changes to suit EPA Tier 4 engines with SCR exhaust-treatment systems. The steel hull will be fitted with extensive fendering above and below the waterline to handle Navy surface ships, submarines and barges.

Modutech Marine has also announced another new contract with NAVSEA for a 65-foot aluminum dive boat. The design is by Hockema, Whalen, Myers and Associates and power and generation will be by Cummins.

Nichols Brothers Building 100-foot Jensen Tugs for Foss

Foss Maritime of Seattle, Washington has contracted with Nichols Brothers Boat Builders for the construction of four 90-ton bollard pull tractor tugs with an option for six additional vessels to follow. Foss has selected a proven design by Jensen Maritime Consultants. The 100-foot by 40-foot Z-Drive tractor tugs will be built to United States Coast Guard Subchapter M regulatory standards, with ABS loadline certification, and UWILD notation. They will be equipped with two MTU series 4000 main engines with Tier 4 SCR emission treatment, Kongsberg US255 azimuthing thrusters and Markey winches. The first four vessels will be delivered beginning winter 2020 through winter 2021.

Diversified Completing Tugs for Sause and Brusco

Diversified Marine of Portland is completing an order for two long-haul towboats for Sause Brothers of Coos Bay, Oregon using their 128-by-35-foot Mikiona-class design. The first boat named Apache was launched last June, the second, Geronimo, will be delivered early in 2020. This design was originally developed in-house in 2005 and two vessels were launched in 2006-7, the Mikiona and Cochise. Sause was one of the first of the operators on the west coast to specify MTU engines, which they began installing in re-powers in the late 1990's.

The two new tugs are also equipped with MTU's 4000-series V-16 engine, now with an EPA Tier 3 certification and a higher continuous rating of 2,000-hp. The propulsion system includes Reintjes reduction gears, Nautican nozzles and custom three-bladed screws from Sound Propeller. The double-vane rudders aft of each nozzle are pre-fabricated by Sause Bros. Shipyard, Southern Oregon Marine (SOMAR). Bollard pull is about 65 tons.

Electrical power is provided by two 99-kW John Deere PowerTech 4045 gensets. The Rapp hydraulic winches fore and aft have been updated with the Pentagon touch-screen system in the wheelhouse. (Rapp is now a division of McGregor Cargotech.)

Diversified is also building another 80-foot ASD tug for Brusco Tug & Barge based on a standard Robert Allan design with beam increased to 40 feet. Caterpillar is supplying a complete Tier 4 MTA integrated propulsion system, comprising engine, clutch, shaft, ASD and assorted mechanicals. Diversified Marine was the first yard to install this system in 2017 on a pair of Harbor tugs for Harley Marine.

Western Towboat Building a Harbor Tug

The family-owned company Western Towboat of Seattle continues its tradition of building in-house with the launch and first trials of the 19th hull – an 80-foot Harbor assist tug named Mariner. It is powered by twin 2,000 hp Caterpillar Tier 3 engines turning Schottel ASD's. A notable feature is that both winches are custom built to the company's specifications.

The bow winch was supplied by European manufacturer DMT. It incorporates modern ideas including a full cover and large integral hydraulic motor and tank on the starboard side. "We were also able to specify our expected winch line pull, speed and features we were looking for with a stainless steel drum-brake lining for added longevity. It also features the new technology we are seeing for today's ship escort work," said Russell Shrewsbury, one of the company owners.

The crew's first impressions were very positive and the 40-ton pull was achieved as promised, he added. For the aft towing winch, the team decided to go one step further and design and assemble it themselves – with the assistance of the talented specialists in fabrication and engineering in the Ballard district of Seattle.

Catamarans Designed, Built, and Based in Alaska

Bay Welding in Homer, Alaska is continuing to produce catamarans in the 35- to 75-foot range for use in-state with designs from Coastwise Corporation of Anchorage.

The latest contract is a repeat order from Juneau Tours and Whale Watch for a second 49.5-foot by 17.5-foot vessel – a sister ship to the 49.5-foot Atlin, delivered in 2017. The design is for a USCG-inspected subchapter-T passenger vessel certified to carry up to 49 passengers on exposed waters.

The propulsion will be quad 350-hp Yamaha outboards for a 28-knot cruising speed with a full load of 49 passengers. This vessel can reach a top speed of more than 40 knots with a reduced load. Fuel capacity is 500 gallons giving a cruising range of 225 miles. The large windows are by Diamond Sea Glaze and in good weather, the rooftop viewing area is approved for use by all the passengers. Three Espar heaters keep the cabin warm; the public address is a Fusion intercom system

A Full House at Armstrong Marine

Armstrong Marine in Port Angeles, Washington has followed a strong year with a full order book at the start of 2020 for four catamarans to 46 feet. Alaska Tales Whale Watching, located in Juneau, ordered a third vessel after the delivery of the 45-foot by 18-foot George Ryan in April 2019. This sister ship is an Armstrong design, described as "a high-tunnel semi-displacement catamaran," USCG Subchapter T certified for 49 passengers and 3 crew.

