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Among the list of performance standards Foss Maritime wanted from a new series of 90-short ton bollard tugs it was adding to its fleet was a propulsion system capable of meeting strict emission standards.

Our marine team was able to deliver on Foss Maritime’s needs by outfitting each of the  four new tugs with two MTU 16v4000M65L engines and a Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) exhaust aftertreatment system.

“It took a lot of design work from our team to get the right SCR configuration,” said Doug Schwedland, PPG’s vice president of the marine division. “This complete system integration will give Foss extremely efficient and environmentally compliant tugs.”

The Build

Nichols Brothers Boat Builders of Freeland, Washington, has set an aggressive time table to deliver the multifunctional 100-foot by 40-foot tugs designed by Jensen Maritime Consultants. Each vessel has the ability to handle ship assists, escorts, towing and fighting fires.

The tugs will ultimately be deployed to Foss Maritime’s West Coast fleet.


Along with the MTU engines, the propulsion system includes Kongsberg US255 azimuth thrusters, which allow for 360-degree rotation. This provides the maneuverability required in ship assist and escort work.

MTU’s legacy

Tug companies have come to rely on MTU engines because of the fast load acceptance and high torque levels that make towing vessels agile and safe while providing durability proven in years of use in high load applications.

Nichols Brothers expects to deliver the first four tugs in 2020 and has an option from Foss to build an additional six tugs. Foss is focused on an aggressive schedule to complement its fleet with a new generation of tugs that are built to meet increasing environmental regulations in the marine industry.

“The new tugs are designed to upgrade our fleet and improve the company’s ability to provide timely harbor and port services to a variety of customers,” John Parrott, president and CEO of Foss Maritime, said in a company press release. “By offering lower maintenance down time, greater operating efficiencies and lower emissions, these new tugs help expand our nearshore and offshore capabilities.”

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Tag Archives: Tug & Tow

For years, our technicians in Ridgefield kept the Lassen, a Columbia River tug owned by Shaver Transportation Co., operational by servicing and rebuilding its two-cycle Detroit Diesel engines.

But Shaver recently decided it was time to repower the Lassen to bring it more in line with the propulsion systems used in the company’s fleet. By going with the recommendation of our marine team to install two MTU 8V4000M54 engines, the Lassen has suddenly become the most productive tug in Shaver’s fleet.

Long History          

Shaver’s presence on the Columbia and Snake River systems dates back to the 1880s. Today, Shaver is a regional tug and barge company with a fleet of 15 tugs and 20 grain barges that primarily handle ship assist, inland grain and bulk commodity transportation, and harbor and marine services in the Snake and Columbia river systems.

The Shaver family, now in its fifth generation, retains its ownership in the company and oversees the day-to-day operations of the business.

Power System

The engines installed in the Lassen come from MTU’s legendary line that was introduced in 1996. At the time, the engine featured a common-rail injection system that helped make it powerful, universally deployable and efficient.

The new engines retain that dependability and meet stringent emission standards. Most impressive is the fuel savings. The Lassen is meeting all the performance standards it had prior to the repower but requires 250 fewer gallons of fuel each day. It’s a dramatic reduction in fuel that has company officials stunned.

Return to Work

The Lassen is back to work and will spend the summer transporting barges filled with juvenile fish between Lewiston, Idaho, to just below the Bonneville Dam system that spans between Cascade Locks, Oregon, and North Bonneville, Washington. Scientists have found that this gives the young fish a better chance of survival rather than getting pushed to the surface of the water after passing through the dam and becoming vulnerable to predatory birds.

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Tag Archives: Tug & Tow

Tomco Marine Group’s newest project, the Waypoint 36, allows the LaConner, Washington, boat builder to experience a new power system – Volvo Penta diesel inboard engines supplied by Pacific Power Group.

The Waypoint is based on the fiberglass construction of Tomco’s 365 hull and deck. The overall design is meant to deliver a more affordable trawler capable of handling the waters from California to Alaska or Florida to Maine and maintain the quality and craftsmanship of the American Tug name.

Tomco consulted Pacific Power Group to find the ultimate power system and chose Volvo’s D4 engine line. The standard Waypoint will feature the D4-260. This 260hp, 4-cylinder gives Tomco an engine that delivers top performance with lower weight and emission levels. The initial Waypoint is being powered with a D4-300, which ups the power to 300hp.

