Friday, September 18, 2015

Nichols Bros. Launches ATB Tug

By Mark Edward Nero

Freeland, Washington-based Nichols Brothers Boat Builders used a new track and dolly system this month for the launch of the Nancy Peterkin, the first of two 136-foot by 44-foot by 19-foot sister ATB tug boats under construction for Kirby Offshore Marine.

The sister ATB tug, the Tina Pyne, is scheduled for launch in December.

The new launch system, Nichols Brothers said Sept. 14, significantly increases the displacement and draft of the vessels the shipyard can haul and launch in the future. Currently, the shipbuilder is engineering rigid buoyancy tanks to affix to the side of the launch frame, eliminating the need for the floating cranes in the future.

The new track and dolly system was specifically developed by Engineering Heavy Service for vessels over 1,000 tons.

It’s a development of a system that’s been used multiple times for transferring the Washington State Ferry 144 car ferry superstructures fabricated at Nichols Brothers onto a barge for transport to assembly with the hull.

A launch system developed by Engineering Heavy Service moved the ATB from the shipyard to the launch ramp. General Construction provided two floating cranes to assist in the final lifting of the vessel, shuttling it to deeper water.

The vessel was towed to Everett, Washington for lightship, stability testing and fuel transfer. Following this, the tug will be towed to Nichols Brothers outfitting pier in Langley, Wash. for final outfitting, dock and sea trials before its final delivery.