Moran modernizes with new tractors, newer barge fleet

Moran Towing Corporation, a Connecticut-based company that operates the largest fleet of z-drive tractor tugs on the East Coast, keeps building more of them.

Not only that, but Moran is engaged in an aggressive barge building program and will soon become one of the few U.S. blue-water barging companies with a 100 percent double-hull barge fleet.

Moran, a 130-year-old East and Gulf Coast company, has introduced two new z-drive tractor tugs in the past year, one for general ship-assist work in the Sabine River area of Texas and the other for handling LNG tankers calling at Savannah, Ga.

The most powerful tractor in Moran’s growing fleet, the 6,000 hp Edward J. Moran, was delivered in late April from the Washburn & Doughty Shipyard of Maine. She is actually one of three new tugs scheduled to begin service for this company over the next 12 months. With the introduction of its latest two tugs, Moran now operates 14 tractor tugs in ports from Texas to New York. By early next year, the company expects to be operating 16 tractor tugs, all with azimuthing twin z-drives, and more than 65 conventional tugs.

Edward J. Moran, with full FiFi-1 firefighting capability, began work this spring at the Elba Island LNG terminal near Savannah, Ga. In mid-2005 the company introduced the 5,100 hp tractor, Lynne Moran, also with full FiFi-1 certification, for service in Texas.


The newest tug is named after Edward J. (Ted) Tregurtha who became president of Moran Towing Corp. in 2001.

In addition to Edward J. Moran, there are two other still-unnamed FiFi-1 class vessels currently under construction at the same shipyard.

Edward J. Moran is a near sister ship to the tug, Bulldog, delivered by Washburn & Doughty at the end of 2005 for Crescent Towing and also engaged in LNG service on the Savannah River (See Bulldog story elsewhere in this issue). Moran and Crescent are partners in a contract with El Paso Corp. to handle LNG tankers calling at Elba Island, about 10 miles down the river from the city of Savannah.


Edward is the most powerful tug in Moran’s fleet of tractors by virtue of her EMD 710 series diesel engines. She is the first Moran tug to use those engines, which are replacing the now-outdated EMD 645 series of diesel engines.


Working to modernize its barge fleet, Moran is taking delivery of two new barges this spring and two more in 2007. These include a covered, dry-bulk barge for carrying coal and three double-hull tank barges for carrying petroleum products.

First to be put into service this year is a 418-foot dry bulk cargo barge to be christened Montville, when introduced in early summer. Montville, along with others in the Moran fleet, will frequently be carrying more than 14,000 tons of coal from mid-Atlantic ports to an electric production plant operated by Applied Energy Services (AES) in Uncasville on Connecticut’s Thames River. Montville, built by Bollinger Shipyards in Amelia, La., carries cargo in eight covered holds with its own system for removing and storing hatch covers.


The introduction of Montville will increase Moran’s fleet of dry bulk barges to seven vessels ranging from 20,000 tons to 27,000 tons capacity.


Other new barges to be introduced within the next 18 months by both Bollinger and Bay Shipbuilding of Wisconsin include a 60,000-barrel tank barge and a pair of 118,000-barrel tank barges with articulated connection systems. These will be sister ships to New Hampshire and Georgia, both introduced in 2005 and currently moving oil for Moran clients on the East Coast.


To work with these new tank barges, Moran will be building new ocean-going, SOLAS-rated tugboats, also outfitted with Intercon articulated connection systems.


With the successful introduction of three new double-hull petroleum barges in 2005, Paul Tregurtha, chairman of Moran Towing, announced that the company is on track to achieve its goal of operating an all double-hull fleet by the end of 2006.


In 2005, Moran introduced two newly built double-hull petroleum barges, New Hampshire and Georgia, both built at Bay Shipbuilding, and a newly converted double-hulled barge, Massachusetts, delivered from Gulf Marine Repair Corp. in Tampa, Fla.


The three barges, with a combined cargo carrying capacity of 360,000 barrels, were matched with ocean-going tugs from the Moran fleet, all with articulated (ATB) coupler systems that allow the tug to remain permanently in the barge notch when underway. New Hampshire and Georgia, both 427 feet in length and each with a 110,000-barrel capacity, are matched with the newly-refurbished 5,100 hp tugs Scott Turecamo and Barney Turecamo respectively, while the 415-foot Massachusetts, with 140,000 barrels, is paired with the 7,200 hp tug Paul T. Moran.


New Hampshire and Georgia are both working under contract to ConocoPhillips, delivering refined petroleum products in the Northeast, while Massachusetts is under contract with Westport Petroleum, delivering fuel oil to marine terminals along the Gulf Coast and Eastern seaboard.

By Professional Mariner Staff