Nichols Brothers completes fourth ASD-90 tug for Foss

Rachael Allen is the first tug in the U.S. to feature a Sea Machines SM300 autonomous system

(FREELAND, Wash.) — Nichols Brothers Boat Builders (NBBB) has delivered the fourth ASD-90 tractor tug in a four-vessel series to Foss Maritime, a division of the Saltchuk company. NBBB completed and delivered Jamie Ann, Sarah Avrick, Leisa Florence and Rachael Allen between April 2020 and June 2021. Two vessels will be stationed in Los Angeles-Long Beach while the other two vessels will be in San Francisco Bay, providing escort and assist services to large tankers and containerships calling on the California ports.

The ASD-90 tugs are designed by Jensen Maritime Consultants of Seattle. The 100-by-40-foot z-drive tractor tugs are built to U.S. Coast Guard Subchapter M regulatory standards, with ABS loadline certification and UWILD notation.

Foss Tugs 04

Nichols Brothers Boat Builders photo

The vessels were built to the most stringent emission requirements, with two MTU Series 16v4000M65L main engines rated at 3,433 hp each that meet EPA Tier 4 standards, reducing particulate emissions through in-cylinder combustion technologies and nitrogen oxide emissions to near zero through a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system.

Fuel consumption is reduced by 8 percent at full power and 14 to 22 percent over a wider operating range compared to previous MTU engines in this power range. The MTU engines and SCR system are designed with a focus on noise reduction. Standard features such as resilient mounting, turbocharger air intake silencers and the SCR insulation combine to reduce noise levels throughout the vessel without any traditional exhaust silencers.

The MTU engines are also equipped with MTU Go, a MTU digital monitoring system and service that allows continuous monitoring of the engines, including all engine parameters and alarms, with trending and broadcast of engine alarms through the MTU Go App.

The MTU Series 4000 engines are paired with Kongsberg US255 azimuth thrusters. The thrusters are equipped with health monitoring features, allowing local as well as remote monitoring of the thruster bearings and oil condition. The propulsion package produces over 90 tons of bollard pull.

The vessels are outfitted with two different Mackay Marine Electronics and Markey winch packages. All four vessels are equipped with a Markey DEPGF-52R 75-hp forward winch for ship assist. Two of the vessels are equipped with a TESS-34AS 75-hp rescue winch on the stern and two are equipped with a DEPC-32 barge-handling winch on the stern.

The fourth vessel, Rachael Allen, is the first tugboat in the United States delivered with the Sea Machines SM300 autonomous system, including transit autonomy as well as remote access of the tug’s onboard machinery, allowing personnel to manage and support operations from anywhere on the vessel or from shore. The capability of the technology will be activated in stepped phases over the course of six to nine months in order to ensure full visibility and acceptance from all operational stakeholders. Foss will use its existing Fleet Monitoring Center personnel to monitor the tugboat’s systems and operating domain via streaming video and sensor data.

“The ASD-90 newbuild program produced three vessels for Foss and one vessel for our sister company, AmNav. They will meet the current and future needs of the largest vessels of our customers calling on California ports,” said Will Roberts, president of Foss Maritime. “The tugs were built to satisfy the requirements we believe will soon be required of the rest of the country and the world.”

The NBBB and Foss team persevered through the disruptions caused by the coronavirus outbreak and maintained a modified schedule, delivering all four vessels during the global pandemic. Jamie Ann’s first job was to assist in moving the naval hospital ship USNS Mercy as it departed the Port of Los Angeles for its home port in San Diego in April 2020, followed by firefighting on USS Bonhomme Richard.

“At the onset of the COVID pandemic, NBBB had to significantly rearrange production to allow for safety protocols required to protect our workforce,” said NBBB CEO Gavin Higgins. “NBBB reacted rapidly and while it certainly had a significant impact on production, we were able to keep working and never had a cross infection at any of the facilities. Foss was an incredible team player with encouragement toward the safety of our people and operations. I am very proud of the way our employees responded to the pandemic and their commitment as essential workers.”

– Nichols Brothers Boat Builders

Categories: Shipbuilding, Tugboats & Towing