Tugboats & Towing

With a history of innovation, AmNav is ready for the future

Capt. Marc Fankhauser in the pilothouse of the AmNav tug Revolution. (Photos by Alan Haig-Brown) It would be an understatement to call the San Francisco Bay ship docking market highly competitive. As vessel and crew costs escalate, the several fleets…

Turn it off!

It’s 0430 in New York Harbor and promising to be a very busy day. There’s a line of ships stretched out from the “Con Hook” range to Ambrose Tower. I’m steering from the upper wheelhouse of a 4200 hp tug,…

New tug design goes against high-horsepower trend

Great Lakes Towing is building two  78-foot prototypes. The tugs' propulsion systems will be in the 2,800- to 3,200-hp range. (Courtesy Jensen Maritime Consultants) Great Lakes Towing is a century-old company that is undergoing a rebirth. At its well-worn shipyard…

New company launched by towing industry veterans

Busy days in the tug industry naturally lead to the establishment of new tug companies. This time it's a classic start-up story courtesy of Dominique and Rachel Smith, both veterans of the towing industry. They have established a one-boat towing…

New tug simulator makes debut at West Coast training facility

By Gregory M. Walsh  Pacific Maritime Institute in Seattle has developed a training program incorporating what it said is the only full-scale marine simulation program in the United States developed exclusively for tugboat operators. PMI's marine simulation theater, designed as…

Class B AIS is coming, growing pains included

"All AIS is good; and Class B is going to give people a better picture of what's going on out there, no question about it, but my problem with it is that update rate of just once every 30 seconds,"…

Bouchard's ATB fleet leads the pack

It is hardly a race, but Bouchard Transportation of New York finished up in 2006 with the largest fleet of articulated tug barges (ATBs) in the nation. Other East Coast companies, notably Penn Maritime and K-Sea Transportation, are seemingly working…

Towing winches: Brute machines for offshore tugs

Aside from those massive diesel engines, the real brute force found at the heart of every offshore tugboat is its towing winch. Almost nothing is towed in offshore waters without a towing winch. And no matter how modern the rest…

Compelling electronic displays may have contributed to collision

Over-reliance on an electronically integrated navigation system by an inadequately trained operator may have played a significant role in a collision between Atlantic Huron and the Canadian Coast Guard buoy tender Griffon in September 2000, the Transportation Safety Board of…

In response to terror concerns, AIS website limits access to live data

A British-based company has stopped offering on its free website live, detailed automatic identification system (AIS) data gathered from networks worldwide after a shipping organization complained terrorists or pirates could use the information to endanger shipping. AIS Live Ltd., a…

AIS makes its presence felt

It's one of the most revolutionary developments in marine navigation: the universal automatic identification system (AIS). The transponder broadcasts a broad range of information about a ship on VHF marine radio, including its position, speed, direction, cargo, classification and destination.…

Integrating AIS with other bridge electronics

The Automatic Identification System (AIS) was originally conceived as a safety and navigation aid for ships at sea. Mandated by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), and implemented and enforced by member states, AIS provides information otherwise unavailable to a crew.…

DP taking on a larger role in response to the oil industry

The search for oil and gas has been a driving force in the development of dynamic positioning systems. Drill rigs, for obvious reasons, must maintain a fixed position above the ocean floor. As rigs moved off the continental shelf into…