Eastern Shipbuilding Group Inc., Panama City, Fla., delivered of the second of two 80'x38'x13'2" 5,100-hp Z-drive tugs on June 11 to Bisso Offshore LLC, a division of E.N. Bisso & Son Inc., New Orleans.

The following day the tug A. Thomas Higgins completed its bollard pull testing (66.10 short tons stern, 64.20 short tons bow), witnessed by the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), and received its Subchapter M Certificate of Inspection (COI). The A. Thomas Higgins is a RAL RApport 2400 Z-drive ship-handling tug design from Robert Allan Ltd., Vancouver, Canada. The sister vessel, the C.D. White, was delivered in January and is currently working in New Orleans.

E.N. Bisso is one of Eastern’s long-term customers and has taken delivery of five previous modern Z-drive ship assist tugs from Eastern starting in 2007 (Josephine Anne, Beverly B., Elizabeth B., Archie T. Higgins, C.D. White).

These two new RAL RApport 2400 design tugs have been customized by the designer, builder, and owner to provide specific operational features including a high bollard pull forward and aft, enhanced maneuverability and escort performance, better fuel economy, crew comfort, and safety under the new Subchapter M requirements, and reduced emissions meeting the new EPA Tier 4 emissions regulations.

Main propulsion comes from two Caterpillar 3512E Tier 4 marine propulsion diesel engines from Louisiana Cat. The Cats connect to Kongsberg/Rolls-Royce US205 P20 Z-drives.

Ship’s service power comes from twin John Deere 4045AFM85 Tier 3 certified marine auxiliary diesel gensets, sparking 99 kW at 1,800 rpm each, from Kennedy Engines Co.

On deck is a Markey Machinery DEPCF-42 HS, single drum 40-hp, render/recover, line tension display, electric escort hawser winch; Markey CEPB-40 SHP tow bitt capstan; and a Washington Chain & Supply 90-ton, electric-air remote control, manual or remote release SWL tow hook.

Tankage includes 28,000 gals. of fuel oil; 8,750 gals. potable water; and twin 850-gal. DEF/urea tanks.

A. Thomas Higgins is USCG certified, Subchapter M and ABS classed (but not classed under ABS rules).


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.