Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Tidewater Transport Christens Towboats

By Mark Edward Nero

The newest inland river towboats in Tidewater Transportation and Terminals’ fleet, Granite Point and Ryan Point, were christened during a June 11 ceremony at Vancouver Landing in Vancouver, Washington.

Tidewater retained the services of CT Marine, Naval Architects and Marine Engineers of Edgecomb, Maine three years ago, to design a towboat that could maneuver barges through the swift-moving currents, high winds and eight navigation locks along the Columbia Snake River System.

Once the plans were developed, Tidewater contracted with Vigor’s Portland shipyard to construct the series of vessels.

“This celebration is the culmination of three years of research, design and hard work,” Schwartz said. “We began the Point Class project with a visionary belief that we could create a vessel that efficiently serves our customers along the river, is environmentally-friendly, and is outfitted with crew endurance in mind. I believe we accomplished our goal.”

The first vessel in the series of three, Crown Point, was christened in June, 2015 and has been in operation for more than a year. The Granite Point recently began journeying upriver, and the Ryan Point is expected follow in early July.

All three vessels are built to the same specifications - 104 feet in length by 38 feet, with a depth at full load of 11 feet, and a hexagonal wheelhouse with floor-to-ceiling windows on all six sides.

The steering system utilizes four main steering and four flanking rudders, coupled with two Caterpillar 3516C Tier 3 engines.

Tidewater also employed Noise Control Engineers of Billerica, Mass. to develop a sound and vibration control package for the vessel. By incorporating Christie & Grey vibration control mounts and comprehensive acoustic insulation, noise levels register at less than 60 decibels during vessel operation – equivalent to an air conditioner.

“The crews that operate these boats say that there is no tug that they have ever operated that gives the operability that these boats have,” Tidewater CEO Bob Curcio said during the christening ceremony. “It’s one hell of a proud day for all the Tidewater folks.”

“These boats will be on the river after all of us are likely gone from this earth,” Vigor Executive Vice President of Fabrication Corey Yraguen said. “That is an astounding thought – that they will be creating jobs and will be a part of the economic engine of our community for a very long time.”