Friday, September 25, 2015

Nichols Bros. Building New Tugs for Kirby

By Mark Edward Nero

Freeland, Washington-based Nichols Brothers Boat Builders said Sept. 23 that it has signed a construction security agreement with Kirby Offshore Marine to build two new 120-foot by 35-foot by 19-foot twin-screw tugboats for use in tow operations.

Kirby Offshore Marine, a Houston-based operator of coastal tank barges and towing vessels, has a presence in numerous US cities, including Seattle, Anchorage and Honolulu.

Each tugboat is designed to be powered by two Caterpillar 3516C main engines, each providing 2,447 bhp at 1,600 rpm, with Reintjes reduction gears turning two Nautican fixed-pitched propellers with fixed nozzles.

The vessels will also have two C7.1 Caterpillar generators for electrical service. Selected deck machinery includes one TESD-34 Markey tow winch, one CEW-60 Markey electric capstan, and one Smith Berger tow pin, according to Nichols Bros. Also according to the company, keels are to be laid for both vessels this fall, with delivery of the first vessel scheduled for May 2017 and delivery of the second set for November 2017.

The tugs will carry an ABS load line, compliant with the US Coast Guard, as required at delivery. Jensen Maritime Consultants of Seattle is providing the ABS class and functional design for the tugboats.

Nichols Brothers is also currently building two 136-foot by 44-foot by 19-foot, 10,000-HP ATBs for Kirby Offshore Marine. Earlier this month, Nichols used a new track and dolly system for the launch of the Nancy Peterkin, the first of the two ATB boats under construction for Kirby.