On Wednesday, New Orleans-based E.N. Bisso & Son Inc. christened its new 5,362-hp, 80'x38'x15' azimuth stern drive tug Gladys B at Signet Shipbuilding & Repair, Pascagoula, Miss.

Designed by Robert Allan Ltd., Vancouver, British Columbia, the new Z-drive tug, which will work in the Mississippi River, is powered by two MTU 16V4000 M64, Tier 3 diesels, putting out 2,681 hp each. The engines connect to Rolls-Royce US205, fixed pitch Z-drives with 94.49" 4-bladed nibral propellers in Kort nozzles. The propulsion package gives the boat a bollard pull of 60 metric tons ahead and 56 metric tons astern.

“We call her the Maserati of the river,” J. Barry Snyder, president, Signet Maritime Corp., said during his remarks. “It’s a credit to the fine shipbuilders at Signet Shipbuilding.”

The boat started out as a tug for Signet’s fleet, but E.N. Bisso and Signet had been in discussions about building a new tug and the operator decided to buy the tug before Tier 4 engine regulations went into effect in 2017.

“I liked the tug and wanted to get it in before Tier 4,” William H. McDonald, E.N. Bisso’s president, said after the ceremony. “I can’t wait to get it on the river, probably in early December. I wish I had two more of them.”

Capacities include 28,649 gals. of fuel and 8,756 gals. water. On deck is a Markey DEPGF-42S, 50-hp electric bow winch. There are accommodations for six crew in three staterooms.

“We bought this yard in 2010 and have made the place a first-class facility ... building boats that when you operate it, everything is where you want it to be so you can have a safe operation,” Joe Dahl, vice president, Signet, told those in attendance.

“I wished I could build a boat for you,” he said to the Bisso family seated in the front row. “Today, my dream has come true.”

The Gladys B is classed ABS Maltese Cross A1, Maltese Cross AMS, FiFi capable, escort.


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.