Island Tug and Barge adds new z-drive ATB tug

The following is text of a news release from Island Tug and Barge (ITB):

(BURNABY, British Columbia) — British Columbia-based Island Tug and Barge christened the second of its new custom-built articulated tugs, Island Regent, during an afternoon ceremony on June 20 at its headquarters in Burnaby. After the Rev. Mark Schwab from St. Stephen’s Church delivered a blessing, Nancy Ford, wife of Bill Ford, an ITB master for over 24 years, broke the traditional champagne bottle over the vessel’s hull while a group of ITB and Tidewater Canada employees, clients, vendor representatives, and business partners cheered from the shore.

Island Regent was designed by Robert Allan Ltd. naval architects and marine engineers of Vancouver, B.C., to be paired with ITB’s double-hulled oil tank barge, ITB Reliant, as an articulated tug-barge (ATB).

“Today is a proud day for everyone at Island Tug and Barge and Tidewater,” said Bob Curcio, Tidewater president and CEO. “The first ATB, the Island Raider and ITB Resolution, has performed exceptionally well in its first year of service. We are excited to have the Island Regent and ITB Reliant joining it soon. These new ATBs represent a significant milestone in ITB’s capabilities to serve our customers better than ever.”

Main propulsion for the 78-by-41-foot Island Regent is provided by twin Cummins KTA38M 634-kW engines, producing 850 hp each at 1,800 rpm. Through carbon fiber shafts, the main engines connect to two 1,600 mm, four-bladed in-nozzle Rolls-Royce US105 FP azimuthing thrusters (z-drives). The z-drive thrusters can rotate 360 degrees, providing maximum thrust in any direction and enhanced maneuverability. Once the tug is fitted into the notch of the barge, a connection is made through an Articouple FRC 35S pin (coupler) system. These hydraulic pins engage in a vertical slot on the barge to create a semi-rigid bond that allow the tug to pitch but not roll. The joined ATB has a fully loaded speed of 10 knots.

Two John Deere 4045 AFM85 generators, producing 99 kW of electrical power each, provide power for Island Regent. The tug’s navigation equipment include a JRC automatic identification system (AIS), radar, electronic chart display, and weather station; Alphatron Marine bridge navigation watch alarm system, magnetic compass, and repeater swing meter; and Sailor VHF radio. A fixed Kidde FM200 fire extinguishing system is installed in the machinery spaces.

“Our goal was to build an extraordinarily capable vessel that would meet and exceed all regulatory and industry established standards of operation, while providing efficiency and reliability to our clients,” said Adrian Samuel, ITB president. “With the help of Nichols Brothers Boat Builders, we accomplished our goal. I would like to extend my gratitude to both the skilled men and women who constructed the Island Regent, and to the ITB masters, first mates, and crew who diligently trained to safely and expertly operate these innovative vessels.” 

Island Regent was designed with considerable emphasis on crew comfort and endurance. By incorporating Sika vibration and sound dampening floors, and Norac wall and ceiling paneling, noise levels register at less than 59 decibels in the wheelhouse during vessel operation – which is equivalent to an air conditioner. In addition, fully heated and air-conditioned accommodations can house up to eight persons in six cabins. The standard crew is four – master, mate and two deckhands. For optimal situational awareness, the wheelhouse incorporates floor to ceiling windows, as well as a full walk-around catwalk. Facilities include a stainless-steel finished galley and large mess deck, exercise room, laundry room, and office.

The first phase of the Island Regent build took place at ITB’s Annacis Island facility along the Fraser River in British Columbia; the build was completed at Nichols Brothers Boat Builders at Whidbey Island in Washington state.

“The Nichols Brothers’ team is pleased to continue our work for Island Tug and Barge, building tugs and modifying barges that meet high standards for maneuverability and safety," said Matt Nichols, Nichols Brothers Boat Builders executive vice president. "We look forward to seeing the Island Raider and the Island Regent service ITB’s clients along the west coast of Canada and Washington for decades to come.”

By Professional Mariner Staff