Foss switches its fleet to ultra low sulfur diesel fuel

The tugs Wedell Foss and Garth Foss, which are based in the Northwest, are among the vessels in the Foss fleet that will be switching to ultra low sulfur diesel fuel. The move will reduce sulfur dioxide emissions in the Puget Sound region by about nine tons annually. (Courtesy Foss Maritime)

Seattle-based Foss Maritime has taken a bold environmental initiative and voluntarily switched its fleet of vessels to ultra low sulfur diesel fuel (ULSDF).

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and port officials in Portland, Ore., and Seattle applauded the company’s action. Foss’ move to a greener fuel will mean a significant reduction in the amount of particulate matter and other pollutants released into the environment by its fleet.

According to the company, the switch to ULSDF will reduce sulfur dioxide emissions by about nine tons per year in the Seattle/Puget Sound region and about eight tons per year in the Columbia and Snake Rivers area, including Portland. The use of ULSDF by Foss vessels will also reduce the particulate matter in the air by about 0.7 tons per year for Seattle/Puget Sound and .06 tons per year for the Columbia and Snake Rivers area.

Susan Hayman, vice president of health, quality, safety and environment for Foss, said that ULSDF will cost the company 2 to 3 cents per gallon more than low sulfur diesel fuel (LSDF).

With the exception of California, where ULSDF is mandatory, Foss vessels have been using low sulfur diesel fuel. The switch from LSDF, which contains a maximum of 500 parts per million of sulfur, compared with ULSDF, which contains a maximum of 15 ppm, comes five years ahead of a federal EPA requirement for marine diesel engines to use ULSDF.

Tay Yoshitani, chief executive officer of the Port of Seattle, said “We applaud Foss’ decision to make the move now. Every day that working vessels are burning cleaner fuel makes a difference.”

This is not Foss’ first move toward a cleaner environment. In August 2007, the company joined the Smartway Transport Partnership, a collaboration between the EPA and the freight industry to reduce greenhouse gasses and air pollution. In March 2007, Foss announced that it would build the first true hybrid tugboat, which is to be delivered in 2008. The tug will work in the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

Signet Maritime launches z-drive

Signet Maritime’s new 98-foot z-drive tug was designed by Robert Allan Ltd. and built by J.M. Martinac Shipbuilding. It will have a bollard pull of 89 tons ahead and 84 tons astern. (Courtesy Robert Allan Ltd.)

Signet Maritime Corp. of Houston, launched the first of its new AZ-30/80 class tugs, Signet America. The tug was designed by Robert Allan Ltd., of Vancouver, British Columbia, and was built by J.M. Martinac Shipbuilding in Tacoma, Wash. The designation AZ-30/80 refers to its z-drive, length (in meters) and bollard pull (in tons).

Signet America is a powerful ship-handling, rig-handling, short-haul towing and escort tug designed to meet the shallow depth requirements (a draft limit of 17.5 feet) of its operating area of the La Quinta Channel in the Port of Corpus Christi, Texas.

The multipurpose vessel is 98 feet overall with a 40-foot beam. Its maximum draft is 17 feet 6 inches. For propulsion Signet America has two MTU 16V-4000 diesel engines, each rated at 3,305 hp at 2,000 rpm. Each engine drives a Niigata ZP-41 z-drive turning a 106-inch diameter propeller. The bollard pull ahead is predicted to be about 89 tons and 84 tons astern. The boat will have a free running speed of over 12 knots.

The tug’s main hawser winch is a single-drum Markey model DEPCF-52S electric winch with a spool capacity of 750 feet of 10-inch diameter line. The winch has a first layer brake capacity of 307 tons and a line pull of 30,818 pounds at 73 feet per minute or 7,705 pounds at 145 feet per minute.

Signet America was built to ABS Class A1 Towing Vessel specifications and has a FiFi-1 rating. Fendering was provided by Schuyler Rubber and is made up of a Shibata 31.5-inch (outer diameter) bow fender and Schuyler soft-loop fenders around the length of the main deck.

Signet America can accommodate a crew of six with the master’s and chief’s cabin on the main deck and the crew cabins in the lower space forward. Access to the interior spaces is from a corridor that runs across the deckhouse.

