Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Little tugs get bigger

The fleet of miniature tugs built and owned by GFFM Leclerc of La Baleine, Ile-aux-Coudres, QC grows by on or two new tugs each year.  The tugs are then bareboat chartered for use in northern supply work, often by  Transport Desgagnés. They are also available to other owners by others such as construction companies.

Since all the tugs are under 15 gross tons, they are not required to be registered by name under Canadian law, but they are registered by number. The names they they carry are thus unofficial, making it especially difficult to track them. Fortunately the company has a web site which gives some particulars of the ten tug fleet.
1. Kodiak built about 1994, is one of the early Lecelerc tugs. It is single screw, and 245 bhp.

Starting off with small single screw boats of about 300 bhp, they progressed into twin screw vessels of 300 bhp, gradually increasing in size with 500 bhp or more, to the current versions. Some have demountable wheelhouses to facilitate transport by road.
2. Renard Polaire is one of the newest tugs, built this year and measuring 14.99 gross tons.

The latest tugs have become very sophisticated with triple screws and rudders and powered with Cummins QSL9 engines. Fully outfitted with weather tight wheelhouse and aids to navigation, they appear to be very capable boats.They have also reached the maximum size of 14.99 gross tons, beyond which they will need to be registered by name, and company with another level of regulations.
3. Horizon Polaire was built in 2012 and is a triple screw tug of 1130 bhp.

4. Renard Polaire sits alongside one of the Desgagnés pontoons, awaiting assignment in the north. It is also a triple screw tug of 1130 bhp. 

The tugs and landing barges are transported on the deck of the northern supply ships, and used to ferry freight into shore where there are no port facilities.

See the Leclerc website for information on the whole fleet:

Photos taken at Ile-aux-Coudres, 2013-06-30. The tide was out when the photos were taken, permitting a look at triple screws and rudders, but also their showing their ability to take the bottom and rest upright.

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