Powerful McAllister z-drive flexes its muscles in Maine

Andrew Mcallister 1

On a warm June day, the first indication that summer would visit Portland, Maine, this year, the tugs Andrew McAllister and Rowan McAllister took up positions — bow and stern quarter, respectively — on the 600-foot tanker Great Eastern. The docking pilot, Capt. Brian Fournier, ascended the pilot ladder to the gangway and boarded the Irving Oil ship prior to its departure, light boat, from the Citgo Terminal in South Portland.

A few years ago, a lone tanker would not have turned a head here. But since the gush of oil flowing north in the Portland-to-Montreal pipeline has been supplanted by Alberta’s tar sands product, visits by tankers like Great Eastern truly make an impression in the port.

The tug escorts the Irving Oil tanker Great Eastern through the Casco Bay Bridge. The tug’s JonRie 250 Series escort winch is outfitted with Samson Neutron-8 synthetic rope.

“Until 2014, 24 tankers called at the pipeline every month,” said Fournier, who is also president of Portland Tugboat LLC and vice president of Northeast operations for McAllister Towing. “Since then, they average one or two per month. We still get nine to 12 jobs per month — barges, bulkers and tankers.”

Be that as it may, Fournier emphasizes that Portland’s niche is still petroleum. Portland Tugboat was assisting Suezmax tankers with a 52-foot draft long before the Panama Canal expansion heralded the arrival of floating behemoths on the Atlantic coast. And that is why Fournier appreciates having the 96-foot, 6,000-hp Andrew McAllister, flagship of the company’s four-tug harbor fleet. The other tugs are the 4,650-hp Rowan McAllister, the 4,000-hp Fournier Girls and the 1,800-hp Roderick McAllister.

“I often refer to the Andrew as my ‘showstopper,’” Fournier said. “I have the utmost confidence in the boat and her crew to help me navigate the tightest quarters in the lousiest weather conditions. It is Maine after all, and our winters can be fairly epic.”

Andrew McAllister was built in 2008 at Eastern Shipbuilding in Panama City, Fla., for McAllister Towing. The powerhouse, driven by two EMD 12-710-G7B mains linked with Schottel SRP 1515 z-drives, is ABS classed +A-1 Towing, +AMS, and is rated as a FiFi-1 escort vessel.

The tug is powered by a pair of EMD main engines turning Schottel z-drives.

Andrew’s firefighting equipment consists of two Caterpillar 3412C diesel engines driving Nijhuis HGT1 fire pumps capable of supplying 11,600 gallons per minute. The pumps feed two FFS remote-controlled monitors with foam injection capability. There is also a 1,100-gpm deluge system.

Mounted on the bow is a JonRie 250 Series automatic-tensioning escort winch wound with 450 feet of 9-inch Samson Neutron-8 synthetic rope.

Once Great Eastern was free of its moorings, deck hand Adriann Cyr and engineer Ed Holland took in the line. Capt. John Reeves, at the helm of Andrew, escorted the tanker through the Casco Bay Bridge and nudged up under the ship’s pilot ladder. With Fournier back aboard, the tugs Andrew and Rowan headed for home.


Capt. John Reeves mans the helm for ship escort duty.


Capt. Brian Fournier, the docking pilot on Andrew, makes his way to Great Eastern’s wheelhouse.


Andrew’s distinctive McAllister stacks stand out against the ocean as the tug powers across Casco Bay.


Taking a break in the Maine sunshine are crewmembers Capt. Brian Fournier, deck hand Adriann Cyr, Capt. John Reeves and engineer Ed Holland.



Owner: McAllister Towing
Operator: Portland Tugboat LLC
Builder: Eastern Shipbuilding Group (2008)
Designer: Jensen Maritime Consultants
  • (2) Tier 2-compliant EMD 12-710-G7B diesel mains generating 3,000 hp each
  • (2) Schottel SRP 1515 z-drives (2) 99-kW Marathon gensets
  • Firefighting equipment driven by (2) Tier 1-compliant Caterpillar 3412C diesels 
  • Nijhuis HGT1 fire pumps capable of 11,600 gpm 
  • 1,100-gpm deluge system (2) FFS remote-controlled monitors with foam injection capability 3,000 gallons of AFFF foam
  • JonRie 250 Series escort winch
  • 450 feet of 9-inch Samson Neutron-8 synthetic rope
  • Fuel oil: 30,000 gallons
  • Lube oil: 500 gallons
  • Potable water: 6,150 gallons
  • ABS Classed +A-1 Towing, +AMS, FiFi-1 escort vessel


By Professional Mariner Staff