Re-powered Calif. tugs provide Crowley with ship-assist upgrade

1 Scout

On a summer morning in San Diego, the Crowley Maritime tugs Scout and Tioga slipped their moorings at the Crosby Street pier and headed under the Coronado Bridge to await the Pasha Hawaii 692-foot con-ro vessel Marjorie C.

In late 2014, the 105-foot, 4,800-hp, cycloidal-drive Scout and the 79-foot, 4,400-hp, azimuthing stern drive (ASD) Tioga were moved to San Diego from Los Angeles, replacing the twin-screw, 3,500-hp tugs Saturn and Spartan. The change signaled a significant upgrade.

Aboard Scout, Capt. Sherman Sakatani praised the maneuverability and quick response of the tug. “It is nimble and quick,” said Sakatani. “Coming from conventional tugs, it is much easier to learn on a cycloidal drive than a z-drive. They are more like a twin-screw with a bow thruster.”

Scout, a Harbor-class tug built in 1999 at Nichols Brothers Boat Builders of Freeland, Wash., was recently re-powered with two Tier 3 Caterpillar 3512C, 2,400-hp diesel engines, shafted to the original Voith Schneider 28G11/210 cycloidal drives. The bollard pull is 52 tons direct pull and 120 tons indirect pull at 10 knots.

Its Crowley Maritime counterpart Tioga, left, tows the con-ro ship Marjorie C

“Normally we work mainly with the stern winch,” said Sakatani. “The house is set forward, so there is a lot of room to get in close to a ship.” The hawser winch on the stern is a Markey DYSS-52 render/recover winch. On the bow there is a Markey DYSD-42 winch and a Markey DYP-36 mooring winch. “Here in San Diego we do a lot of dead ships and we move a lot of dry docks because of NASSCO and BAE. So we have to do a lot of three-line makeups with the bow winch.”

Later in the day, the tugs conducted a routine ship assist for the outbound car carrier Green Dale. Capt. Joey Gordon, at the helm of Tioga, explained that car carriers constitute the bulk of the ship-assist work in San Diego, followed by shipyard moves, Dole fruit ships and the odd windmill ship and heavy-lift vessel transporting yachts.

Tioga was built in 1994 by Tri State Marine of Seattle for Coos Bay Towboat of Coos Bay, Ore. Crowley acquired the tug and recently re-powered it with a pair of Tier 3 Caterpillar 3512C diesel engines connected to the original Ulstein 1650H z-drives. The bollard pull is 54 tons ahead and astern. On the bow, Tioga carries a Markey DEPC-48 render/recover winch. There is a Johnson Automatic towing machine on the stern.

“We did 69 ship moves last month,” Sakatani said, referring to May. June was shaping up to be a repeat performance.


Christopher Collins and Ernie Selgado work the hawser line alongside Tioga’s Markey DEPC-48 render/recover winch.


Scout’s chief engineer, Jake Zeiters, makes engine log entries. 


Capt. Joey Gordon at the controls of Tioga while assisting an outbound car carrier. 


Capt. Sherman Sakatani handles the helm while Scout assists Marjorie C.


One oScouts two Caterpillar 3512C main engines.


Able seaman James Palmquist guides the hawser line to the Markey bow winch aboard Scout


By Professional Mariner Staff