A family tradition: ASD tugs on the Mississippi


It was all in the family aboard Bisso Towboat’s new 100-foot ASD tug Michael S while assisting the 789-foot tanker Petrovsk move off the IMTT No. 2 St. Rose dock upriver from New Orleans.

The 4,000-hp z-drive is named after Michael Slatten, son of the company president, Scott Slatten. Continuing the family affair in the wheelhouse were the brothers Pitre — Capt. Tilman Pitre and Chief Engineer Jeffery Pitre. And leaning on the stair rail was deck hand Uriah Hilton, son of Mike Hilton, captain on Cecilia B. Slatten, the first ASD tug on the lower Mississippi in 1999.

Michael S is the third z-drive in the 120-year old company’s fleet of 12 tugs. All three vessels, Cecilia B. Slatten, Alma S, and Michael S, were built at Main Iron Works in Houma, La. A fourth is scheduled for delivery in 2011.

All three are identical in design, but the company installed Caterpillar 3516B diesels in Michael S. The tugs Cecilia and Alma are powered by EMDs.

The z-drives are Ulstein Aquamaster US 205 MK2 turning 90.6-inch-diameter, 82.4 -inch-pitch, four-blade stainless steel propellers set in stainless steel nozzles. The bollard pull is 57 tons.

Two 99-KW Marathon Mariner generators are powered by John Deere 6068TFM76 engines. A Markey DYSF-42 hydraulic bow winch equipped with 500 feet of 8-inch circumference Plasma line sits aft of a stainless steel bow staple and H-bitt on the foredeck. A Washington Chain and Supply RSRH100 100-ton quick release tow hook is on the aft deck.

The vessel has a crew of four who enjoy soundproofed quarters with flat screen televisions and DVD players.