Foss Orders Four New Harbor Tugs with Options for Six More

Construction is underway on the newest class of Foss harbor tugs.

Foss has entered a contract with Nichols Brothers Boat Builders (NBBB) in Freeland, Wash., for construction of four harbor tugs with an option for six more. In making the deal for the new vessels, Foss is initiating its first new-build program for harbor assist/escort tugs since the last of 10 Dolphin Class vessels was completed in 2009.

Nicole Engle, right, one of the principal owners of Foss parent company Saltchuk, watches as her initials are inscribed on the keel by Nichols Brothers Journeyman Welder Justina Mackie. 

Construction on the first vessel is well underway. The keel was laid in a ceremony at NBBB in February. Nicole Engle of Foss parent company Saltchuk laid down the ceremonial first weld.

Under an ambitious construction schedule, the first of the new tugs is scheduled for delivery in January 2020, with the other three following in March, July and October. The vessels are being referred to internally as the “ASD-90” class, referring to their azimuthing stern drive propulsion systems and their projected 90 tons of bollard pull. However, the actual name of the class and the names of the vessels have not yet been released.

“It’s a very tight timeline but we’re confident they can do it,” said JanicTrepanier, a Foss naval architect who is managing the project. “They’ve already built 10 tugs of this class, including one that we operate under charter, the Delta Lindsey.”

The new tugs, at 100-feet long will be substantially bigger than the 78-foot Dolphins. Their size and muscular pulling power also makes them ideal for tanker escorts and assists. They also will be well equipped for Ro/Ro escorts, barge maneuvering and other harbor work

While the basic tugs will be much like the Delta Lindsey, there will be a number of upgrades, including the new tugs’ MTU Tier 4 engines, which will meet the EPA’s highest standards, reducing particulate and nitrogen oxide emissions to near zero.

The new tugs will be 100 feet long and will be ideal for tanker escorts and assists and a variety of harbor work.

They also will be equipped with Rolls-Royce 255 ASD Drives and Markey winches. The tugs are based on a design by Jensen Maritime Consultants of Seattle.

The first two, which will be outfitted for rescue towing, are scheduled to go to the San Francisco Bay Area and to Southern California.

“The tugs will support Foss’s continuous dedication to deliver the highest level of service to our customers while being environmentally friendly,” Trepanier said.

“The new tugs are designed to upgrade our fleet and improve the company’s ability to provide timely harbor and port services to a variety of customers,” said Foss President and CEO John Parrott. “By offering lower maintenance down time, greater operating efficiencies and lower emissions, these new tugs help expand our nearshore and offshore capabilities.”

Tor Hovig, Nichols vice president of sales and customer relations, noted that the contract is his company’s first with Foss. He added:

“It allows us to work with one of the most respected players in the U.S. tug and workboat industry,” he said. “With the series of vessels included in this program, we look forward to working with Foss for a long time ahead.”