The following is the text of a news release from Tidewater Transportation and Terminals:
(VANCOUVER, Wash.) — Granite Point and Ryan Point, which are the newest inland river towboats in Tidewater Transportation and Terminals’ fleet, were christened Saturday during a late afternoon ceremony at Vancouver Landing.
After Deacon Tim Dooley from Portland’s Holy Family Parish delivered a blessing, Patty Reed, wife of Bruce Reed, Tidewater’s vice president and chief operations officer, and Diane Laya, wife of Marc Schwartz, Tidewater’s maintenance and engineering manager, broke champagne bottles over the vessels’ hull while the city of Vancouver’s fireboat sprayed Columbia River water in the background.
“This celebration is the culmination of three years of research, design, and hard work,” said Marc Schwartz. “We began the Point-class project with a visionary belief that we could create a vessel that efficiently serves our customers along the river, is environmentally friendly, and is outfitted with crew endurance in mind. I believe we accomplished our goal.”
Three years ago, Tidewater retained the services of CT Marine, Naval Architects and Marine Engineers of Edgecomb, Maine, to design a towboat that can maneuver barges through the swift-moving currents, high winds and eight navigation locks along the Columbia Snake River System. Once the plans were developed, Tidewater contracted with Vigor’s Portland shipyard to construct the series of vessels, returning propulsion-construction to Swan Island, and partnered with Umpqua Bank’s Equipment Leasing and Finance Division to finance the two tugs.
“The crews that operate these boats say that there is no tug that they have ever operated that gives the operability that these boats have. They are absolutely perfect,” said Bob Curcio, Tidewater CEO, during the christening ceremony. “From the designing it, the building it, the helping buying it, and finally the operating it, thanks to everyone that made it happen. It’s one hell of a proud day for all the Tidewater folks.”
“It’s been a great source of pride for the Vigor team to build these three tugs,” said Corey Yraguen, executive vice president of fabrication. “These boats will be on the river after all of us are likely gone from this earth. That is an astounding thought — that they will be creating jobs and will be a part of the economic engine of our community for a very long time. Thank you Tidewater and all of you who are associated with these great companies that make these kinds of cool things happen.”
Tracy Kruse, Vigor production superintendent, emphasized how very different this project was for him and the Vigor team. “This project was local. These tugs are going to be part of the landscape of the northwest for decades to come. Friends and associates who know I worked on the Point-class series will call me up and say, ‘Hey, I just saw the Crown Point pushing a barge down the river!’ The pride is something we, as a community, can all share in.”
The first vessel in the series, Crown Point, was christened in June 2015 and has been in operation for over a year. Granite Point recently began journeying upriver, and Ryan Point will follow suit in early July.
All three vessels are built to the same specifications: 104 feet by 38 feet, with a depth at full load of 11 feet, and a hexagonal wheelhouse with floor-to-ceiling windows on all six sides. An enhanced steering system utilizing four main steering and four flanking rudders, coupled with two Caterpillar 3516C Tier 3 engines, allowed the design team to increase the margins of safety and efficiency. With crew endurance being a priority, Tidewater employed Noise Control Engineers of Billerica, Mass., to develop a sound and vibration control package for the vessel. By incorporating Christie and Grey vibration control mounts and comprehensive acoustic insulation, noise levels register at less than 60 decibels in the accommodations during vessel operation — which is equivalent to an air conditioner.