The first of three Arctic-class tugs being built at the Foss Rainier, Ore., Shipyard for Foss Maritime was christened Thursday at the Foss Waterway Seaport in Tacoma, Wash. The vessel, the Michele Foss, will see its first assignment on an oilfield sealift this summer from South Korea to the Alaskan Arctic.
“As we know, a construction project of this magnitude requires significant teamwork to accomplish,” said Mike Magill, vice president of Foss’ technical services. “Engineers, craftsmen, purchasing and logistics experts, to name a few, have gone beyond the call of duty to deliver this vessel safely, on time and on budget.”
The vessel’s namesake is Michele Seaver, one of the three sisters who are primary shareholders of Saltchuk, the parent company of Foss Maritime. Seaver had the honor of breaking the ceremonial bottle of champagne across the hull of the Michele Foss.
The Michele Foss is ice class D0. This means the hulls are designed specifically for polar waters and are reinforced to maneuver in ice. The vessel 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.
The Michele Foss features a pair of Caterpillar C280-8 engines putting out a total of 7,268 hp. Reintjes reduction gears turn a pair of fixed-pitch propellers in Nautican kort nozzles. Markey Machinery supplied the double-drum tow winch. The tug has a bollard pull of 221,000 lbs.
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 Michele Foss has been designed to withstand the rigors of Arctic operations and is suited to work across the world.