By Peter Marsh
Since Harley Marine became the first adopter of Tier 4 marine engines of more than 600 kW (805 hp) in 2017, the towboat industry on the West Coast has fallen behind the rest of the US as operators on the Gulf and East Coasts have been specifying high-speed engines from Caterpillar with SCR or medium speed from GE with Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) only. However, 2020 looks like the year when Northwest yards finally begin installing Tier 4’s as standard equipment.
Nichols Brothers Boat Builders has the distinction of being the first Northwest yard to fit MTU 4000 Tier 4’s to tugs in a major order from Foss for a minimum of four vessels to a Jensen Maritime Consultants design. These 100-foot by 40-foot tractor tugs will be fitted with Kongsberg US255 azimuthing thrusters and Markey winches.
The SCR system requires stainless steel storage tanks for a large quantity of urea-based diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), which will quickly corrode mild steel. The quantity that needs to be carried depends on the tug’s likely area of operation, and the availability of DEF in remote areas like Alaska, Central America and the Western Pacific.
Jensen has placed the tank in the bow area extending up to the stem—an area that is typically used for shelving and general storage. Nichols selected WCT Marine in Astoria to prefabricate the tanks. The urea is pumped into a day tank in the engine room then into the dosing unit, which injects precise amounts of urea at high pressure into the SCR unit. The spray then chemically reacts with the exhaust in the SCR chamber in the presence of catalysts to eliminate most of the pollutants.
The first of the tugs will be delivered this year and will have an ABS loadline certification, and UWILD notation.
Diversified Completing Tugs for Sause and Brusco
Robert Allan’s RAmparts series is one of the most widely adopted designs anywhere in the world with more than 400 such tugs having been built over the years across 18 different sizes ranging from 22 to 36 meters. Diversified Marine of Portland has been building a fleet of RAmparts 2400s for Brusco for twenty years. Diversified’s latest boat is also an 80-foot ASD tug for Brusco Tug & Barge based on a standard Robert Allan design with beam increased to 40 feet. Caterpillar is supplying a complete Tier 4 MTA integrated propulsion system, comprising engine, clutch, shaft, ASD and assorted mechanicals. Diversified Marine was the first yard to install this system in 2017 on a pair of Harbor tugs for Harley Marine – Dr. Hank Kaplan, delivered in mid-2017, and Rich Padden about five months later.
These 5,350-hp RAmparts 2400 harbor tugs are the first with Caterpillar integrated solution – the Cat MTA tug propulsion package, consisting of engine, gear, azimuthing drive and propulsion control system. Cat also supplied electrical generators powering the 80-by-36-foot vessels.
Caterpillar’s foray into z-drive units stems from its 2013 acquisition of Berg Propulsion, a Swedish company with a proven line of azimuthing thrusters. These units have been in use on workboats around the world but, until now, not in the US. Cat has rebranded Berg’s products under the trade name Cat Propulsion.
“We took the legacy design we had from Berg Propulsion products and changed them to match our 3500-series engines, so it really optimized the performance of the units with these engines,” said Emil Cerdier, Cat Propulsion Americas sales manager. One big selling point, he said, is the integration between the engines and the drives. Another is the ability to monitor the entire propulsion system from a dedicated wheelhouse display.
Cat’s drives have a slip clutch function that lets the operator reduce propeller rpm to as low as 35 rpm. Operators can “clutch in” during normal working operations when additional power is needed. The system is operated from an integrated bridge control unit, and has proven popular with Harley’s captains.
Propulsion comes from twin Caterpillar 3516C Tier 3 engines driving Cat MTA 524 z-drives through Centa shafts. The Cat C7.1 129-kW gensets providing ship service power represent an upgrade over recent predecessors in the series. Bollard pull is rated for 68 short tons ahead.
The compact design and bell housing-mounted clutch offers easy installation, reduced maintenance and high performance. The high-speed engine promises faster response time, lower emission levels and longer maintenance intervals. One control panel for both clutch and thruster with engine start and stop and interface to autopilot, DP and joystick.
Diversified is also completing an order for two long-haul towboats for Sause Brothers of Coos Bay, Oregon using their 128-by-35-foot Mikiona-class design. The first boat, named Apache, was launched last June, the second, Geronimo, will be delivered early in 2020. Sause was one of the first of the operators on the West Coast to specify MTU engines, which they began installing in re-powers in the late 1990’s.
