With lower Mississippi River ship arrivals and container volumes on the rise, the timing seems right for the recent introduction of four new ASD tractor tugs at the Port of New Orleans.
New ASD tugs Beverly B. and Elizabeth B. are two of four new tugs recently appearing in New Orleans for both E.N. Bisso & Son and for Crescent Towing, both local companies with operations beyond the river. These two tugs pictured here are 4,000-hp Caterpillar powered with Rolls-Royce thrusters and Markey hawser winches. They were built at Eastern Shipbuilding of Florida. (Photo courtesy E.N. Bisso & Son)
At the rate things are going, all of the good old conventional tugs in New Orleans will soon be sold off or scrapped just to make way for the influx of new tractor-style tugs that has occurred in the past few years. Well, that won't really happen, but it's true that all four of the port's ship assist companies are now operating one or more tractors with more on the way.
Newest in the port are a pair each for both E.N. Bisso & Son and Crescent Towing. A total of 13 ASD tractors are now active in the New Orleans area, with yet another tractor expected to be delivered to Bisso Towboat by the end of this year.
E.N. Bisso, one of three companies that carry this venerable name in local maritime history, introduced a pair of new 4,000-hp tugs earlier this year, which gives it a total of three ASD vessels. New in the fleet are Beverly B. and Elizabeth B., the second and third of a three-order contract with Eastern Shipbuilding of Florida.
Walter Kristiansen, president of E.N. Bisso, said business was slow enough during the worst of the recent recession that he considered canceling the contract for these two new tugs, but as things are better now, he is glad that he kept to his plan, especially with the river running high during spring, a condition which always generates bonus tugboat business.
The two new tugs for E.N. Bisso are 96 feet in length with Caterpillar power, Rolls-Royce thrusters and Markey hawser winches. Each is capable of producing 52 tons of bollard pull. The tugs were designed by Jensen Maritime Consultants of Seattle. Tugs for both E.N. Bisso and Crescent have fendering components from Schuyler Rubber.
Also new in the river are a pair of ASD tractors introduced by Crescent Towing. The first was the 92-foot Lisa Cooper followed by sistership J.K. McLean (Lisa Cooper has worked both in New Orleans and Mobile, Ala.). These latest new tugs in the Crescent fleet of 26, are 5,225-hp tugs with GE engines, Rolls-Royce z-drives and bollard pull capabilities of up to 65 tons, according to Crescent. The tugs have hawser winches at the bow and single-drum towing winches on the stern. They were built by C&G Boat Works of Alabama.
Considerably more than 5,000 ships a year arrive at destinations along the lower Mississippi River, all served by these and other local tugs, according to the New Orleans Board of Trade. New Orleans is situated about 100 miles inland from the mouth of the Mississippi. Other major tugboat companies based in New Orleans are Bisso Towboat and Moran Towing (formerly River Parishes). Bisso Towboat has another new ASD tractor under construction at Main Iron Works of Louisiana, and Moran Towing has a stable fleet of ASD tugs available for assignment in New Orleans or elsewhere.