Bisso takes delivery of another Main Iron-built Z-drive tug

Last week, Bisso Towboat Company Inc. took delivery of the 4,480-hp ASD tractor tug Mr. Ruben from Main Iron Works LLC. The Mr. Ruben is the first in a series of two identical tugs that Houma, La.-based Main Iron is building for the New Orleans tug operator.

The 100’x38’x13’6” tug is powered by a pair of Caterpillar 3515T3MPL Tier 3 main engines, each generating 2,240 hp at 1,600 rpm. The engines drive two Rolls-Royce US 205 FP Z-drives with 90.6″x82.4″, 4-bladed stainless-steel propellers set in nozzles. The package gives the tug a speed of 12 knots. The bollard pull is estimated to be around 60 tons.

“It’s almost an exact replica of the Becky S. delivered last year,” said Scott Slatten, Bisso’s president. “We made some changes to the Becky from the prior two tugs, the William S. and Michael S., but the Mr. Ruben is a carbon copy of the Becky S.” The major change was the bump in horsepower from 4,000 to 4,480.

Ship’s service power is provided by two 99-kW Marathon generators powered by John Deere 4045AFM85 Tier 3 engines. The tug is equipped with one JonRie Intertech Series 230 hydraulic bow winch equipped with 500′ of 8″-circumference AmSteel Blue, a torque-free, 12-strand single braid wire rope, from Samson.

The tug also features USCG-approved engine room monitoring and fire/smoke alarm systems, Simrad navigation/electronics, soundproof insulation throughout the engine room and crew quarters, stainless steel bitts and bow staple, and four bunkrooms with seven berths.

Tankage includes capacities for 30,163 gals. of diesel fuel, 1,826 gals. each of lube and hydraulic oil, and 10,938 gals. of potable water.

The Mr. Ruben is the sixth ASD tractor tug and 10th tug built for Bisso by Main Iron in the last 25 years. The new tug gives Bisso a fleet of 12 tugs that handle ship-assist duties involving mostly tankers, bulk carriers and tug-and-barge units on the Lower Mississippi River. The Mr. Ruben was delivered on Sept. 15.

With the delivery of the Cecilia B. Slatten in 1999, Bisso became the first company to introduce ASD tractor tugs to the Mississippi River. The first four Main Iron-built sister tugs are nearly identical. The second 100’×38’×13′, 4,000-hp ASD tug, the Alma S., was delivered in 2006, the third, the Michael S., was delivered in 2009, and the William S. was built in 2012. The only difference between the Alma and the Cecilia were a few minor equipment changes and adjustments related to crew comfort, and the only major difference between the Michael S. and its sister tugs were the engines.

About the author

David Krapf

David Krapf has been editor of WorkBoat, the nation’s leading trade magazine for the inland and coastal waterways industry, since 1999. He is responsible for overseeing the editorial direction of the publication. Krapf has been in the publishing industry since 1987, beginning as a reporter and editor with daily and weekly newspapers in the Houston area. He also was the editor of a transportation industry daily in New Orleans before joining WorkBoat as a contributing editor in 1992. He has been covering the transportation industry since 1989, and has a degree in business administration from the State University of New York at Oswego, and also studied journalism at the University of Houston.

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