Power is provided with quad Suzuki 350 hp outboards, paired with SeaStar Optimus EPS steering, and fuel is carried in twin 300-gallon fuel tanks. The electronics and navigation package are provided by Garmin/NMEA. The upper pilothouse has a Bentley Patriot seat for the helmsman and bench seats for crew members. The layout features multiple viewing decks with mitered AJR Marine windows and stainless steel cable railings to ensure clear views from the interior. The main cabin is fitted with Freedman Glitz seating, two Webasto heaters, and carpeting.

Although the order from the Hat Island Ferry is for another 49-passenger, Subchapter T 45-foot by 18-foot ferry, this is a completely different type of vessel from the high speed tour boats. It was ordered by the Hat Island Community Association that represents the 200 families with vacation houses on the one-square mile private island located between Everett and Whidbey Island. The run from Everett takes about half an hour, so the deck is fitted with two passenger gates at the bow plus a side door aft to expedite the boarding process.

The semi-displacement catamaran is designed with shaft & wheel propulsion powered by twin Cummins QSL9 405-hp engines and SeaStar EPS electronic steering. A ZF CruiseCommand system provides superior vessel control from the raised pilothouse or second station forward. Two bow thrusters and aluminum push knees with rubber fendering ease repeated mooring. Additional exterior customizations include 12 deck tie-down points and an aluminum davit for cargo transport.

The ferry features a full galley, head, Northern Lights 9kW generator, Garmin/NMEA electronics package, and PA system. The full-width main cabin is fitted with cushioned benches, luggage lockers and overhead bins. Heat and A/C keep the passengers comfortable year-round. "By closely collaborating with the stakeholders, we've designed a vessel that will be uniquely well-suited to their community's needs," said Charlie Crane, Armstrong Marine USA Sales & Marketing Director. Completion is slated for Fall, 2020.

The third vessel is a 45-foot twin-hull pilot boat for the National Park Service for operation in Glacier Bay, Alaska and the fourth is a 46-foot water taxi catamaran for Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Nichols Brothers Building Ferries for Kitsap County

Nichols Brothers is continuing work on two 250 passenger fast ferries for Kitsap County to run on the Kingston and Southworth routes across Puget Sound to Pier 50 in Seattle. The 140-foot by 37-foot catamarans were designed in the UK by BMT Nigel Gee.

The ferries will be the first in the Northwest to be powered by two MTU Tier 4 16V400M65L main engines with a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) exhaust after-treatment system supplied by Pacific Power Group of Kent, Washington.

Each engine will produce 3,435 hp at 1,800 rpm, through ZF 9050 gears, turning Kamewa S71-4 waterjets. Maximum speed will be 37 knots and a cruise speed of 35 knots is expected at full load. The first boat is expected to be launched early in 2020. A Naiad Interceptor active ride- control system will be fitted to reduce motion in a seaway.

All American Marine Launches Cat for Texas Fish & Game

Early in 2020, All American Marine Inc. (AAM), Bellingham, Washington, will be launching an 80-foot by 27-foot long-range hydrofoil-assisted aluminum catamaran for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TWPD). All American is the exclusive builder for Teknicraft Design Ltd. catamarans in North America and the new vessel will combine innovative design features critical to modern law enforcement on the water. One notable feature is Teknicraft's revolutionary Rapid RHIB launching system that will increase safety and speed to deploy the vessel's rigid hull inflatable boat.

Power will come from twin Caterpillar C18 engines with commercial rating of 469-715 bhp at 1800-2100 rpm with HamiltonJet HM521 waterjets. TPWD is responsible for patrolling Texas state waters, out to nine nautical miles in the Gulf of Mexico. However, TPWD and Texas game wardens also patrol an additional 200 nautical miles into exclusive economic zones through a joint enforcement agreement with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA).

The game wardens needed a vessel capable of operating in adverse sea and weather conditions to fulfill this mission. This new vessel will fill a vital role in the enforcement of environmental and patrolling responsibilities. Texas game wardens are the first line of defense in the state's and nation's border security initiatives in the Gulf of Mexico.

Mavrik to Build Second Fast Ferry for WETA

There are currently 15 ferries built in Washington state operating in San Francisco Bay Ferry service, with two additional vessels (445-passenger Lyra from Dakota Creek and 300-passenger Dorado from Mavrik) under construction and on track for 2020 completion. WETA has added six new ferries with a combined 2,490 seats to its fleet since 2017. This vessel investment has allowed WETA to extend San Francisco Bay Ferry service to Richmond and add much-need capacity on the popular Vallejo, Alameda and Oakland routes. Ferry ridership has doubled since 2012.