The two new tugs are also equipped with a MTU 4000-series V-16 engine, now with an EPA Tier 3 certification and a higher continuous rating of 2,000-hp. The propulsion system includes Reintjes reduction gears, Nautican nozzles and custom three-bladed screws from Sound Propeller. The double-vane rudders aft of each nozzle are pre-fabricated by Sause Bros. Shipyard, Southern Oregon Marine (SOMAR). Bollard pull is about 65 tons.
Electrical power is provided by two 99-kW John Deere PowerTech 4045 gensets. The Rapp hydraulic winches fore and aft have been updated with the Pentagon touch-screen system in the wheelhouse. (Rapp is now a division of McGregor Cargotech.) This design was originally developed in-house in 2005 and two vessels were launched in 2006-7, the Mikiona and Cochise.
The Seattle-based Boyer Towing fleet includes fourteen tug boats, of up to 4,000 horsepower, for inland and coastwise service, including one tug with extreme shallow draft capability. The company’s vessels are based in Ketchikan, Alaska and Seattle, Washington.
The Gretchen H is a good solid boat built by the Rodriguez yard of Coden, Alabama 1997 and her owners decided she was well worth a new set of engines. At 80 by 30 feet she has an eleven foot depth, and sports triple propellers and triple engines. Her three Lugger engines, rated at 700 HP each, were getting tired, and the owners decided on three new Cummins QSK19 Tier 3 compliant engines rated for 750 HP each at 1,800 RPM. The existing Twin Disc MG5202DC gears with their 6.1:1 ratios were a good fit for the new engines so they were retained.
Boyer did the repower themselves at their own Seattle yard. The old Luggers came out and the new, bright-red Cummins machines went in. The tug performed flawlessly on sea trials at the end of January and is ready to go back to work towing barges between Seattle, Wake Island, or Alaska.
Mavrik to Build Second Fast Ferry for WETA
The San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA) has exercised its option for a second 300-passenger high-speed ferry from Mavrik Marine of LaConner, Washington at a base price of $14.8 million. This 125-foot by 33-foot design is the latest model from Australian naval architects One2three, who have produced the plans for all Mavrik’s large catamarans. Like all the WETA fast ferries, it will be powered by a pair of MTU engines, but these will be the newest Tier 4 12V4000M65R diesels producing 2,000 hp each and turning Hamilton waterjets for a service speed of 32 knots. When it is delivered in 2021, this vessel will bring the WETA fleet to 17 catamarans with a total capacity of 6,000 passengers.
Nichols Brothers Building Ferries for Kitsap County
Nichols Brothers is continuing work on two 250 passenger fast ferries for Kitsap County to run on the Kingston and Southworth routes across Puget Sound to Pier 50 in Seattle. The 140-foot by 37-foot catamarans were designed in the UK by BMT Nigel Gee.
The ferries will be the first in the Northwest to be powered by two MTU Tier 4 16V400M65L main engines with a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) exhaust after-treatment system supplied by Pacific Power Group of Kent, Washington.
Each engine will produce 3,435 hp at 1,800 rpm, through ZF 9050 gears, turning Kamewa S71-4 waterjets. Maximum speed will be 37 knots and a cruise speed of 35 knots is expected at full load. The first boat is expected to be launched early in 2020. A Naiad Interceptor active ride- control system will be fitted to reduce motion in a seaway.
All American Marine Wins Multi-Vessel Contract
All American Marine Inc. in Bellingham, Washington, has launched an 80-foot by 27-foot long-range hydrofoil-assisted aluminum catamaran from Teknicraft Design for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TWPD). This agency is responsible for patrolling state waters, but also has a joint enforcement agreement with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) to cover an additional 200 nautical miles in the exclusive economic zone. The new vessel needed to be capable of operating over a long range in adverse sea and weather conditions. Power will come from twin Caterpillar C18 engines with commercial rating of 469-715 bhp at 1,800-2,100 rpm with HamiltonJet HM521 waterjets.
AAM announced in February that it had secured another contract to build two identical 87-foot by 32-foot catamaran tour boats to expand Major Marine Tours’ fleet of wildlife and glacier cruise vessels visiting Kenai Fjords National Park. The propulsion package for these 150-passenger vessels consists of four waterjets powered by Scania DI16 082 engines, each rated at 788 bhp at 2,100 RPM. The semi-displacement design is again by Teknicraft of New Zealand and the vessels will be certified USCG Subchapter “T”.
Hat Island Passenger Ferry
Although the order from the Hat Island Ferry is for another 49-passenger, Subchapter T 45-foot by 18-foot ferry, this is a completely different type of vessel from the high speed tour boats. It was ordered by the Hat Island Community Association that represents the 200 families with vacation houses on the one-square mile private island located between Everett and Whidbey Island, Washington. The run from Everett takes about half an hour, so the deck is fitted with two passenger gates at the bow plus a side door aft to expedite the boarding process.
