In pictures: Maiden voyage of Arctic tug Denise Foss

Foss Maritime‘s newest Arctic-class tug Denise Foss is nearing completion of her maiden voyage, a cargo delivery to the North Slope of Alaska. The Denise Foss and the barge American Trader are scheduled to arrive at Foss Terminal 5 in Seattle on the night of Sept. 15.

Denise Foss' maiden voyage to Alaska with American Trader. Foss Maritime photo by Heather Ronek.

Denise Foss’ maiden voyage to Alaska with the barge American Trader. Foss Maritime photo by Heather Ronek.

The 132’x41’x18′ tug was paired with the 400’x105’x20′ double-deck barge to deliver modular cargo for an Alaska oil and gas company. The cargo was loaded in Vancouver, Wash., and delivered to the North Slope by roll-off method. The maiden voyage was 7,354 nautical miles roundtrip — Vancouver to Dutch Harbor, Alaska, to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, to Seattle.

Denise Foss with American Trader. Foss Maritime photo by Heather Ronek.

Denise Foss and the American Trader. Foss Maritime photo by Heather Ronek.

The Denise Foss is an ice class D0 tug. This means the hull is designed specifically for polar waters and 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 Denise Foss is powered by 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 Denise Foss is named for Denise Tabbutt, one of the three sisters who are primary shareholders of Saltchuk, the parent company of Foss Maritime.

About the author

Ashley Herriman

Ashley Herriman is WorkBoat's online editor.


  1. Good read Ashley! I helped build the first one of these Arctic class tugs in Ranier,OR. The Michelle Foss, massively powered, impressive tug boats that these engineers are designing!

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