The Volvo engine gives the Waypoint operator a boat that has great performance and superior reliability. The engine’s design also gives the owner class-leading fuel efficiency and durability.

Tomco’s typical trawlers feature one stateroom. The Waypoint’s design includes a second stateroom and a salon/galley. This design necessitated Tomco Marine to abandon the engine configuration it typically uses due to size constraints.

The Volvo Penta engine size along with its performance made it the perfect propulsion system for the new Waypoint, said Kurt Dilworth, Tomco’s vice president. But even with the smaller engine room, Dilworth said the space is easily accessible for maintenance and repair needs.

During the initial run of the 17,500-pound Waypoint, it topped 16 knots, 2 knots more than anticipated. Sea trial data had the Volvo Penta engine delivering an average speed of 16.65 knots with a light load.

“The Volvo engine exceeded expectations,” Dilworth said.

The Waypoint and Volvo Penta partnership is drawing interest from consumers after it was unveiled in May at the Anacortes Boat & Yacht show in Anacortes, Washington.

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Tag Archives: Tug & Tow

MTU powered vessels

WorkBoat magazine each year recognizes ten newly built commercial vessels as Significant Boats of the year for standing out as models for the industry. Tug boats dominated the voting in 2017 with five capturing slots in the top 10.

Even more impressive is that MTU powered three of the winners and Pacific Power was involved in two of those projects – the Gladys B tug and the Hydrus ferry.

The Series 4000 engines are a critical component in the Gladys B, which operates in New Orleans where cargo vessels tie up to a two-mile long wharf, which is the longest in the world, or at bulkheads on the river. Signet Shipbuilding & Repair built the Gladys B for tugboat operator E.N. Bisson using twin 16V 4000 M64 engines coupled with Rolls Royce US 205 P20 FP azimuth stern drives. The 4000 engines are rated at 2,681 bhp each at 1,800 rpm and are Tier 3 emissions certified. MTU’s technology and specialized engine design are expected to increase uptime for the Gladys B at the same time lifecycle costs will be reduced.

The 134-foot Hydrus is powered by a pair of MTU 12V 4000 M64 engines, which Pacific Power custom fit with a cutting-edge SCR emission system. Vigor Industries of Seattle built the Incat Crowther designed Hydrus for the San Francisco Bay Ferry as part of a four-ship $175 million project to expand the Water and Emergency Transportation Authority system. Each engine produces 1,950 bhp to power the 400-person catamaran and meets Tier 4 emission standards for a sustainable, cost-efficient and eco-friendly ferry.

Read the full WorkBoat story here.

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Tag Archives: Tug & Tow

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.”

More about our Tug and Tow services

More about MTU’s Tug and Pushboats offerings

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Tag Archives: Tug & Tow


When changes to requirements were made for ship berthing tugs operating on the Columbia River and its tributaries, Shaver Transportation was faced with a serious problem: one of their tugs, the M/V Umatilla, was rendered unusable for ship berthing and no longer able to produce revenue. As one of the most successful marine transportation companies operating on the Columbia River system since 1880, it was essential for the Umatilla to get back to work on the river.

Shaver turned to Pacific Power Group to revitalize their vessel and put it back into money-making service with a propulsion and performance upgrade.  As the Umatilla is a veteran tug with has provided many years of dedicated service, Shaver and Pacific Power Group sought a cost-effective way to repower the vessel without brand new engines.

Recently, Pacific had sold new engines to repower a private yacht that was due for an overhaul – the owner had no use for the original MTU Series 4000 engines which had very low load factors and hours in use. Pacific began in-depth research and calculations to see if it the yacht engines could be converted for commercial tug use. A survey was performed on the 8V4000 M90 engines and PPG determined that the engines could indeed be converted. A deal was made with the yacht owner to purchase the used engines and begin converting them from pleasurecraft use to a suitable source of power for the Umatilla and its rigorous duties.

The expertise and creative problem solving provided by Pacific Power Group supplied the Umatilla with a power and bollard pull upgrade while costing less than half the price of new engines – a great value for Shaver Transportation that continues more than 30 years of business partnership between the two companies.

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