Foss keeps those new tractor tugs coming

Foss Maritime has introduced the third in a series of new, high-horsepower tractor tugs for ship-assist service on the West Coast.


The new tug, Campbell Foss, was delivered from Foss shipyard in Rainier, Ore., in early 2006. She has since reported for work in the port of Long Beach, Calif.


Campbell Foss, the latest in a series of compact tugs designed by Robert Allan Ltd., was preceded by Morgan Foss, introduced in 2005 for service in Los Angeles. These Caterpillar-powered tugs have 5,000 hp crammed into a hull of only 78 feet in length. The first tug of the series, Mikioi, has been working for Hawaiian Tug & Barge in Honolulu, Hawaii.


Not including the Hawaiian tug, Foss currently operates the largest fleet of tractor-style tugs in the United States with 17 vessels divided among the major West Coast ports. These include 10 cycloidal-drive tugs and seven z-drive vessels. Among those with forward-mounted cycloidal drives are two, Wedell Foss and Henry Foss, to which were added an aft-mounted z-drive in 2005.


The arrival of Campbell Foss in Long Beach brings the number to seven of Foss tractors operating in the combined ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach.


Foss expects delivery of at least two more identical tugs from its Rainier shipyard in 2006, with more in 2007. New tugs this year will be delivered to American Navigation in San Francisco, a subsidiary of the same parent company as Foss, for service on the West Coast.


Foss, owned by Seattle-based Marine Resources Group has announced plans to build a total of seven new tugs to the same design.


Campbell Foss, with a 34-foot beam and a 40-foot skeg running from amidships forward to her bow, can exert 60 tons of forward bollard pull. She is the third of what Foss calls its “Dolphin Class” design, all based on original design by the Robert Allan firm. These new tugs have a moderately raised bow with an expansive foredeck, and its deckhouse and pilothouse set well back on the hull.


The one substantial piece of machinery anywhere on the tug’s deck is the 75-hp Markey electric hawser winch on the bow. The winch features a drum sized for more than 500 feet of eight-inch soft line, a level-winder and an auxiliary 24-inch gypsy head. The winch package comes with a line-tension indicator in the wheelhouse and a render-recovery system that allows the operator to use the winch in a hands-free manner.


The Dolphin Class tugs are also designed to carry a Markey 20-hp electric winch on the stern capable of deploying soft line or wire rope. These are intended for use on occasional towing jobs or barge handling assignments.


The tug is heavily fendered with three layers of Schuyler Rubber loop fendering at the bow, topped by a large cylindrical fender at bulwark level. Including the soft loop fendering that runs around the hull, the entire fendering package weighs about 20 tons, according to Schuyler Rubber of Woodinville, Wash.


Main engines on Campbell Foss are Cat 3512B Series II diesels with electronic controls, delivering 2,365 hp each when cranked up to 1,800 hp. Carbon-fiber shafts link the engines to Rolls-Royce azimuthing thrusters with four-bladed propellers in nozzles.


Electric power comes from a pair of 125 kw Mitsubishi diesel generator sets.


Los Angeles/Long Beach, with combined container traffic of something like 13 million standardized units, attracts some of the world’s largest container vessels and also receives its share of tanker and general freight traffic. Between 60 and 70 percent of total container traffic between Asia and the United States arrives on the West Coast and, despite congestion problems, Los Angeles/Long Beach still gets the greatest share of that traffic. Other competing ports on the West Coast include San Francisco, Seattle and Tacoma.


Still, with more than 15 tractor tugs operating in the port, plus a number of conventional tugs, it’s a hot market for the three major operators there: Foss, Crowley and Harley Marine Services. Although the others have built their share of tractor tugs last year and this year, it’s Foss that is building its fleet specifically for Los Angeles/Long Beach and San Francisco.

By Professional Mariner Staff