Nichols Brothers launches final z-drive tug in series for Foss

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(FREELAND, Wash.) — Nichols Brothers Boat Builders (NBBB) launched the final tractor tug in a four-vessel series on April 29 for Foss Maritime. M/V Rachael Allen will join the Foss fleet in May.

The ASD-90 tugs feature a design by Jensen Maritime Consultants of Seattle. The 100-by-40-foot z-drive tugs are built to U.S. Coast Guard Subchapter M regulatory standards, with ABS loadline certification and UWILD notation.

The vessels are equipped with two MTU Series 4000 main engines, meeting EPA Tier 4 emission standards, coupled to Kongsberg US255 azimuth thrusters. The propulsion package produces over 90 tons of bollard pull, giving the tugs exceptional pulling power and maneuverability. The vessels are outfitted with Mackay Marine electronics and Markey winches forward for ship assist and aft for barge towing.

NBBB continues to invest in upgrading and improving its haul and launch equipment, which has expanded their capabilities considerably over the past decade. During this launch, NBBB utilized air bags for added buoyancy. This allowed for the tug to float off the launch cradle seamlessly before high tide.

Foss welcomed M/V Jamie Ann and M/V Leisa Florence into its fleet in April 2020 and January 2021 respectfully, and AmNav Maritime, a sister company and subsidiary of Saltchuk Marine, welcomed M/V Sarah Avrick in September 2020. M/V Rachael Allen will join the fleet in May after final outfitting and trials are completed at NBBB’s outfitting pier in Langley, Wash.

“The launch of every vessel is a special moment in its construction, bringing the boat into it’s natural environment,” said NBBB CEO Gavin Higgins. “We are very proud of the opportunity Foss has given us with this series of tugs. The team have worked very hard to complete all four vessels in these difficult and challenging times.”

– Nichols Brothers Boat Builders

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M/V Jamie Ann, sister to newbuild Rachael Allen. Foss Maritime photo
By Professional Mariner Staff