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Tug Technology & Business

Tugs added to two US towage fleets

Fri 04 Jan 2019 by Martyn Wingrove

Tugs added to two US towage fleets
Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding delivers a new ATB unit to Kirby Corp at its Sturgeon Bay shipyard in Wisconsin

Two US-based tug operators took delivery of new vessels during the final weeks of 2018 to boost their capabilities in North America.

Kirby Corp took delivery of an articulated tug barge (ATB) unit from Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding on 20 December. This incorporates tug Ronnie Murph and 158-m long barge, Kirby 155-03.

Ronnie Murph has an overall length of 39.6 m and 5.8 m draught, a maximum speed of 12 knots and 5,970 kW of propulsion power. Kirby 155-03 has a breadth of 22 m, a depth of 12.4 m, and has capacity to transport 155,000 barrels of petroleum products. 

Kirby chief executive David Grzebinski said this was the third 155,000-barrel capacity ATB Fincantieri has built for Kirby in the past three years.

“This new Jones Act-compliant ATB unit will allow us to continue our commitment to provide efficient and reliable customer service,” he said. 

Kirby transports bulk liquid products throughout the Mississippi River system on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, along all three US coasts and in Alaska and Hawaii.

Rival tug operator Bay Houston Towing Co took delivery of a new terminal and escort unit in December from Gulf Island Fabrication Inc. It has started operating Mark E Kuebler, a Z-Tech 30-80 after it was completed at Gulf Island’s Jennings, Louisiana, facilities.

Mark E Kuebler has an overall length of around 30 m, breadth of 13 m and hull depth of 5 m. This Robert Allan-designed tug’s main propulsion consists of two Caterpillar 3516E diesel engines that are compliant with US Environmental Protection Agency Tier 4 requirements.

These engines each develop 2,525 kW of power at 1,800 rpm and are connected to Schottel SRP 510 fixed pitch Z-drives, generating 80 tonnes of bollard pull for this ABS-classed escort tug.


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