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Buckley McAllister

Jul 2, 2014 02:20 PM

McAllister and Jensen refine an older design to produce an impressive new boat

The tug carries a JonRie hydraulic escort winch.

The tug carries a JonRie hydraulic escort winch.

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Buckley McAllister, a 5,150-hp, 96-foot z-drive tug built by Senesco in Rhode Island for McAllister Towing & Transportation, is the 18th member of a class of boats designed by Jensen Maritime. But that doesn’t mean Buckley McAllister is just another copy of a tried-and-true model.

McAllister and Jensen have modified the 13-year-old design in a multitude of mostly small ways to produce a boat that is safe, quiet, comfortable, durable, efficient and well suited to its mission. Or in the words of Richard Dougherty, Senesco’s project manager for the construction of Buckley McAllister: “We’ve turned a nice boat into a real good boat.”

As Martin Costa, McAllister’s engineering manager, explained, “The vessel is purpose-built for escort and rescue work.” A multi-functional boat, it is equipped with a hawser winch for escorting and a towing winch with tow pins for rescue work. Also designed for firefighting, it is rated FiFi-1. “Crew comfort (was) not compromised for the mission design,” he said.

The Smith Berger towing pins.

Perhaps the most significant change in the design was requested by McAllister for safety reasons. In the earlier versions of the class, water had a tendency to pool against the deckhouse near the stacks. The solution was to create some camber in the main deck so that water would run off rather than collect.

Sean Testa, Jensen’s project manager for the Buckley McAllister design revisions, explained that five inches of height were added to the main deck along the centerline. As a result, the deck now slopes gently away from the centerline to the point where the deck meets the hull.

Figuring out how to execute this change was “a bit of a head scratcher,” Testa said. One problem was how to attach the deckhouse to the reconfigured main deck. In the end it was decided that the bottom of the deckhouse would rest on the high point, the centerline, while the sides would be lengthened so they met the sloping deck properly.

Rod Smith photo

The tug after launch at Senesco.

As a result of the change, the floor of the wheelhouse sits 5 inches higher than it did in the earlier boats, giving the navigation crew the benefit of a slightly greater height of eye. The change also produced a bit more headroom along the centerline in the drive space below the main deck. The creation of the deck camber represents “one of the more important changes for safety,” said Costa, because it means Buckley McAllister will have “a dry deck instead of a wet, slippery deck.”

Buckley McAllister also has a roomier engine room than its immediate predecessors in the Jensen Super 96 class. Rosemary McAllister and Andrew McAllister are 6,000-hp tugs with twin EMD diesels. The engines on Buckley McAllister are smaller — twin Cat 3516CHD Tier 3 diesels generating a total of 5,150 hp.

The tug has an extensive array of fendering: Shibata, upper bow; Viking soft-loop, lower bow; Viking laminate, chine and stem; two rows of extruded D-fenders, port and starboard, with airplane tires over them.

Its firefighting system, while more powerful than its predecessors, is more compact. Buckley has a single firefighting pump with a capacity of nearly 12,000 gallons per minute. Earlier tugs had two fire pumps with a total capacity of 11,000 gpm.

McAllister used the additional space to create a control room for the engineer. This space provides a clean, quiet, climate-controlled room where the engineer can sit with a laptop and plug into monitoring systems to check on the performance of every piece of equipment.

The control room also illustrates the extent to which McAllister and Jensen have gone to reduce noise and vibration through the boat. Its shared bulkhead with the engine room is sheathed with three inches of mineral wool, a layer of lead and an outer layer of one and a half inches of mineral wool with a faced outer surface that can be painted. In fact, all the bulkheads separating the engine room from the other work and living spaces are sheathed in these materials.

“This stuff is great,” Dougherty said of the faced mineral wool. “You cover it over with latex paint.” The insulation allows the control room to be a quiet space despite its proximity to the engine room. “It’s perfect because it is just quiet,” Dougherty said.

And the control room itself helps to keep down sound levels in the adjoining living space. “It’s another barrier between the engine room and the state room,” Costa said.

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