Eastern Shipbuilding Group (ESG), Panama City, Fla., said it has been awarded a contract to build four new 84'x42'x14' ship assist/escort tugs for Saltchuk Marine, Seattle. The vessels, part of the Foss Maritime Co. fleet, will be built at ESG’s Allanton and Port St. Joe facilities, with delivery expected in 2026.

The tugs were designed by Robert Allan Ltd., Vancouver, British Columbia, with 18'7" drafts and accommodations for eight.

Over the past 20 years, ESG has successfully delivered 35 ship assist tugs. This contract marks the beginning of Saltchuk Marine’s long-term fleet renewal project, with the new tugs set to support West Coast port operations and comply with EPA Tier 4 and California Air Resources Board (CARB) environmental requirements.

“We are pleased to partner with Saltchuk Marine on this significant fleet renewal project. Our team is dedicated to delivering high-quality, reliable vessels with industry leading low lifecycle costs that meet stringent environmental standards and support our customer’s missions for many, many years,” Joey D’Isernia, chairman and CEO of ESG, said in a statement announcing the new contract. “This contract award is more solid evidence that ESG is able to successfully design and build both government and commercial vessels while remaining highly competent and competitive in both arenas.”

Main propulsion will come from two Caterpillar 3516E, tier 4 diesel engines each producing 3,500 hp at 1,800 rpm. The Cats connect to Schottel rudder propellers (SRP 510). The propulsion package will give the new tugs a running speed of 12 knots and a bollard pull of 95 short tons.

“As the West Coast’s premier tug operator for more than a century, it’s critical that we continue to innovate and provide ship assist services in a manner that prioritizes safety and minimizes environmental impact,” said Jason Childs, Saltchuk Marine’s president and CEO. “The combination of Robert Allan team’s naval architecture and engineering experience and ESG’s proven history of building best-in-class vessels will ensure that we continue to provide our customers with the most reliable service on the West Coast, Hawaii, and Alaska.”

On deck will be a Markey Machine DEPGH-52, 75-hp single drum, class II winch. 

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.