The 94′ tug was designed by Entech Designs LLC, Kenner, La., to work the shallow waters of Chesapeake Bay and handle a series of 30,000-bbl. barges. At the time, the Sassafras was the first of a four-boat order.
The Fort Schulyer, the 11th Sassafras-class boat, is named for the State University of New York Maritime College. Now a major player in the New York Harbor bunker trade, Vane’s Fort Schuyler joins its sister tug, the Kings Point, delivered last April.
Fort Schuyler, like its sisters, is 94’×34’×15′, powered by twin Caterpillar 3512 Tier 3 engines delivering a total of 3,000 hp. Twin Disc 6:1 reduction gears turn Troost 4-bladed open wheeled propellers. The vessel’s maneuverability is well suited to the teeming waters of New York Harbor as it is to the quiet tributaries of the Chesapeake. On deck, a JonRie InterTech single-drum hydraulic towing winch controls the barges in both towing and pushing operations.
Crew comfort and safety is a top priority for Vane Brothers, according to port captain Jim Demske. An ergonomically designed wheelhouse and an engine room with plenty of headroom are augmented by subtler elements that add to habitability on the boat.
“Soundproofing and insulation, custom joiner work, wider bunks and larger heads, Internet hook-ups, satellite television … all of this contributes to the crew’s well-being,” said Demske. “We use Rock Wool insulation, over Mascoat, thermal acoustic paint, gives superior insulation and greatly contributes to the noise control. This method of insulating is being specified on all of Vane Brothers’ new tugs.”
Demske added that the tug features soft-core panels and overheads as well as heavy fire-rated doors to dampen sound.
In the wheelhouse, the new tug is equipped with a full suite of Simrad electronics including Halo radars, gyro and satellite compasses and multifunction GPS and autopilot with touchscreen displays custom installed by Houma, La.-based Rhodes Electronics.
Recently, Chesapeake Shipbuilding and Vane inked a deal for three more tugs, the 15th, 16th and 17th boats in the Sassafras series. — Kathy Bergren Smith