Baydelta awaits 2nd pair of new ASD tractors

Photos courtesy Baydelta Maritime.

Baydelta Maritime, the San Francisco-based tugboat company founded about 15 years ago by three former San Francisco bar pilots, is currently in the midst of an aggressive building program involving four new tractor-style tugs.

Two of these tugs, Valor and Vigilant, have already been delivered and chartered to Crowley Maritime for service in Seattle and Alaska. Two additional tugs, provisionally named Delta Billie and Delta Cathryn, are expected to be delivered from the Nichols Brothers shipyard in Whidbey Island, Wash., early in 2009.

These are 100-foot, 6,800-hp ASD tractors that tested out at 91 tons of forward bollard pull. It would seem almost as likely Baydelta could charter out one or both of the second pair as that they would be added to the company’s active fleet based in downtown San Francisco. Presently Baydelta operates a pool of four tugs consisting of two 4,400-hp ASD tractors (Delta Linda II and Delta Deanna) that it owns, and two additional ASD tractors belonging to Crowley, one (Goliath) of 4,400 hp and the other (Resolute) of 6,800 hp.

Valor and Vigilant, show here, are the first two of four tugs being built by Baydelta Maritime of San Francisco. The first two were chartered to Crowley Maritime, while deployment of the second pair is still uncertain.

“There is some increased traffic here in the Bay Area, and the pilots have increased their guidelines requesting bigger tugs and better technology for all the ships, particularly the larger containerships,” said Capt. Fred Henning, managing director of Baydelta.

Baydelta tugs, including the newest, are somewhat unusual in that they are equipped with a wire-towing winch provided by JonRie Intertech, as well as the more typical bow-mounted hawser winch, in this case provided by Markey Machinery.

“We use these whenever there is a ship broken down off the coast,” said Henning. “We actually have tugs available with the equipment and knowledge base to handle just about any kind of rescue tow,” he added. “Most large tugs in the offshore towing business are attached to a barge and on the way somewhere, while most tugs available here in the harbor do not have towing equipment.”

The new Baydelta tugs also have 71,000 gallons of fuel capacity, which is more than your typical harbor tug, and they are set up with tow pins and a hold-down hook for wire use. The tugs, with Caterpillar 3516C engines and Rolls-Royce z-drives, have a free running speed of about 14 knots, according to Henning.

By Professional Mariner Staff