SEATTLE, Wash. – Harley Marine Services announced it has partnered with Nichols Brothers Boat Builders of Freeland, Wash., to construct two new 100’x40’ Z-drive ship assist tractor tugs. The tugs will be built “with the most technically and environmentally advanced equipment available to meet the specific needs of our customers and expanding business markets,” Nichols reported. In selecting a shipyard, Harley Marine said chose Nichols Brothers based on their combined expertise and quality of product. “We look forward to working with Nichols Brothers through these projects and more in the future, their workmanship and superiority are superb and closely match our corporate vision,” said Harley Franco, Harley chairman and CEO, in a statement.
Construction of the first tug began in May 2012 and is well underway, with the pilothouse, bow, and both port and starboard wing tanks nearing completion. Prefabrication of the second tug began earlier this month at the Nichols Brothers shipyard in Freeland. Building the two tugs simultaneously will increase productivity, efficiency and overall quality while shortening the material handling process making it cost-efficient for both the shipyard and vessel owner, Nichols said.
The vessels were designed by Jensen Maritime of Seattle and will be ABS load line certified. Both tugs have a complete propulsion system with two Caterpillar 3516C diesel engines coupled to the Rolls Royce z-drive system. The vessels are also equipped with two Cat C9 generators. The propulsion package will produce over 90 tons of bollard pull with a combined horsepower of 6,770, giving the tugs exceptional pulling power and maneuverability. Both vessels are outfitted with Mackay Marine Electronics, Technicold by Northern Lights HVAC system, two Markey winches, one forward for ship assist and one aft for towing and a Smith Berger tow pin aft.
Harley Marine Services will name the two tugs after the Harley and Lela Franco’s two children, Ahbra and Robert Franco. The first tug, M/V ROBERT FRANCO is scheduled for delivery in Spring 2013 while the second tug, M/V AHBRA FRANCO is scheduled for delivery in mid-summer 2013. The tugs will enter service on the U.S. West Coast and will enhance Harley Marine’s current fleet of tractor tugs operating in the Tanker Escort and Ship Assist markets.