Nichols Brothers Delivers 4th Foss Tug

m/v Rachael Allen
The m/v Rachael Allen. Photo: Nichols Bros. Boat Builders.

Freeland, Wash.-based Nichols Brothers Boat Builders has delivered the fourth ASD-90 tractor tug in a four-vessel series to Seattle-headquartered Foss Maritime, NBBB has revealed.

NBBB completed and delivered the four-vessel build series—the m/v Jamie Ann, m/v Sarah Avrick, m/v Leisa Florence, and lastly, the m/v Rachael Allen—during the period between April 2020 and June 2021. Two vessels are to be stationed in Los Angeles/Long Beach, while the other two will be in the San Francisco Bay providing escort and assist services to large tankers and containerships calling on the California ports.

The ASD-90 Class tugs were designed by Seattle-based Jensen Maritime Consultants. The 100-foot x 40-foot Z-Drive tractor tugs are built to United States Coast Guard Subchapter “M” regulatory standards, with ABS loadline certification, and UWILD notation, according to Nichols Bros.

The vessels were built to the most stringent emission requirements according to NBBB, with two MTU Series 16v4000M65L main engines rated at 3433 HP each that meet U.S. 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 SCR system provides optimization of the engine delivering improved efficiencies, and fuel consumption is reduced by 8% at full power and 14-22% over a wider operating range compared to previous MTU engines in the power range. The MTU engine and SCR are designed with a focus on noise reduction, plus 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 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, according to NBBB.

The vessels are outfitted with two different Mackay Marine Electronics and Markey 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 TESS-34AS-75HP Rescue winch on the stern and two are equipped with DEPC-32 barge handling winch on the stern.

The m/v Rachael Allen will be the first tugboat in the US 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, according to Nichols Bros.

“The ASD-90 newbuild program produced three vessels for Foss and one vessel for our sister company, AmNav,” Foss Maritime President Will Roberts remarked. “They will meet the current and future needs of the largest vessels of our customers calling on California ports.”

“The tugs were built to satisfy the requirements we believe will soon be required of the rest of the country and the world,” Roberts added.

NBBB managed to deliver all four vessels during the global pandemic. In fact, the m/v 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,” Nichols Bros. CEO Gavin Higgins explained. “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 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,” NBBB Vice President of Sales & Customer Relations Tor Hovig said. “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.”