The semi-displacement catamaran is designed with shaft & wheel propulsion powered by twin Cummins QSL9 405-hp engines and SeaStar EPS electronic steering. A ZF CruiseCommand system provides superior vessel control from the raised pilothouse or second station forward. Two bow thrusters and aluminum push knees with rubber fendering ease repeated mooring. Additional exterior customizations include 12 deck tie-down points and an aluminum davit for cargo transport.
The ferry features a full galley, head, Northern Lights 9kW generator, Garmin/NMEA electronics package, and PA system. The full-width main cabin is fitted with cushioned benches, luggage lockers and overhead bins. Heat and A/C keep the passengers comfortable year-round. “By closely collaborating with the stakeholders, we’ve designed a vessel that will be uniquely well-suited to their community’s needs,” said Charlie Crane, Armstrong Marine USA Sales & Marketing Director. Completion is slated for Fall, 2020.
Armstrong Marine Delivers Second IPS-Drive Catamaran
Armstrong Marine USA, of Port Angeles, Washington, has delivered a new 42-foot by 16-foot catamaran research vessel, Benthic Cat, to Orca Maritime, Inc. after successful launch and sea trials in Port Angeles Harbor. Orca Maritime selected the design after Armstrong delivered the same 4216-CTC model to UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography (R/V Bob and Betty Beyster) in 2019.
Orca Maritime will utilize the workboat in support of Department of Defense initiatives, environmental agencies, energy sectors, and commercial enterprise. Vessel operations will include the launch and recovery of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV), underwater gliders, surface and underwater sensors, remotely operated vehicles (ROV), and unmanned surface vehicles (USV). Benthic Cat will also support surface-supplied/SCUBA diving operations and provide onboard data processing.
Kurt Nelson of Orca Maritime reflected on the project, “We were excited to team up with Armstrong Marine USA given their expertise in building specialized vessels to meet the exacting needs of their customers. R/V Benthic Cat has exceeded all our expectations for speed, fuel economy, range, and maneuverability. She fills the near shore multi-mission role perfectly.”
The catamaran features a full-width cabin with fly bridge, large aft working deck, hydraulic A-frame (5,000 lb. SWL), Northern Lights 9kw diesel generator, and Garmin/NMEA electronics package. The vessel is well equipped for multi-day operations along the Southern California coast with two interior work stations, a 4-person sleeping cuddy, head with shower, refrigerator/freezer, and 600-gallon fuel capacity.
Benthic Cat is powered by twin Volvo D11 510-hp inboards paired with Volvo IPS 650 propulsors and Volvo electric steering. Builder sea trials indicated 32 mph cruise and 37 mph top speeds. The dynamic positioning system integrates GPS navigation data with propulsion controls to automatically maintain heading and position. Joystick controls at the aft docking station and flybridge station ease handling. Deck equipment includes the A-frame with Pullmaster PL5 hydraulic winch, a Morgan Marine 200.3 crane, Kinematics hydraulic anchor winch and 5-inch aft deck horizontal capstan, and 28 tie-down points for securing equipment. Rigid LED flood lights illuminate the aft deck. Inside, three Bentley’s Patriot seats accommodate captain and crew.
Vigor Fast Boats
Vigor is currently building two pilot boats for the Port of Los Angeles in its new facility in Vancouver, Washington. The 56-foot by 16.5-foot craft will follow a design from pilot boat specialist naval architects Camarc of the UK who previously designed the 72-foot Columbia Bar Pilot boats – also fitted with the integrated Popsafe fender system using large-diameter HDPE tubing.
A cruise speed of 24 knots and a maximum speed of 27 knots will be possible with twin Caterpillar C18 ACERT’s rated at 803 bhp at 2,100 rpm. These are the largest engines allowed under the Tier 3 emission standards. Propulsion is via ZF 665A-1 reduction gears and five- blade propellers. The boats can seat two crew and eight pilots.
Fincantieri Marinette Marine (FMM) and Vigor (Team RB-M) have delivered the first three of a six vessel RB-M contract to the US Coast Guard. The 45-foot by 14.7-foot boats are part of a Foreign Military Sale to The Kingdom of Bahrain’s Coast Guard. Hulls four through six are expected to ship in 2020. A total of 182 RB-Ms have been built by Team RB-M. FMM was the prime contractor and program manager, and Vigor fabricated the vessels at its Seattle facility using high temp resistant aluminum.
