McAllister continues aggressive building program

Rosemary McAllister, designed by Jensen Maritime Consultants and built by Eastern Shipbuilding, is the latest newbuild for New York-based McAllister Towing.  (Brian Gauvin photos)

McAllister Towing continues to be among the most aggressive U.S. companies when it comes to upgrading its fleet of tugboats that operate mostly on the Eastern Seaboard and in Atlantic waters out to Puerto Rico.

McAllister, a 140-year-old family-operated company based in New York City, has been steadily expanding its fleet of azimuthing z-drive tugs to the point where, by the end of this year, it expects to have about 25 of these tractor-style tugs in its fleet of roughly 80 tugs and four barges.

New this year is the 6,000-hp Rosemary McAllister, another in a series of 96-footers designed by Jensen Maritime Consultants of Seattle and built by Eastern Shipbuilding Group of Florida. This tug design, first built in 2001 with Janet M. McAllister, has been so successful that it has been adopted by well-known companies for their own new tugs, including E.N. Bisso & Son of New Orleans and Seabulk Towing of Florida.

Next out after Rosemary will be Andrew McAllister, expected over the summer. With the completion of Andrew, McAllister will have seven of these tugs, ranging from 4,650 to 6,000 hp, and most capable of performing LNG ship-assist work.

But not to let those welders and pipe fitters get any rest, McAllister also has the Eastern shipyard building a pair of 82-foot, 4,000-hp tugs for general ship-assist work. These two are expected to be delivered by the end of this year.

What is really unique about this company’s roster of tugs, however, is the large number of former Navy YTBs that have been converted to twin z-drive propulsion and put to work successfully almost everywhere as regular ASD tractors. At last count McAllister had 11 of these converted YTBs in its fleet, almost all with Caterpillar power, Schottel z-drives and offering roughly 4,000 hp each. This somewhat grand plan, engineered at the beginning of this decade by President Brian A. McAllister, may not be over yet, as the company apparently has four additional YTBs still awaiting conversion.

As of this year, McAllister has operations in a dozen ports from Maine to Florida, with its largest fleet stationed at New York, its traditional base of operations. In addition to providing ship-assist work in so many ports, McAllister operates an active ocean-towing business which may account for as much as 30 percent of its business, according to Vice President and General Counsel Buckley McAllister. Another significant business segment is the Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat Co. that moves people and cars on a regular year-round schedule across Long Island Sound from Bridgeport, Conn. to Port Jefferson, N.Y.

McAllister expanded its ship-assist business in March 2007, with the acquisition of the Providence Steamboat Co. in Providence, R.I. That business involves six tugs including a relatively new ASD tractor tug, Rainbow, and an even newer 4,000-hp twin-screw conventional tug.

“The Mauran family in Providence was very concerned about the well-being of their people and their fleet when we made the acquisition, and I think we’ve done a good job of maintaining the proud traditions of that company,” said Buckley McAllister.

By Professional Mariner Staff