Main Iron Works, Houma, La., has delivered the 100'x38'x13.5' Capt. Joseph Bisso to Bisso Towboat Co., Inc. The 6,008-hp Capt. Joseph Bisso is the fifth ASD tractor tug the shipyard has built in the past seven years for Bisso.

The Capt. Joseph Bisso brings the total number of tugs in the Bisso fleet to 12, all of which were built by Main Iron Works. Bisso continues its technology leadership of the Mississippi River ship-assist trade with the largest fleet of ASD tractor tugs on the Mississippi River, with nine, and the youngest fleet of tugs, with an average age of 13 years across the fleet, according to Scott Slatten, Bisso Towboat’s president.

With the uncertainty of the work force in the U.S. over the past 18 months, where do you get the crew of four needed for the new tug? Not to worry. “She is replacing an older tug we sold,” said Slatten.

Still, how much of a concern is personnel turnover? “We have a lot of long-term crewmembers with an average tenure for our captains of about 30 years and have little turnover,” said Slatten, “mainly in just the entry level deck positions.” 

Main propulsion for the Capt. Joseph Bisso comes from twin Caterpillar 3516E Tier 4F main engines, generating 3,004 hp each at 1,800 rpm, which drive two Schottel SRP 460 FP Z-drives. The Z-drives feature 2,500 MM diameter 4-bladed stainless-steel propellers in stainless steel nozzles. Estimated bollard pull is 75 tons.

Ship’s service power is provided by two 118-kW Caterpillar generators powered by two Caterpillar C4.4 engines. The tug is equipped with a JonRie Series 240 escort winch featuring 500' of 3" diameter Saturn 12 line with 749,000 lbs. of breaking strength.

Other features include USCG-approved engine room monitoring and fire and smoke alarm systems, fixed CO2 fire extinguishing system, Simrad navigation/electronics, soundproof insulation throughout engine room/crew quarters, stainless steel bitts and bow staple and four bunk rooms with seven berths.

Tankage includes capacities for 30,162 gals. diesel fuel, 11,000 gals. potable water, 1,825 gals. each of lube and hydraulic oil and 2,000 gals. of diesel exhaust fluid (DEF).

The new tug carries an ABS International Loadline in addition to being built to Subchapter M certification and receiving a USCG COI.

Ken Hocke has been the senior editor of WorkBoat since 1999. He was the associate editor of WorkBoat from 1997 to 1999. Prior to that, he was the editor of the Daily Shipping Guide, a transportation daily in New Orleans. He has written for other publications including The Times-Picayune. He graduated from Louisiana State University with an arts and sciences degree, with a concentration in English, in 1978.