Wilmington Tug


Madeline and Capt. Harry, 4,800-hp Ramparts class tugs designed by Robert Allan, assisting an OSG oil barge on the Delaware River.

The tug Madeline was delivered by Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding of Somerset, Mass., to Wilmington Tug in 2008. She is the sixth azimuthing stern drive (ASD) tug in the company fleet. In 1977, Wilmington Tug became the first company in America to operate a vessel with an ASD propulsion system when it took delivery of Tina from the same shipyard.

Chris Rowland is the Wilmington, Del., company’s vice president of operations. His father, Hickman (Hick), is president of the company that was founded by his father, the late Harry Rowland, in 1965. Like his father before him, Hick Rowland is an active docking pilot.

“He still docks 300 ships a year,†said Chris. “And he loves every minute of it.â€

Brinker, who serves as the deck hand as well as the engineer, handling a line.

Madeline is the namesake of Chris Rowland’s daughter and is the third Ramparts 2500 class ASD tug designed by Robert Allan Ltd. of Vancouver, British Columbia. The other two are Capt. Harry, named for the great-grandfather, and Sonie, named for the great-grandmother.

All three tugs are stationed on the Delaware River at Philadelphia, 20 miles north of Wilmington. They cover a stretch of the river that contains seven oil refineries. The remainder of the fleet is based in Wilmington.

“Our tugs are never more than 10 miles away from any pier in our service area,†said Rowland. “We assist 60 percent of the 800 crude oil tankers that call here annually.â€

The 80-foot, 4,800-hp Madeline is powered by two MTU 16V4000M60 diesels with two Rolls-Royce US 205 MK2 z-drives. Her bollard pull is 64 tons. John Deere provided the two 99-kW auxiliary generators.

On the foredeck, Madeline has a Markey DEPC 48 50-hp winch and Burrard Iron Works capstan. There is another capstan and two Nabrico barge winches on the aft deck. The bow is wrapped with three strips of Viking 12-inch D fendering to accommodate low freeboard barges.

Rowland is an advocate of minimum size producing maximum horsepower, attributes of both Madeline and her sisters. “They’re able to tuck into tight areas and use the z-drives to place power to the right spot,†he said. •

Engineer Michael Brinker in the engine room.
Wilmington Tug’s launch operator Jon Acton.
The Rolls-Royce US 205 MK2 z-drives which are powered by MTU 16V4000M60 diesels.
Madeline is the sixth ASD vessel in the fleet of Wilmington Tug, which was the first U.S. company to operate a tug with ASD propulsion. Madeline is named after the daughter of Chris Rowland, VP of operations and the grandson of the company’s founder.
Capt. George Wilson in the wheelhouse of Madeline.