USCGC Thunder Bay (WTGB-108)
MarineLog reports Gulf Island ship is building an icebreaking/buoy tending tug for the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation. $18.14 million (About a third the cost of a Webber class WPC). It is expected to be 118′ x 45′ x 16′, all-steel, with an ice-breaking bow, powered by two controllable-pitch Z-drive propulsion units, each driven by a high-speed diesel engine. Crew of 14.
Sounds like a type the Coast Guard might be interested in.
The Coast Guard’s domestic icebreaker tugs are 140′ x 37′ 5″ x 12′ 6″. These ships are up to 36 years old. The Coast Guard’s 65 foot tugs, that also do some domestic icebreaking are all at least 50 years old. Clearly our tugs are getting long in the tooth.
It is certainly not clear how good this new little ship will be either as an icebreaker or as a buoy tender, but sounds like it will be worth a look.
Adding a three or four more small icebreakers in the Great Lakes might be a reasonable substitute for the often called for second icebreaker for the Lakes. If they could help with buoy tending, so much the better.
gCaptain is reporting more ships being built for the Arctic. This time it is three tugs being built by Foss in their own Rainer, Oregon shipyard.
General arrangement of Foss’ Arctic Class of tugs. Image: Foss Maritime
These tugs are expected to meet:
- American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) A1 requirements, including standards for hulls, machinery, towing, anchors and cable;
- American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) Ice Class requirements
- International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) requirements, including an on-board rescue boat and davit; and
- Green Passport, which requires an inventory of shipboard hazardous materials that make decommissioning of vessels far safer.
In addition to the low-emission Caterpillar engines, the vessels will incorporate several environmentally focused designs and structural and technological upgrades, including:
- Elimination of ballast tanks, so there is no chance of transporting invasive species;
- Holding tanks for black and gray water to permit operations in no-discharge zones (such as parts of Alaska and California);
- Hydraulic oil systems compatible with biodegradable oil;
- Energy efficient LED lighting; and
- High-energy absorption Schuyler fendering.
Looking at the diagram, the tugs appear to be about 130 feet. When it is time to replace the nine 140 ft Katmai Bay class WTGBs, There may be a design already in the water. They did begin entering service 33 years ago.