The RB-Ms were upgraded with an Arabian Gulf hot weather package that includes additional air conditioning, thermal insulation and an aft deck GRP canopy. Their primary missions are patrol and search and rescue.
Key features of the boats include a 92,000 BTU HVAC system, Rolls Royce Kamewa FF375S waterjets and two MTU series 60, 825-hp engines. The RB-M has a top speed of more than 42 knots and mission duration of up to 24 hours.
Moose Boats Keeps California in the Running
Moose Boats located in the Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo, California is nearing the launch of a 75-foot by 24-foot catamaran crew boat designed by the Australia architects Incat Crowther for Westar Marine Services of San Francisco. The Subchapter T design incorporates a 20-foot by 20-foot rear cargo deck that has a 20,000-lb capacity, with a cabin that can seat a crew of three and up to 28 passengers. The propulsion system consists of a pair of Volvo 6-cylinder D13 12.8-liter engines turning a Volvo IPS900 steerable pod drive turning twin counter-rotating propellers. Each engine will produce 690 hp (515 kW) and will be operated by integrated IPS controls and steering; the running speed is estimated to be 27 knots.
Moose has continued to offer the two standard catamarans it has been building for law enforcement, emergency response, and security patrol use. An M2-38 Fire Rescue Catamaran – the first on the Great Lakes – was delivered to the city of Rochester, New York Fire Department. It is powered by twin Cummins 425hp turbo diesels, with Twin Disc transmissions and Hamilton water-jets, and is equipped with a fire pump delivering 1,500 gallons per minute.
The latest order is from California’s Department of Fish and Wildlife for the construction of an M1-46 catamaran with 16-foot beam and full fender, large transom step and full fendering to serve as an offshore Game Warden boat on the Northern California coast. Power will be supplied by twin Volvo Penta D11-625hp turbo diesel propulsion engines turning Hamilton water-jets.
Multiple Outboards Can Provide Up to 1,400 HP
With outboard motor companies now producing models of up to 350 hp that are suitable for commercial use, operators of high-speed aluminum tourboats are specifying as many as four big outboards instead of a pair of inboard diesels because of their light weight and ease of replacement. Bay Welding in Homer, Alaska is working on an order from Juneau Tours and Whale Watch for a second 49.5-foot by 17.5-foot vessel – a sister ship to the 49.5-foot Atlin, delivered in 2017. The propulsion will be quad 350-hp at 5,500 rpm Yamaha outboards for a 28-knot cruising speed with a full load of 49 passengers. The displacement is 5.3 liters in a V-8 configuration, compared to the more typical V-6.
The design is for a USCG-inspected subchapter-T passenger vessel certified to carry up to 49 passengers on exposed waters at a top speed of more than 40 knots with a reduced load. Fuel capacity is 500 gallons of gasoline giving a cruising range of 225 miles. Each engine is fitted with a 50-amp alternator to run the boat’s systems, including Espar heaters and a Fusion intercom system. Naval architect is Coastwise Corp of Anchorage.
Armstrong Marine’s order book includes hulls from 37 to 45 feet powered by outboards. Alaska Tales Whale Watching of Juneau has ordered a third 45-foot by 18-foot “high-tunnel semi-displacement catamaran,” USCG Subchapter T certified for 49 passengers and 3 crew. Power is provided by quad Suzuki 350-hp outboards, paired with SeaStar Optimus EPS steering, and fuel is carried in twin 300-gallon fuel tanks. The electronics and navigation package are provided by Garmin/NMEA. The upper pilothouse has a Bentley Patriot seat for the helmsman and two Webasto heaters are installed. Design is by Armstrong in-house.
Also from Armstrong Marine is a 37-by 13-foot commercial rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB) for San Francisco Bay tour company Bay Voyager, fitted with twin Yamaha 300-hp outboards. It will feature a semi-open cabin design with full width aft canopy, enclosed head under the helm station, a Raymarine navigation/electronics package, and a heavy-duty fendering system. Capacity is 28 passengers and two crew, and the design is by Naiad of New Zealand, who have more than 30 years’ experience custom-designing and manufacturing large commercial RHIBs.
Lee Shore boats of Port Angeles has another order for a catamaran designed by Noah Thompson of New Zealand who specializes in charter and sportfishing boats up to 40 feet long. This boat is a 40-foot by 14-foot by 3.5-foot 13-passenger water taxi with an 18- by 9-foot deckhouse and a limited galley counter for food service. Propulsion is by twin 350 hp Suzuki V6 DF350A outboards with 30-inch long shafts and stainless steel duo props. Fuel capacity is 400 gallons with dual Racor fuel filters and shutoff valves. The steering system consists of a stainless steel wheel connected to a mechanical tie-bar system by dual Teleflex hydraulic steering cylinders.