Solano, a 320-passenger ferry, is due for retirement and sale out-of-state at the end of 2019 due to state emissions rules. On December 16, the San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA) authorized the agency to exercise a $14.8 million build option for a second 300-passenger high-speed ferry from Mavrik Marine of LaConner, Washington to support growth of San Francisco Bay Ferry service.

The 125-foot by 33-foot Mavrik design comes from Australian naval architects One2three, and will be powered by a pair of Tier 4 MTU 12V4000M65R engines each producing 2,000 hp to turn Hamilton waterjets for a service speed of 32 knots. When completed in 2021, this latest ferry will bring the WETA fleet to 17 vessels and 6,000 total seats, both all-time highs.

"WETA is moving aggressively to rapidly expand San Francisco Bay Ferry capacity as opportunities become available," said Nina Rannells, WETA's executive director. "Our new vessels, including this second ferry from Mavrik Marine, will support our ability to deliver high-quality service on our current routes and help us to deliver service to new terminals expected to come online in the years to come."

The new vessel's design, construction and delivery will be funded through a combination of State Proposition 1B grant funds, proceeds from the sale of recently retired ferries, and State Transit Assistance funds.

Moose Boats Keeps California in the Running

Moose Boats located in the Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo, California is nearing the launch of a 75-foot by 24-foot catamaran crew boat designed by the Australia architects Incat Crowther for Westar Marine Services of San Francisco. The Subchapter T design incorporates a 20-foot by 20-foot rear cargo deck that has a 20,000-lb. capacity, with a cabin that can seat a crew of three and up to 28 passengers. The propulsion system consists of a pair of Volvo 6-cylinder D13 12.8-liter engines turning a Volvo IPS900 steerable pod drive turning twin counter-rotating propellers. Each engine will produce 690 hp (515 kW) and will be operated by integrated IPS controls and steering; the running speed is estimated to be 27 knots.

Moose has continued to offer the two standard catamarans it has successfully built for law enforcement, emergency response, and security patrol use. The first M2-38 Fire Rescue Catamaran was delivered to the city of Rochester, New York Fire Department. It is powered by twin Cummins 425hp turbo diesels, with Twin Disc transmissions and Hamilton water-jets, and is equipped with a fire pump delivering 1,500 gallons per minute.

The latest order is from California's Department of Fish and Wildlife for the construction of an M1-46 catamaran with 16-foot beam and full fender, large transom step and full fendering to serve as an offshore Game Warden boat on the Northern California coast. Power will be supplied by twin Volvo Penta D11-625hp turbo diesel propulsion engines turning Hamilton water-jets.

Bay Ship and Yacht First with Fuel Cell Ferry

Bay Ship and Yacht Co. in Alameda will soon be launching the 84-passenger catamaran Water-Go-Round, reported to be the first fuel cell vessel of any kind in the United States and the first commercial fuel cell ferry in the world. This 70-foot "e-ferry" was designed by Incat Crowther and built from a kit of aluminum parts shipped from their facility in Lafayette, Louisiana. The project was developed by Golden Gate Zero Emission Marine with private funding and a $3 million grant from the California Air Resources Board.

This zero-emission technology combines hydrogen and oxygen in a chemical reaction to create electricity. The 360 kW-bank of Hydrogenics fuel cells will be supplied by an array of compressed H2 tanks at 250 bar weighing 264 kg, giving up to two full days' operation. The electricity will run two 300-kW (400 hp) shaft motors, backed-up by 100 kWh lithium batteries in the hulls to provide boost power to achieve 22 knots. It will be re-fueled at the dock by hydrogen from a truck-most likely in Oakland.

Snow Boat Building of Seattle has won additional orders for sturdy general-purpose tugs with Pullmaster winches, push knees and a heavy bitts, with smaller bitts and cleats on the aft deck. Photo by George White courtesy of Snow Boat Company.

An East Coast maritime investment group called SW/TCH (pronounced Switch) Maritime acquired a controlling interest in the project last summer. SW/TCH works with Clean Marine Energy, another technology developer and both companies are owned by a large, privately held maritime venture business called MidOcean Marine.

Vigor Begins Aluminum Fabrication in New Vancouver Plant

Vigor is currently building two pilot boats for the Port of Los Angeles in its new facility in Vancouver, Washington. The 56-foot by 16.5-foot craft will follow a design from pilot boat specialist naval architects Camarc of the UK who previously designed the 72-foot Columbia Bar Pilot boats – also fitted with the integrated Popsafe fender system using large-diameter HDPE tubing.

A cruise speed of 24 knots and a maximum speed of 27 knots will be possible with twin Caterpillar C18 ACERT's rated at 803 bhp at 2,100 rpm. These are the largest engines allowed under the Tier 3 emission standards. Propulsion is via ZF 665A-1 reduction gears and five- blade propellers. The boats can seat two crew and eight pilots.


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