Vigor delivers second of three 'Point' towboats to Tidewater

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The following is the text of a news release from Tidewater Transportation & Terminals:

(VANCOUVER, Wash.) — Today, Tidewater Transportation & Terminals marked delivery of the second of a series of three towboats, Granite Point. The vessel, built by Portland’s Vigor, follows towboat Crown Point, which began operations along the Columbia-Snake River (CSR) in May 2015. Like Crown Point, Granite Point is a custom-built, environmentally friendly towboat that was specifically designed by CT Marine, Naval Architects and Marine Engineers of Edgecomb, Maine, to serve Tidewater’s customers.

“Granite Point performed exactly as we wanted it to during its river trials earlier this month,” said Marc Schwartz, maintenance and engineering manager at Tidewater. “We are ready for the Granite Point to team up with Tidewater’s current fleet of 16 towboats to provide our customers with the highest-quality river transportation.”

Named Granite Point for the granite cliff in Washington, about 20 miles southwest of Pullman along the Snake River, the towboat was built to the same specifications as Crown Point and the forthcoming sister vessel, Ryan Point. Measuring 102 by 38 feet, with a depth at full load of 11 feet, Granite Point stands out among other towboats along the river. The vessel offers a hexagonal wheelhouse with floor-to-ceiling windows on all six sides. The hexagonal design continues to the main deck, which consists of a galley with all the comforts of home, a media room, and a health and fitness facility.

“Tidewater understands the ability of our crewmembers to cope with operational risk factors, like frequent sleep disruptions and heavy workloads, depends on their level of endurance,” said Bruce Reed, chief operations officer and vice president of Tidewater. “The responsibility for maintaining a high level of crew endurance rests with us. Therefore, all three towboats incorporate a comprehensive sound and vibration control package designed by Noise Control Engineers of Billerica, Mass. The noise levels register at less than 60 decibels in the quarters during vessel operation, which is equivalent to the sound of an air conditioner.”

Brian Fletcher, Tidewater port captain who piloted Granite Point through river trials, said, “When you are in the wheelhouse, which is three decks above the engines, you would really need to concentrate to hear the engines at all. You couldn’t ask for a quieter tug, nor a better tug in tight situations. It turns on a dime.”

CT Marine’s innovative towboat design on Granite Point goes beyond the distinctive wheelhouse and mindful accommodations. Due to the unique challenges of maneuvering barges through swift-moving currents, high winds, and eight navigation locks along the CSR System, CT Marine designed an enhanced steering system utilizing four main steering and four flanking rudders. Couple the steering system with two Caterpillar 3516C Tier 3 engines, the design team was able to increase the margins of safety and efficiency.

“The Granite Point can ‘get up and go’,” said Josh Nichols, assistant port captain, “but there is an ease and steadiness to it.”

Tidewater and its collaborative partners spent a great deal of time conceiving and engineering the plans used for all three vessels — two years in all. “The upfront work paid off,” said Bob Curcio, Tidewater CEO. “The vessels are fuel efficient, ecologically responsible, and are giving our captains and crews exactly what they’d asked for.”

Corey Yraguen, Vigor executive VP of fabrication, said, “We are proud to have worked with Tidewater on Granite Point. Like its sister ship Crown Point, this vessel sets new standards for future towboat design. It will serve our community well for decades to come.” 

The christening of Granite Point will be in conjunction with its sister vessel, Ryan Point, in midspring.

Granite Point is powered by two Caterpillar 3516C EPA Tier 3 certified diesel engines producing 2,240 bhp, each at 1,600 rpm. The engines drive two 92-by-100-inch fixed-pitch, stainless-steel propellers through CT28 Kort nozzles capable of a service speed of 8 knots. Electrical power is provided by two C7.1 Tier 3 generators, rated at 480v, 200 KW at 1,800 rpm.  The generators are controlled through an automatic transfer system that ensures the vessel will recover from a generator power loss in less than 30 seconds. Deck machinery includes seven Patterson WWP 65E-7.5, 65-ton electric deck winches, with pilothouse remote operation and local push-button control stations on the main deck. Each winch has Samson 1 3/8-inch Turbo 75 synthetic line.

In order to utilize the newest technology and minimize power usage, variable frequency drives were used in all major rotating machinery applications and LED lighting was employed in both interior and exterior lighting applications. The vessel is fitted with a Kidde NOVEC 1230 fire suppression system. Centralized fire detection and alarms cover both the machinery spaces and accommodations.

By Professional Mariner Staff