McAllister powerhouse makes a name for itself in Baltimore

Bridget 1

The tugboat Bridget McAllister, designed by Robert Allan Ltd. and built by Foss Maritime at its Rainier, Ore., shipyard in 2006, has had a short but eventful life.

Foss named the 73-foot tug Leo and chartered it to Signet Maritime, where it was renamed Signet Magic. In 2008, the tug was back in the Foss fleet and once again named Leo. Next, Leo was transferred to Foss’ subsidiary, Constellation Maritime of Boston, Mass. After Constellation ceased operations, McAllister Towing and Transportation Co. acquired Leo in 2012. As the newly named Bridget McAllister, the tug was assigned to McAllister’s Baltimore fleet.

On a pleasant day last June, the 5,080-hp z-drive and the tractor tug Timothy McAllister waited at the Francis Scott Key Bridge to assist the 623-foot bulk carrier Genco Warrior into Baltimore Harbor for a load of export coal.

Aboard Bridget, tucked into the tight bridge, McAllister port captain Bob Dempsey manned the helm. He was flanked by the deckineer, Alexander Nielsen; Marino Hwang, a McAllister marine compliance manager; and Kelly Caubo, a first-year Kings Point cadet. Another cadet, Lydia Hoff, in her final year at Maine Maritime Academy, was below. Both cadets were aboard for the day to get a taste of tugboat life.

Bridget is outfitted with a pair of Markey winches for ship handling, including this Markey DEPGF-42 hawser winch at the bow.

The 4,000-hp Timothy McAllister has a longer history that is also interesting. Built in 1966, it is one of eight U.S. Navy tugs that McAllister converted to z-drive propulsion, undergoing the makeover in 2005. A third tug in the Baltimore fleet, Kaleen McAllister, was sidelined in July and replaced by the 4,000-hp Brooklyn McAllister, built in 1986 and the first z-drive in the McAllister lineup.

Mike Reagoso, McAllister’s general manager and vice president in the Port of Baltimore, said the powerful tugs are needed as cargo ships grow ever larger.

“Ro-ro (roll-on/roll-off cargo) is huge here,” he said, followed by containerships and break-bulk cargo. “But coal is still important in Baltimore.”

Bridget is the most modern, most usable and strongest piece of equipment we have here in Baltimore,” Dempsey said. “We are preparing to be successful with the longer and larger ships.”

Upon approaching the Consolidated Coal dock, Bridget and Timothy put a line up on Genco Warrior, and taking direction from the pilot either pushed or pulled as needed to dock the ship. It was a routine assignment that did not tax Bridget’s muscle, which will be needed for neo-Panamax containerships that carry over 10,000 TEUs.


Deckineer Alexander Nielsen kneels next to one of the tug’s Rolls-Royce 205 z-drives.


Propulsion is provided by a pair of Caterpillar 3512C HD Series II diesels each delivering 2,540 horsepower.


Bob Dempsey, McAllister’s port captain in Baltimore, scans his surroundings as Bridget McAllister escorts the bulk carrier Genco Warrior to the Consolidated Coal dock.


Bridget McAllister specifications

Owner/operator: McAllister Towing and Transportation Co., New York, N.Y.
Designer/builder: Robert Allan Ltd., Vancouver, British Columbia/Foss Maritime, Rainier, Ore.
Dimensions: L: 73’ B: 34’ D: 12.4’

• (2) Caterpillar 3512C HD Series II diesel engines, 2,540 hp each (total 5,080 hp)
• Bollard pull: 65 tons
• (2) Rolls-Royce 205 z-drives
• John Deere generators
• Centa carbon-fiber shaft

• Elliot life raft
• Carlisle & Finch searchlights
• Kidde fire suppression system

• Markey DEPGF-42 hawser winch (bow)
• Markey DEPC-32 hawser winch (stern)
• 400 feet Samson Saturn-12 line
• Schuyler rubber fendering

• Furuno radars and GPS
• Simrad autopilot
• Saab AIS
• SEA radios and loud hailer


By Professional Mariner Staff