Nichols Brothers Boat Builders (Ice Flow LLC) has delivered the Rachael Allen — the final 100'x40' ASD-90 tractor tug in a four-vessel series to Foss Maritime, a division of the Saltchuk company.

NBBB completed and delivered the four 6,800-hp tugs, which includes the Jamie Ann, Sarah Avrick and Leisa Florence, between April 2020 and June 2021. Two tugs will be stationed in Los Angeles/Long Beach, while the other two will be in San Francisco Bay providing escort and assist services to large tankers and containerships calling on the California ports.

The ASD-90 class tugs are a Jensen Maritime Consultan design. The Z-drive tractor tugs are built to U.S. Coast Guard Subchapter M regulatory standards, with ABS loadline certification, and UWILD notation.

Shipyard officials said the new tugs were built to the most stringent emission requirements, with two MTU Series 16V4000M65L main engines rated at 3,433 hp each that meet EPA Tier 4 standards, reducing particulate emissions through in cylinder combustion technologies and nitrogen oxide emissions to near zero through a Selective Catalytic Reduction system.

The MTU SCR system provides optimization of the engine delivering improved efficiencies, fuel consumption is reduced by 8% at full power and 14-22% over a wider operating range compared to previous MTU engines in this power range. The MTU engines and SCR are designed with a high focus on noise reduction, standard features such as resilient mounting, turbocharger air intake silencers and the SCR insulation and noise abatement, all combined to produce noise levels throughout the vessel without any traditional exhaust silencers. The MTU engines are also equipped with MTU Go, a MTU digital monitoring system and service that allows continuous monitoring of the engines including all engine parameters and alarms, with trending and broadcast of engine alarms through the MTU Go App.

The MTU Series 4000 engines are paired with Kongsberg US255 azimuth thrusters. The azimuth thrusters are equipped with Health Monitoring features allowing local as well as remote monitoring of the thrusters’ bearings and oil condition. The propulsion package produces over 90 tons of bollard pull designed to give the tugs exceptional pulling power and maneuverability.

The tugs are outfitted with two different Mackay Marine electronics and Markey Machinery winch packages. All four vessels are equipped with a Markey DEPGF-52R-75HP forward winch for ship assist. Two of the vessels are equipped with a TESS- 34AS-75HP rescue winch on the stern and two are equipped with a DEPC-32 barge handling winch on the stern.

The fourth tug, the Rachael Allen, will be the first tug in the U.S. delivered with the Sea Machines SM300 autonomous system, including transit autonomy as well as remote access of the tug’s on-board machinery, allowing personnel to manage and support operations from anywhere on board the vessel or from shore. The capability of the technology will be activated in stepped phases over the course of six to nine months in order to ensure full visibility and acceptance from all operational stakeholders.

Foss will use its Fleet Monitoring Center personnel to monitor the tugboat’s systems and operating domain via streaming video and sensor data.

“The ASD-90 newbuild program produced three vessels for Foss and one vessel for our sister company, AmNav. They will meet the current and future needs of the largest vessels of our customers calling on California ports,” Will Roberts, president, Foss Maritime, said in a statement announcing the delivery. “The tugs were built to satisfy the requirements we believe will soon be required of the rest of the country and the world. Foss prides itself on always offering customers safe and innovative solutions, and this is one more way that we are delivering on that promise.”

The NBBB and Foss team persevered through the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 outbreak, and maintained a modified schedule, delivering all four vessels during the global pandemic. In fact, the Jamie Ann’s first job was to assist in moving the massive Naval Hospital Ship USNS Mercy as it departed the Port of Los Angeles for her homeport in San Diego in April 2020, followed by firefighting on the USS Bonhomme Richard.

“At the onset of the Covid pandemic, NBBB had to significantly re-arrange production to allow for safety protocols required to protect our workforce. NBBB reacted rapidly and while it certainly had a significant impact on production, we were able to keep working and never had a cross infection at any of the facilities. Foss was an incredible team player with encouragement toward the safety of our people and operations,” said NBBB CEO Gavin Higgins. “I am very proud of the way our employees responded to the pandemic and their commitment as essential workers”.

“We are tremendously grateful to Foss for trusting us with this four-vessel program,” said NBBB VP sales and customer relations, Tor Hovig. “Foss keeps setting new standards for the industry and we are proud to have delivered four of the most powerful tugs in its class packed with the latest in technology and environmental features. This program has supported many highly skilled jobs in this region, and it’s been particularly rewarding to build for Foss as a local company, showing the strength of the maritime industry in our region.”  


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