• 2017 July 16 19:03

    Nichols Brothers delivers first U.S. tug for ammonia ATB

    The newly delivered Abundance is the first of two 139’x44’x19’ articulated tugboat-barge (ATB) tugboats that Nichols Brothers Boat Builders, Freeland, Wash., have built to push the first ammonia ATB carriers in U.S. waters, the shipbuilding company said in a press release.

    Nichols delivered the Abundance on June 30 to support operations of Tampa Port Services LLC, a subsidiary of The Mosaic Company, the world’s leading marketer of concentrated phosphate and potash. The Abundance will be operated by a subsidiary of Savage Companies, pushing a 508’ x 96’ anhydrous ammonia barge on the Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi River. The scheduled startup in summer 2017 will make it the first U.S.-built ammonia ATB unit.

    The tugs are designed by Ocean Tug/Barge Engineering, Milford, Mass., with production engineering by BMT Nigel Gee, of Southampton in the United Kingdom, and engineering support by Nichols Brothers. The vessels are ABS-classed, including Maltese Cross A1-Towing service, AMS/ACCU/UWILD SOLAS compliant and meet the Coast Guard’s subchapter I requirements. They are U.S. flagged and registered to meet all rules and regulations for unrestricted ocean pushing and towing services.

    The twin-screw tugs utilize Rolls Royce propellers in Rolls Royce high efficiency nozzles, and are equipped with Rolls Royce Promas FMP flap rudders. The power comes from a pair of EMD 16- 710T13 engines running 4,000 hp at 900 rpm, transmitted through two Lufkin RHS 3200 reduction gears.

    Ship’s power is supplied by two Caterpillar C7.1 200 kW Tier 3 generators, plus one Cat C9.3 200 kW Tier 3 generator mounted fire pump and one Cat C7.1 128W Tier 3 emergency generator system.

    The hulls are double-bottomed, and outfitted for long-range ocean pushing/towing, firefighting and general-purpose vessel requirements. The barge connection system is a hydraulic connecting pin system from Articouple.

    The Nichols Brothers’ engineering team put a great deal of effort into the tug’s complex mechanical and electrical systems.

    “New innovative concepts ascended during the design and construction of this ATB, which Nichols will continue to develop and implement into future new build projects,” company officials said in announcing the delivery.

    The Abundance marks a significant milestone in Nichols’ history. At more than 1,400 long tons weight, it is the heaviest and deepest draft vessel the company has launched over its 50-plus years, and required substantial planning and equipment development.

    Nichols launch rig underwent upgrades, including replacement of all hydraulic motors and planetary gears, and was outfitted with a 1,200 hp hydraulic power unit. Center-Lift provided and installed ten buoyancy bags to the vessels hull that provided nearly 200 tons of buoyancy. General Construction Co., Seattle, supplied a 700-ton crane barge to lift the vessel and guide to deeper water. The vessel was moored in Holmes Harbor of Freeland, Washington before being towed to Nichols Brothers’ Langley facility for final outfitting, dock and sea trials.

    After its June 30 delivery the Abundance went to Portland, Ore., where it was mated to its barge for unit sea trials. Nichols Brothers has begun construction on the second ATB tug, scheduled for delivery in spring 2018.



    GULF ISLAND Shipyards is a full service shipyard that specializes in the new construction, repairs, modifications and conversions. GULF ISLAND Shipyards specializes in building a wide range of vessels: platform supply vessels, offshore construction vessels, offshore and inshore barges, towboats, tugs, casinos, passenger vessels, fishing vessels, and specialty vessels since 1965. Over the years the shipbuilding company has designed, manufactured and launched a large variety of vessels and barges up to 500 feet in length.




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