Customer Stories

Signet Maritime Tug Project Marries Uptime with Power and Maneuverability

Pacific Power Group’s Marine team has recently provided Houston-based Signet Maritime with power systems and engineering support to help make their new tugboat one of the best on the water. Pacific Power Group was presented with a unique opportunity outside our standard territory to help supply a MTU marine power system for a new build at Signet Shipbuilding & Repair (SS&R), a state of the art shipbuilding facility located in Pascagoula, Mississippi. This new project sets a high bar for the world of tug vessel construction.

Project: the Gladys B

Named for the founder’s wife, the Gladys B, SS&R Hull 109 was created for E.N. Bisso, a New Orleans-based tug operation spanning five port jurisdictions in the Lower Mississippi River (LMR) area with a tug fleet of 15 vessels. It was delivered on-time and on-budget in December, 2016, and has an LOA of 80’ and a beam of 38’.

About the Gladys B, E.N. Bisso President Mr. William H. McDonald has said, “(We are) proud to add the Gladys B to our growing fleet of the most advanced, powerful, and maneuverable tugs on the LMR… The craftsmanship and attention to quality of the highest standards by Signet Shipbuilding leaves no doubt that she will serve our company well for decades to come.”

Power System

The Gladys B will be powered by two MTU 16V 4000 M64 EPA Tier 3 engines, rated at 2681 BHP each at 1800 RPM.

The engines drive two Rolls-Royce, US 205 P20 FP Azimuth stern drives. The propulsion package will provide in excess of 60 metric tonnes bollard pull. Robert Allan, Ltd, a naval architect firm, collaborated with Signet to implement a number of upgrades to the original design utilizing the latest technology to increase the vessel’s capabilities to accomplish multi-disciplinary work, including ship-assist, ship escort and barge moves.

MTU Tug Benefits

The MTU engines utilized in this deployment offers the latest technology and will provide benefits including:

  • Reduce tug operating costs due to enhanced machinery performance, low fuel and lube consumption, and longer service intervals
  • The specific engine design allows for maximum reliability that will keep the vessel operating with greater up-time and reduced maintenance expense


“The selection of MTU series 4000 to power Gladys B is a perfect fit given their high fuel efficiency and lower overall life cycle costs,” said Mr. Jeff Sherman, Commercial Marine Sales Manager for MTU America. “Signet Shipbuilding and E.N. Bisso have high demands for their vessel programs and MTU will prove, once again, these engines are the best power for this world-class tug.”

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