Shipbuilding News, September 2019

Vigor to build hybrids for Washington State Ferries

Washington State Ferries (WSF) plans to revitalize its fleet with new hybrid-electric vessels that will be built by Vigor. 

WSF is the largest ferry operator in the United States and has made greening its fleet a major priority. The project announced with political leaders from across the state calls for construction of up to five new Olympic-class ferries with hybrid-electric propulsion. 

Last year, Vigor delivered the fourth of four 144-vehicle Olympic-class ferries designed with efficient hull forms that create less drag in the water. The new project serves as an extension of the previous contract. 

The first hybrid ferry is currently in the design and engineering phase, and details on the propulsion package have not been released. However, WSF expects the new vessels will reduce carbon emissions by 94 percent compared to existing Olympic-class ferries.

Construction on the first vessel is slated to begin at Vigor in late 2020, with delivery expected roughly two years later. The five ferries should be completed by 2028, and each will replace older, less efficient ferries in the fleet.

Crowley orders new ATB for western Alaska service

Crowley Maritime has a second new articulated tug-barge (ATB) on order, this one for service in western Alaska.

The units for the 410-foot, 55,000-barrel ATB will be built in separate shipyards. Gunderson Marine of Portland, Ore., will build the barge, and Master Boat Builders of Bayou La Batre, Ala., will build the tug. The vessel will be rated ABS Ice Class and will meet IMO Polar Code requirements. Jensen Maritime Consultants, a Crowley subsidiary, will provide the plans.

Propulsion will come from GE 6L250 Tier 4 engines and azimuthing stern drives, while the barge will be fitted with an azimuthing pump jet bow thruster. The two vessels will be linked by an Intercontinental C-Series coupler. 

The ATB will have advanced firefighting capabilities, including a fire monitor on the tug with a foam proportioner. It also will have 2,000 feet of boom for spill response and a skiff to meet Alaska regulations. 

“Our new ATB will continue Crowley Fuels’ long-standing commitment to provide Alaska with safe and dependable marine transportation to serve the energy needs of the state,” said Rick Meidel, vice president and general manager, Crowley Fuels. “We look forward to working with Gunderson Marine and Master Boat Builders to build both a high-performing and efficient vessel to serve the state and enhance our overall operations."

Crowley has a second ATB under construction that is about to enter service under charter to Petro Star Inc., a subsidiary of Alaska-based Arctic Slope Regional Corp. based in Utqiagvik, Alaska, on the North Slope. The tug Aveogan and its 100,000-barrel barge Oliver Leavitt are being built by Bollinger Shipyards. 

Midship Marine to build new high-speed ferry for Seastreak

Seastreak Commodore, the largest Subchapter K fast ferry in the U.S., is getting a new sister vessel. 

Seastreak, based in Atlantic Highlands, N.J., has ordered a 148-by-40-foot high-speed ferry that can hold 600 people. Incat Crowther, which has designed eight other vessels in the Seastreak fleet, will provide plans for the new ferry to be built by Midship Marine of Harvey, La.

Propulsion on the new ferry will come from four MTU 12V 4000 M64 engines delivering 1,875 hp each paired with Kongsberg Kamewa 63S4 waterjets. Performance is expected to match Commodore, delivered in 2018, which hit 38 knots during sea trials while fully loaded. Cruise speed is projected at 35 knots. Electrical power will come from two John Deere 6068 gensets.

Seastreak ferries operate in the New York metro area. The company said the new ferry will accommodate higher passenger volume along its existing routes.

Eastern Shipbuilding completes McAllister Tier 4 tug order

Eastern Shipbuilding has delivered Capt. Jim McAllister, the fourth and final z-drive tugboat in a recent order from McAllister Towing.

The 100-by-40-foot Capt. Jim is a sibling to the three other tugs in the series, Capt. Brian A. McAllister, Rosemary McAllister and Ava McAllister, delivered over the past couple of years. The project began at Horizon Shipbuilding before moving to Eastern, which completed the final three boats.

