In early October 2023, Markey Machine acquired JonRie InterTech, making JonRie a division of Markey Machine. Although the two companies were competitors in the workboat deck equipment market, they have been cooperating in the after-market for the last few years. For example, Markey Machine was doing servicing jobs for JonRie, which helped the two companies become more familiar with each other. 

With the acquisition, Markey and JonRie complement each other, enabling Markey Machine to offer a wide range of deck equipment from two manufacturers. “There was a clear sense of complementary,” said Markey Machine’s Scott Atkinson, vice president of business development, suggesting a driving force that helped pull the two companies together. That’s opposed to Markey acquiring JonRie solely for its patents or technology.

“We are at a stage where there’s a lot of interaction on design questions, a cross-fertilization,” said Atkinson. The core focus is the workboat, he said, adding, "There’s definitely a discussion of new designs,” he added.

The company is starting to look at markets that in recent years it hadn’t strived to be in, such as dredges.

Meanwhile, driven by customer demand, Markey, over the past decade, has increasingly provided electric winches instead of hydraulic ones. Conversely, JonRie has chiefly been supplying hydraulic winches, with electric ones provided only rarely. A complementarity is evident in this division of approach between the two.

In terms of developing markets for Markey Machine, expect an increasing emphasis on markets outside the U.S. In that regard, it’s noteworthy that Markey’s Agile Concept electric towing winch was on the short list for the International Tug & Salvage Innovation of The Year award in May 2023 at Rotterdam, Holland.

The Agile Concept was introduced in the fourth quarter of 2022 for Signet Maritime, Ingleside, Texas, whose two new Robert Allan-designed 103' 4"x45'6"x15'7" Rotortugs, the Signet Sirius and the Signet Capella, would be dealing with deeper-draft VLCC tankers in Corpus Christi, Texas. The Agile Concept is based on Markey’s DEPC-52 that was in use at the time, but Signet wanted winches that were lighter than the DEPC-52 and with a reduced longitudinal footprint, while retaining Class III escort winch features.

“They asked for a serious weight reduction, and we gave them that,” said Atkinson. The answer was the DESF-52 Agile 200-hp electric escort winch on the bow, which came with a 16.4% weight reduction. In addition, reducing the winch’s fore-and-aft dimension allowed the gear box to be moved for a more compact installation alongside the winch. The Agile Concept winch was also given a new level-wind system.

On the tugs’ stern is a TESF-32 Agile 200-hp electric towing winch.

“We are quoting a lot of work right now and definitely getting the feeling that the future looks quite good for the Agile Concept design,” said Atkinson.

The Signet Sirius and the Signet Capella with the Agile Concept winches shared WorkBoat magazine’s Boat of the Year award for 2023. The Markey winches will be resubmitted for the 27th International Tug & Salvage Innovation of the Year contest in Dubai, May 21 to 23, 2024.

Beyond the Agile winch concept, Markey’s JonRie division is developing a new winch for weight-critical, shallow-draft tugs that will feature a lightweight Markey winch base. A Hagglunds CA 140 series hydraulic motor will power the main winch drum, while the level wind reel will be driven by a CAB 40 Hagglunds radial-piston motor. The winch is due to be introduced this year.

The Seaway Trident is equipped with a Markey DESMG-18 headline winch. Glosten photo.


Markey winches have been placed on or are scheduled to be placed on a number of high-profile vessels.

eWolf Crowley’s much anticipated 82'x40'x17'9" eWolf, the first all-electric, ship-assist harbor tugboat in the U.S., was built in Coden, Ala., by Master Boat Builders. Crowley says the new tug will generate 178 fewer tons of nitrogen oxide (NOx), 2.5 tons less of diesel particulate matter, and 3,100 metric tons less of carbon dioxide (CO2) over the first 10 years of its operations — the equivalent of removing 350,000 gals. of gas from use, according to EPA calculations. On deck is a Markey DEPC-48, 50-hp electric render/recover winch.

Seaway Trident — The Seaway Trident, powered by a pair of 660-hp Caterpillar C-18s turning Schottel SRP 210 Z-drives, was designed by Glosten and built by Washburn & Doughty, East Boothbay, Maine, for the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp., an agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation. The tug’s major role is keeping the St. Lawrence Seaway navigable by maintaining the locks and aids to navigation, which requires a lot of winter ice work. The compact 60'x28'x10'6" tug also works with the larger Seaway Guardian to move buoy barges, derrick barges and periodically pulls the lock gates for maintenance work. Seaway Trident is equipped with a Markey DESMG-18 headline winch. 

• Gulf LNG Tugs — Construction contracts for four new 98.5'x42.6' Z-Tech tugs went out last fall from Gulf LNG Tugs, Brownsville, Texas, to Master Boat Builders and Sterling Shipyard, Port Neches, Texas. The yards will each build two of the Robert Allan Ltd.-designed vessels. The new tugs are expected to have a bollard pull of approximately 87 tons, with a pair of Schottel SRP 510FP thrusters, 9.2' fixed-pitch propellers, and two EPA Tier IV-compliant Caterpillar 3516E main engines, delivering 3,500 hp at 1,800 rpm. A Markey DEF-48A, Class III — 100-hp winch will be fitted on the forward deck for escort operations.

• Moran Tugs — Moran Towing Corp., New Canaan, Conn., awarded a contract to Master Boat to build a pair of 86'x36', 5,100-hp tugs that will have a bollard pull of over 55 metric tons. The tugs will feature two Caterpillar 3512E Tier 4 main engines, each producing 2,549 hp, along with two Kongsberg US 205S FP thrusters and a Markey DEPC-48 bow winch. The tugs will be the first that Master Boat will build for Moran. But the shipyard didn’t have to wait long for another Moran contract. Moran has hired the company to build a pair of 92’x40’ escort tugs. Those boats will be delivered by mid-2025.

The eWolf features a Markey DEPC-48, 50-hp electric render/recover winch. Master Boat Builders photo.

Michael Crowley is a long-time Maine-based correspondent for WorkBoat Magazine, specializing in stories related to new vessel contruction and new gear, such as electronics, deck equipment and diesel engines.