Great Lakes Shipyard, Cleveland, has been awarded a $5 million contract by the New York Power Authority (NYPA) to build two new 940-hp tugboats for the Niagara Power Plant’s winter operations in Buffalo, N.Y. The new 45'x19'7"x9'4" tugs will augment and replace aging vessels that are used for the installation, removal, and maintenance of the Lake Erie-Niagara River ice boom and various associated marine construction projects.

The new tugs will be specially reinforced with heavy stems and shell reinforcement for operations in seasonal ice. The design of the conventional drive tugs includes elevated pilothouses for improved visibility when maneuvering, as well as a spacious work deck aft to facilitate ice boom connections. The tugs are designed to comply with proposed Subchapter M regulations for inspected towing vessels.

Delivery of the first tug is scheduled for September 2015, the second in September 2017.

The tug contract is the company’s second major order from the NYPA. In 2010, Great Lakes Shipyard built the authority’s 80'x34' ice boom operations barge, including the supply and installation of a new Terex 80-ton pedestal mounted lattice boom crane.

Like the barge, Bristol Harbor Group (BHGI), Bristol, R.I., was contracted by NYPA to develop the contract design documents for the vessels and provide consultation during both the bid and construction phases. BHGI assisted NYPA during the bid process and will be acting as NYPA’s on-site representative during the fabrication process, performing quality assurance and certification functions.

Great Lakes Shipyard is an affiliate of The Great Lakes Towing Company, which has a two-tugboat operation of its own in Buffalo. A familiar site on the Buffalo River and along Buffalo’s waterfront, the Great Lakes Towing has been providing harbor support services, including ship assist, ice breaking and emergency rescue services, to the local shipping community for more than 115 years. In fact, when the towing company was founded in 1899, the Hand and Johnson Tug Line in Buffalo was its first acquisition and the fleet became the cornerstone of the company’s Lakes-wide service.

“We are very proud of this rich heritage and the towing company’s longstanding contributions to Buffalo's maritime community, and we are delighted to be awarded this contract by New York Power Authority to build beautiful new tugs for its ice boom operations,” said Joe Starck, president of the company.