God of thunder packs a punch

Top, the double-ended tug Thor is powerful yet maneuverabie.

Above, Capt. Blake Morgan assists an outbound ship in Galveston, Texas. (Photos by Brian Gauvin)

Recently I joined the crew aboard Thor, Suderman & Young’s new tug, and for now, the pinnacle in North American tug design for liquefied natural gas (LNG) work. Since this was a training run, the wheelhouse featured a crush of captains.

Meeting the demand of ship docking and escort duties for the LNG industry requires that tugs be more powerful, more maneuverable and safer, and the crews must be better trained. The 6,300-hp, 98-by-39-foot Thor muscles a bollard pull of 75 tons. Thor is the first Z-Tech tug in North America. Primarily, Z-Tech incorporates a double-ended hull with azimuthing stern drives (ASD) and a large skeg. Designed by Robert Allan Ltd. of Vancouver, Thor was built at Main Iron Works in Houma, La.
“The hybrid design of the Thor melds the best operational aspects of tractor and ASD (design) into a truly remarkable handling tug,” said Capt. Steven Huttman, director of marine operations at G&H Towing in Galveston, Texas.

Above, the Markey DYSF-52 winch with AmSteel-Blue hawser.
Below, Engineer Dean Williams at the alarm panel in the engine room.
Next spring, G&H Towing will operate a joint venture at the new ConocoPhillips™ LNG terminal in Freeport, Texas. The venture will consist of three tugs, one each from Suderman & Young, Bay Houston Towing and Moran Towing. Thor will represent Suderman & Young.
Main Iron Works will deliver Wesley A, the second Z-Tech in the 7500 series, to Bay Houston for that venture.
“We are especially pleased with the tug’s performance running backwards, made possible by the shape of the stern and the directional stability provided by the large skeg,” Huttman said. He made this observation while running Thor backwards, holding a bow-to-bow position above the bulbous bow of UBC Baton Rouge, an outbound ship running at speed. “She doesn’t fishtail,” he said.
“I really like the way it handles astern, much better than a (traditional) z-drive,” said Capt. Sean Cook.
One of the two Caterpillar 3516C diesels, producing 3,150 hp each. They power Schottel SRP 1520FT z-drives with 106-inch four-blade propellers, giving the tug a bollard pull of 75 tons.

“She doesn’t hunt on you. She’s real steady. I think the skeg helps a lot.”

Power is delivered by two Caterpillar 3516C diesels driving Schottel Model SRP 1520FT z-drives with 106-inch four-blade propellers. A Markey DYSF-52 hawser winch on the forward deck is wrapped with AmSteel-Blue (Samson) hawser.
Thor achieves FiFi-1 requirements with two 5,800-gpm Fire Fighting System (FFS) fire pumps and FFS monitors forward of the house and a Goulds shipboard firefighting pump.
The fendering – Schuyler Rubber SR3D-2 loop-style lining the gunwales and Shibata cylindrical-style rubber wrapping the bow and stern – elicits much comment. “Nice and soft,” summed up Capt. Blake Morgan.
Although the tug performs a variety of escort duties, it is designed to meet the challenges of working with huge LNG tankers.
Shibata cylindrical rubber fendering at the bow and stern gives the tug a soft touch.


By Professional Mariner Staff