Final of Three Ice Class Ocean Tugs Christened

Nicole Foss Ready for the Arctic

Tacoma, June 12, 2017 – The final of three state-of-the-art Arctic Class tugs, the Nicole Foss, was christened last week at the Foss Waterway Seaport in Tacoma, Wash. Built at the Foss Rainier, OR. Shipyard, the Nicole is designed to operate in the extreme conditions of the far north, and will enter service this summer.

The Nicole Foss with Mount Rainier in the background.

Foss President and CEO John Parrott made opening remarks, praising the hard work and dedication of the people, designers, and customers that made the project possible. He spoke of the service of the first Arctic tugs, the Michele Foss and the Denise Foss, and the vessels to come that will join all of the Foss vessels that are currently “hard at work supporting our customers, our industry and our collective family of companies.”

John Parrott of Foss

Scott Merritt, Chief Operating Officer of Foss also spoke, praising the team at the Rainier Shipyard. “As I looked back,” said Merritt, “I realized that this was hull #22. It made me think of what has been accomplished at the Rainier Shipyard and the care that goes into each and every vessel. The craftsman of the men and women at Rainier rivals the best yards in the world, and these vessels reflect their desire to provide a world-class product to the mariners that will sail on them. The Nicole Foss is truly a job well done.”

Nicole Engle, the vessel’s namesake and one of three sisters who are primary shareholders of Saltchuk, the parent company of Foss Maritime, spoke of one of Saltchuk’s core values to reinvest in the family of companies, “seeing this promise become a reality with the three Arctic tugs is truly amazing.”

Nicole Engle at the helm, with family and the captain of the Nicole Foss

The Nicole Foss is ice class D0, meaning the hulls are designed specifically for polar waters and are reinforced to maneuver in ice. The first of the three Arctic tugs, the Michele Foss debut in 2015, and in her first year of operation lead the way in safely pioneering a new route across the North Slope, while operating in extreme conditions of first year ice a meter thick. The Denise has also continued to exceed expectations and will return to the far north this summer.

The Nicole Foss complies with the requirements in the ABS Guide for Building and Classing Vessels Intended to Operate in Polar Waters, including ABS A1 standards, SOLAS and Green Passport. She includes two environmentally responsible Caterpillar C280-8 main engines; a Nautican nozzle and rudder system to provide superior bollard pull and maneuverability; and Reintjes reduction gears. Markey Machinery supplied the tow winch.

Nicole Engle and family with the crew of the Nicole Foss.

The tug has a bollard pull of 221,000 pounds.

• The vessel incorporates several environmentally focused designs and structural and technological upgrades, including:
• Elimination of ballast tanks, so there is no chance of transporting invasive species;
• Holding tanks for black and gray water to permit operations in no-discharge zones (such as parts of Alaska and California);
• Hydraulic oil systems compatible with biodegradable oil;
• Energy efficient LED lighting; and
• High-energy absorption Schuyler fendering.

The Nicole Foss has been designed to withstand the rigors of Arctic operations and is suited to work across the globe as Foss competes for opportunities in the oil and gas industry.



Founded in 1889, Seattle-based Foss Maritime offers a complete range of maritime services and project management to customers across the Pacific Rim, Europe, South America and around the globe. Foss has one of the largest fleets of tugs and barges on the American West Coast. The company has harbor services and transportation operations in all major U.S. West Coast ports, including the Columbia and Snake River system, Hawaii and Alaska. Foss operates two shipyards and offers worldwide marine transportation, emphasizing safety, environmental responsibility and high-quality service. See for more information.