Boatswain’s Locker in San Diego has reported great feedback and high levels of interest following on-water demonstrations of the ground-breaking CXO300 – the world’s highest-powered diesel outboard. They have been offering the chance to experience the Cox CXO300 on the water at locations across the West Coast including Bellingham, Seattle, Portland, Sacramento, the San Francisco Bay area, the Greater Los Angeles area and San Diego.
Sales Director Lance Henrichsen explained: “We’ve given boat builders, dealers and their customers – including both recreational, state and local agencies – the chance to take a ride and experience the CXO300 on the water. They have shown great interest in the CXO300 to fill a need in the market and commented on its impressive torque and responsiveness, remarkable smoothness, low vibration, lack of smoke at start up and barely perceptible turbo noise.”
Henrichsen has reported “great feedback from major manufacturers like Lifeproof Boats, SAFE boats, Armstrong, Lee Shore, Workskiff, Moose Boats, Farallon Boats, and others”.
Reviving the Opposed-Piston Diesel Engine
The Advanced Combat Engine (ACE) project is an opposed-piston diesel engine, working on a two-stroke combustion cycle eliminating the need for a valvetrain. ACE is projected to deliver a 21 percent reduction in thermal rejection. This is a 50 percent increase in power density and a 13 percent increase in fuel efficiency over engines currently in use. Achates Power has been solving the inherent problems of the OP Engine architecture for the last 15 years, applying modern engineering tools and simulation to bring the engine to the market – the pull from the Army has been the catalyst that has put an OP Engine program on the path to production.
Two years of 250-hp single cylinder two-piston engine development, and a successful 80-hour durability test on that hardware have led to the development of the 1,000 HP multi-cylinder engine (MCE), prototypes which are now being tested at Cummins Technical Center. The Army will receive a test engine later in 2019 and multiple vehicle demonstrations with the Army are planned over the next 2-3 years.
Low-rate initial production is slated for 2023, and the platform is poised to be the most power dense ever tested by the Army by a factor of two. This incredible power density, coupled with superior efficiency and heat rejection, will enable vehicle optimization and enhanced power output that was previously unachievable. The 1,000 hp Advanced Combat Engine brings an unparalleled opportunity to the future of ground combat, and perhaps marine, vehicles.
First Fuel Cell Ferry
In mid 2018, Alameda, California’s Bay Ship and Yacht Co. was awarded the contract to build the 84-passenger catamaran Water-Go-Round, reported to be the first fuel cell vessel of any kind in the United States and the first commercial fuel cell ferry in the world. The 70-foot “e-ferry” was designed by Incat Crowther to be built from a kit of aluminum parts shipped from their facility in Lafayette, Louisiana.
The project was developed by Golden Gate Zero Emission Marine with private funding and a $3 million grant from the California Air Resources Board.
This zero-emission technology combines hydrogen and oxygen in a chemical reaction to create electricity. The 360 kW-bank of Hydrogenics fuel cells will be supplied by an array of compressed H2 tanks at 250 bar weighing 264 kg, giving up to two full days’ operation. The electricity will run two 300-kW (400 hp) shaft motors, backed-up by 100 kWh lithium batteries in the hulls to provide boost power to achieve 22 knots. It will be re-fueled at the dock by hydrogen from a truck-most likely in Oakland.
Construction on the vessel was halted recently as the original client lost funding. The project has been acquired by a new consortium on the East Coast with the same name, and the vessel will be completed by Bellingham Washington’s All American Marine.
Electric Pilot Project
Currently, there are no pilot boats operating in the US with hybrid or fully electric propulsion systems. Canaveral Pilots Association, Port Canaveral, Florida has partnered with naval architecture firms Glosten and New Bedford, Massachusetts-based Ray Hunt Design on a pilot/demonstration project for the design, construction, and operation of an electric pilot boat.
During the feasibility-level engineering, the team established that a Ray Hunt V-hull form outfitted with a Glosten-designed battery propulsion system will achieve the speed and operating range required to support normal pilotage operations in Port Canaveral. Specific design details remain confidential at this stage, but the minimum performance criteria established by Port Canaveral included a cruising speed of 18 knots and an operating range (on battery propulsion only) of 24 nautical miles.
“The technology isn’t necessarily new. The challenge is managing total weight in relation to the hull form and the required operating profile,” said Winn Willard, president of Ray Hunt. The next step for the Glosten-led team is the development of a draft program for the pilot/demonstration project to be used for federal and/or state grant funding solicitations.