Nichols launches ATB with assist from crane barges, tugboats


(HOLMES HARBOR, Wash.) — Nichols Brothers Boat Builders successfully launched a new articulated tug-barge two days after a problem the company's new track launching system, the South Whidbey Record reported. The 136-foot Nancy Peterkin, built for Kirby Offshore Marine, was delayed last week when airbags used in the system didn't perform as expected. Two large cranes on barges and three tugboats then assisted the ATB into the deep water of Holmes Harbor.

Click here to read the story.

The following is the text of a news release from Nichols Brothers Boat Builders:

(FREELAND, Wash.) — Ice Floe LLC, dba Nichols Brothers Boat Builders (NBBB), launched the Nancy Peterkin, an articulated tug-barge (ATB) unit tugboat, on Wednesday, Sept. 2 for Kirby Offshore Marine.

The 136-foot ATB tugboat was launched via a new track and dolly system specifically developed by Engineering Heavy Service (EHS) for vessels greater than 1,000 tons. The launch system is a development of the system that has been used successfully multiple times for transferring the Washington State Ferries 144-car ferry superstructures fabricated at NBBB on to a barge for transport to assembly with the hull.

The new launch system from EHS moved the vessel from the shipyard to the launch ramp. General Construction provided two floating cranes to assist in the final lifting of the vessel, shuttling it to deeper water. The vessel was towed to Everett, Wash., for lightship, stability testing and fuel transfer. Following this the tug will be towed to NBBB outfitting pier in Langley, Wash., located across Puget Sound from Everett, Wash., for final outfitting, dock and sea trials before its final delivery.

The new launch system offers a significant increase in displacement and draft for the vessels NBBB can haul and launch in the future over the crawler system. Currently NBBB is engineering to install ridged buoyancy tanks to the side of the launch frame eliminating the need for the floating cranes in the future. The Nancy Peterkin is the first of a two vessel sister ships. The Tina Pyne is also being built at NBBB and is scheduled for launch in December 2015.

By Professional Mariner Staff