New tugs for GLT Update04/06:
In February, Tugz International L.L.C., an affiliate of The Great Lakes Group, announced the christening of three “Z” Class multi-purpose reverse tractor tugs at MARCO Shipyard, Seattle, Washington, completing the second phase of the Company’s fleet expansion and upgrade program which now exceeds US$30,000,000. The historic christening ceremony marks the 100th year anniversary of The Great Lakes Towing Company, whose early shareholders included John D. Rockefeller, James R. Sinclair, and other well-known industrialists of the day.
The next phase of the Company’s expansion program involves the development and construction of a new prototype tractor tug for Great Lakes service, as well as an anticipated follow-on order for an additional three “Z” class tractor tugs. The Company’s new construction program is part of the Great Lakes Group’s plan to diversify its marine operations and holdings beyond the Great Lakes region. Last year, another affiliate, Puerto Rico Towing & Barge Co., commenced towing operations in San Juan and other Caribbean ports.
The Z-THREE, the Z-FOUR, and the Z-FIVE, as the tugs are called, will be operated under a U.S. Navy contract to provide harbor towing services at the U. S. Naval Base, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
Designed by Jensen Maritime Consultants, Inc., Seattle, Washington, the 95' long x 32' wide tractor tugs have 4,000 hp with a bollard pull in excess of 110,000 lbs. and operate at a design speed of 14 knots with a 3-man crew. The Z-class design was developed to accommodate an entire range of towing services, including ship handling duties, salvage, firefighting, oil recovery, tanker escort; and ocean and coastal towing of vessels and barges. The new tugs have been modified to meet the special needs of the Navy and include special above and below-water fendering systems to accommodate assistance to submarines.
Reverse tractor tugs are technically advanced towing vessels in which the conventional propeller and rudder is replaced by an integrated unit, known as a Z-drive, which performs both propulsion and steering, enabling the tug to push or pull in any direction. Thus, the “Z” in the name of the tugs. With a Z-drive, tug maneuverability is greatly improved allowing the tug to turn on its own axis, stop within its own length when running at full speed, and hold its position and maneuver into dock in adverse conditions.
The Great Lakes Group, headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, owns and operates over 50 tugboats, is the largest U.S.-flag tugboat company engaged in towing on the Great Lakes, and operates across the United States in more than 35 U.S. ports; in all 8 U.S. Great Lakes’ states, including Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and the St. Lawrence Seaway. What is not so widely known, is that the Group’s tugboat operations now also extend from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to Hawaii, and further, that Company tugs are chartered to other companies worldwide.
Reported by: George L. Sogor