Propulsion on the final boat in the series comes from two Caterpillar 3516E Tier 4 engines each producing 3,386 hp turning Schottel SRP-510 z-drives through Lufkin MV1600S reduction gears. Three Cat C7.1 gensets rated for 118 kW provide electrical power. Bollard pull exceeds 80 metric tons. 

Firefighting equipment on the vessel consists of a 3,000-gpm FFS fire pump driven by a Cat 9.3 engine and two 1,500-gpm FFS monitors with foam capabilities. Markey supplied the hawser and towing winches installed on the fore and aft decks, respectively. 

The Subchapter M tugboat is scheduled to be christened next month in Charleston, S.C.

Conrad building two Tier 4 inland towboats

Conrad Shipyard of Morgan City, La., is building two 6,000-hp towboats equipped with Tier 4 engines. The vessels will be among the first in the U.S. with the cleaner-running propulsion units.

The 166-by-49-foot vessels have a 12-foot operating draft. MiNO Marine of Jefferson, La., designed the boats. Conrad said it has orders from two customers for the vessels, one of which will have GE engines and the other EMD propulsion. 

“This horsepower range is right in our wheelhouse, and we will continue to expand our capabilities to be able to service our customers’ needs," said Johnny Conrad, chairman and CEO of Conrad Industries. "We are delighted about the opportunity to provide our customers with a quality vessel constructed by our proven and experienced shipbuilding team.”

Additional details about the vessels, including the delivery dates and order customers, were not available. 

Robert Allan, MTU partner on LNG-powered towboat design

Naval architects at Robert Allan Ltd. (RAL) in Vancouver, British Columbia, have partnered with German engine maker MTU on a new inland towboat powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG). 

The shallow-draft vessel carries the RApide 2800-G moniker, and is based on the RApide 2800-Z2 design currently in use on the Amazon River system in South America. Propulsion on the new LNG vessel will come from twin 1,000-hp (746 kW) 8V4000M55R-N Tier III gas safe main engines.

“Additional to the engines, MTU also acts as the system integrator, which means that MTU will also provide the complete LNG package — LNG tank system and an integrated ship monitoring, LNG control and safety systems,” Robert Allan Ltd. said in a news release. 

RAL naval architects modified the existing 92-foot RApide 2800 design to allow for installation of the 70-cubic-meter LNG tank. They accommodated the larger tank by adding a larger deckhouse, moving crew cabins lower, and moving the mess and galley up one deck. The crew complement is estimated at 14, with accommodations in eight staterooms. 

“While challenging, the project complies with the rules for the gas system hazardous zones of a 92-foot tug,” RAL said. “To ensure redundancy, there are two independent tank connection spaces attached to the LNG tank, one for each engine.”

The design is still in the review phase but is expected to comply with DNV GL standards. It’s not clear if any operators have ordered vessels based on the new design.

Virginia pilots order new launch from Gladding-Hearn

The Virginia Pilot Association has ordered another new launch from longtime partner Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding. 

The all-aluminum vessel will feature the yard’s iconic deep-V hull form first developed by Ray Hunt Design. The 55-foot Chesapeake-class launch has a 17-foot beam and 4-foot draft. 

Propulsion will come from twin Volvo Penta D13-700 Tier 3 engines rated for 700 hp each paired with Volvo Penta’s IPS 3 propulsion pod. The IPS system features two forward-facing, counter-rotating props along with integrated exhaust and EVC electronic steering system. Humphree is supplying the trim tabs and automatic list control system. 

Electrical power comes from a 12-kW Alaska Diesel generator, and the HVAC system features separate 16,000-BTU units for the wheelhouse and crew spaces in the forecastle. Heated handrails and side decks will improve safety during the winter months.

The Virginia Pilot Association, based in Virginia Beach, Va., took delivery last summer of the Chesapeake-class launch Hampton Roads. The vessel was the first in the pilots’ fleet with Volvo Penta’s IPS system. 

By Professional Mariner Staff