This arrangement places access to the interior close to the centerline — minimizing the possibility of water egress below and also helping with noise levels in the crew quarters.
James McCarthy, the tug’s project manager at Robert Allan Ltd., said delivery is scheduled before the end of the year.

Bouchard converts tug and barge to ATB

In October 2007 Bouchard Transportation Co. took delivery of a tug and barge that have been converted into an articulated tug and barge (ATB). Bollinger Gulf Repair LLC and Bollinger Algiers LLC did the work. This is the fifth ATB conversion that Bollinger has done for Bouchard.

Bollinger Gulf Repair converted B. No. 195 from a 446-foot single-hull to a 468-foot double-hull vessel. The conversion also involved fitting a new ballast system and modifying the stern to accept the bow of Bouchard Girls through an Intercon coupler system.

Intercontinental Engineering-Manufacturing Corp. of Kansas City manufactures the Intercon system. It comprises a set of ladders, essentially fore and aft facing cast teeth, that are designed to accept a matching ram assembly retrofitted on the tug. When fully engaged, the rams extend and mate with the teeth in the barge notch. An advantage of this system is that the hull of the tug is never in direct contact with the barge. The tug is able to pitch independently of the barge, resulting in a more comfortable ride for the crew.

Other advantages include fleet interchangeability because of flush-mounted components, the elimination of hawsers, headlines and cables (no crew are required on deck) and a fail-safe connection with force monitoring.

Bouchard Girls underwent conversion at the Bollinger Algiers facility in Louisiana. In addition to the Intercon system, the tug was fitted with a keel cooled MTU 8V-71 genset capable of producing 99 kw as backup power for the Intercon system and the main generator.

The barge conversion meets American Bureau of Shipping rules for Class Maltese A-1 oil tank barge and U.S. Coast Guard requirements for the carriage of petroleum products of grade A or lower, for manned services in oceans.

According to Morton S. Bouchard III, president and chief executive of Bouchard Transportation Co., Bouchard Girls and Bouchard No. 295 (formerly B. No. 195) were refitted in compliance with OPA ’90 and represent “another step forward in our company’s commitment to the petroleum industry.”

Former Army tug gets repowered

Westview Towing’s single-screw tug Capital C has a new lease on life following repowering at Shelter Harbor Marina in Richmond, British Columbia.

The former U.S. Army ST 1987 was launched in Jacksonville, Fla., in 1957. The slim and graceful 62-foot tug has served Daynes well for about eight years hauling log barges from the Queen Charlotte Islands to the Fraser River, about 500 miles away.

Mike Daynes, the owner of Westview Towing, had put nearly 50,000 hours on the tug’s Fairbanks Morse F38, 600-hp opposed-cylinder, before deciding to repower. He replaced the engine with an 850-hp Cummins KTA38. The Cummins was a good fit for the tug even though its V12 configuration is a little wider than the old Fairbanks Morse engine. It was also able to use the same Twin Disc gear with its 5.17:1 ratio. However Daynes had to repitch the tug’s prop from 68 to 42 inches to compensate for the new engine’s higher rpm.

During the refit at Shelter Island Marina, other modifications were also made. A bow thruster was added and the engine stacks were moved further aft of the wheelhouse so as not to obstruct the view astern.

ATB for Moran from Washburn & Doughty

The newest addition to the Moran towing fleet is an ATB from Washburn & Doughty Associates, of East Boothbay, Maine, and Bay Shipbuilding, of Sturgeon Bay, Wis.

The tug Pati R. Moran was delivered on Nov. 9, 2007. The 120-foot, 5,100-hp tug (5,610 intermittent) is powered by two EMD model 12-645F7B engines turning a Rolls-Royce five-blade New Generation Workwheel propeller through a Lufkin model RHS2500HG 4.458:1 reduction gear. Two John Deere 6081/125 kw generators and one John Deere 4045 provide auxiliary power. Deck machinery includes a Markey CEW-60 capstan forward and a Markey CEWP-90 capstan aft.

The new barge, Charleston, built by Bay Shipbuilding and owned by Petroleum Transport Corp., will be based in Wilmington, Del. The 425-foot barge is double hulled and has a liquid capacity of over 118,000 barrels and a fuel capacity of 20,000 gallons. The new ATB is fitted with an Intercon C connection system.

By Professional Mariner Staff