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  • Eastern Shipbuilding launches the A. Thomas Higgins for E.N. Bisso & Son
  • 2020 February 8 16:57

    Eastern Shipbuilding launches the A. Thomas Higgins for E.N. Bisso & Son

    Eastern Shipbuilding Group, Inc. announced the launching of the second of two (2) 80’ 5,100 HP Z-Drive Tugs, the A. THOMAS HIGGINS for Bisso Offshore, LLC, a division of E.N. Bisso & Son, Inc. Launched on January 31, 2020. The RAL RApport 2400 Z-Drive Shiphandling Tug design was provided by Robert Allan Ltd located in Vancouver, Canada. The A. THOMAS HIGGINS is currently under construction at Eastern’s Allanton facility. The C.D. WHITE, the first vessel of the series, delivered in January of this year.

    The launch ceremony was held at Eastern’s Allanton facility hosted by Patrick D’Isernia, Eastern’s Project Manager. Brian D’Isernia, Eastern’s Owner and CEO and Joey D’Isernia, Eastern’s President, along with several of Eastern employees and guests in attendance. From E.N. Bisso & Son attendees included A. Thomas “Tommy” Higgins (sponsor’s spouse and namesake), Colin Macpherson (Exec. VP), Casey Willis (CFO), Mike Killelea (Port Captain) and Dwayne Brady (Port Engineer). Father Kevin McQuone of St. John’s the Evangelist Catholic Church of Panama City blessed the vessel. Elizabeth “Liz” Higgins christened the A. THOMAS HIGGINS as the vessel’s sponsor E.N. Bisso & Son is one of Eastern’s long term valued customers and has taken delivery of five (5) previous Z-drive Ship Assist Tugs from Eastern starting in 2007 (JOSEPHINE ANNE, BEVERLY B., ELIZABETH B., ARCHIE T. HIGGINS, and C.D. WHITE). This sixth vessel and second new Robert Allan RApport 2400 design tug has been customized by the designer, the builder, and owner to provide specific operational features including 65+ ton bollard pull, enhanced maneuverability and escort performance, better fuel economy, crew comfort, safety under the new USCG Sub-M requirements, and reduced emissions meeting the new EPA Tier 4 emissions regulations.

    Colin Macpherson spoke about their customers onboard reactions and being very impressed with each vessel’s construction quality and ongoing maintenance even as far back as the JOSEPHINE ANNE; which delivered over thirteen years ago. “I think it is of particular note, that these two vessels have been built at a period in time when you all have come through that bad storm, Michael, and have been impacted by it. We are very well aware of that. We want to thank each and every one of you for the travails you have endured while remaining dedicated to the project on hand. We really, really appreciate that.” The first RAL 5,100 HP tug the C.D. WHITE was working ships on the Mississippi River prior to arriving dockside at the E.N. Bisso Fleet in New Orleans, LA. Colin addressed the crowd, thanking Eastern’s workforce of skilled craftsman, supervision staff, management, the long-term relationship sharing their belief in quality craftsmanship first.

    Liz Higgins with a mighty swing broke the christening bottle on the first try to begin the launching of the vessel. The boat is named after her husband A. Thomas “Tommy” Higgins.

    The RApport 2400 Ship Handling Tugs features the following characteristics:

    Dimensions (Molded): 80’-0 x 38’-0 x 13’-2”

    ESG Designation: Hull 226

    Fuel Oil: 28,000 USG

    DEF/Urea: (2) x 850 USG

    Potable Water: 8,750 USG

    Total Horsepower: (2) x 2,549 HP @ 1,800 RPM

    Bollard Pull (Predicted): 65 Tons

    Main Engines: (2) LA CAT, Caterpillar 3512E Tier 4 EPA/IMO III marine propulsion diesel engines

    Main Propulsion: (2) Kongsberg/Rolls Royce US205 P20 Z-Drives

    Main Generators: (2) Kennedy Engines Co. John Deere 4045AFM85

    Tier 3 EPA certified Marine Auxiliary Diesel Generator Set, each rated at 99kW @ 1,800 RPM

    Firefighting: (1) Counterfire ES-125-400, 1,500 gpm at 100 psi, diesel engine driven and 4” Stang remote controlled fire monitor

    Forward Hawser Winch: (1) Markey Machinery, Inc. Model DEPCF-42 HS, Single Drum 40HP, Render/Recovery, Line Tension Display, Electric Escort Hawser Winch

    Aft Capstan: (1) Markey Machinery, Inc. CEPB-40 5HP Tow Bitt Capstan

    Tow Hook: (1) Washington Chain & Supply 90 Ton SWL tow hook, electric-air remote control, manual or remote release.

    Regulatory: USCG Sub-M, Certificate of Inspection (COI) (Oceans), Designed and Built to ABS Class standards (but not classed under ABS rules)

    Flag: United States of America



    E.N. Bisso currently has a tug fleet of 18 vessels featuring a blend of eight modern tractor tugs along with conventional twin-screw tugs. Whatever the challenges that may be presented by the mighty Mississippi River, in the Port of Gulfport, MS or at Port Canaveral, FL, E.N. Bisso has the optimal equipment to service the varied needs of the diverse mix of cargo and other vessels that call in the country’s largest port complex as well as other ports.

    E.N. Bisso is proudly owned by the fifth-generation family descendants of Captain Joseph Bisso who innovatively founded the company by launching a ferry service across the Mississippi River in Downtown New Orleans. E.N. Bisso can trace these early days of the company’s activities back to before 1880 and the oars in the company’s logo are a salute to its origins. This enterprise quickly expanded to employ the use of steam-powered ferries and tugs. The ferry business grew into a sizable venture and was eventually sold to the State of Louisiana. In 1946 the company was split up and Captain Edwin Napoleon Bisso formed his own company with six tugboats and two heavy-lift derricks, later naming it E.N. Bisso & Son. Since then the company has grown and evolved to its position today as a leading U.S. Gulf and East Coast provider of harbor tug and towing services.

    Robert Allan Ltd. is a firm of internationally recognized Naval Architects in Vancouver, Canada. Since 1930, Robert Allan Ltd. has built a reputation for innovative designs for vessels of almost all types, from high-performance tugs to ferries to sophisticated research vessels. Robert Allan Ltd. is committed to providing the highest possible standards of professional marine design and engineering services to their valued clients, thereby creating innovative working vessels that embody efficiency, durability and performance. They are committed to making the vessels built to our designs as safe and efficient as possible for the crews that work on them, and for the people who own them.

    Eastern Shipbuilding Group is a family held shipbuilding company located in Panama City, Florida since 1976 and has been a long-time employer in Bay County. Since 2008, Eastern has spent more than $75 million dollars upgrading and expanding its facilities and shipbuilding capabilities to continue expanding and meeting the needs of its commercial and government customers. Eastern Shipbuilding Group, Inc. has two new construction and repair facilities engaged in new construction and repair of all types of steel and aluminum vessels including harbor/escort/ship assist tugs, offshore tugs, dredges, offshore/platform supply vessels, ATB’s, multi-purpose construction vessels, research vessels, firefighting vessels, barges, dredges, ferries, passenger vessels, fishing vessels and inland towboats. Eastern maintains its role as one of the most diversified and innovative construction shipyards in the United States. Eastern Shipbuilding Group continues to remain a custom shipbuilder, delivering 12 vessels of various sizes and designs over the past 24 months.


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