Sunday, December 28, 2014

Yankee - new life for good ol' tug - UPDATED

The big US tug Yankee arrived in Halifax today on its way to Florida and a new career.

Yankee making a slow speed approach to Halifax today.

Built in 1976 by Equitable Shipyard in Madisonville, LA as Pye Theriot for Nolty J. Theriot Inc of Golden Meadow, LA it went to work in the North Sea as part of the American invasion of big heavy tugs and suppliers. Powered by two 20 cylinder GMs giving 7200 bhp through twin screws, it was a powerful tug for its day, but was soon eclipsed by European vessels.

In 1980 it was sold to Marathon Marine Inc of Findlay, OH, renamed Loretta J and paired with the double hull tank barge MM-1 (8710 grt, 150,000 bbbl capacity, built 1981 by Galveston Shipbuilding Co). Fitted with side pads, the tug worked in the barge notch and was connected with face wires. It was fitted with an elevated wheelhouse to see over the barge when light.
 Loretta J was fitted with an elevated wheelhouse.

Using side pads and face wires the tug fitted into a deep notch in the barge's stern. The tug still had is original twin funnels. 

The pair worked the US Gulf of Mexico and southern Atlantic Coast until 1993 when they were acquired by Eklof Marine Corp of Staten Island, NY. Renamed Yankee, the tug still worked with the barge which was renamed DBL 151 and ranged farther afield, including calls in Halifax in 1994 and 1995.

When DBL 151 was light, even the elevated wheelhouse was barely high enough to see over the deck.

When Eklof was forced out of business, the pair were picked up by K-Sea Transportation , which in turn was acquired by Kirby Corp in 2011. However the barge was not part of that last deal.

Articulated tug/barges using pin connections have made wire boats obsolete, and in 2013 the tug was picked up by Donjon Marine of Hillside, NJ. Donjon is best known for its salvage work, but is also in the metal recycling business and operates Donjon Shipbuiding + Repair, in Erie, PA. Donjon had partnered with the huge offshore and transportation conglomerate Seacor to form Seajon LLC. They built the ATB tug Ken Boothe Sr and barge Lakes Contender for operation on the Great Lakes in 2011-2102.

Donjon and Seacor formed Seajon II LLC to own Yankee and in October 2013 sent the tug up the Seaway to Erie for a rebuild at the Erie shipyard.It has now been completely refurbished and re-powered and is on its return to the US to work out of Florida.
After the rebuild, the tug still has notches in the hull for side pads, but the pads are gone.

Also gone are the classic streamlined funnels, now replaced by huge boxes, each with twin pipes within. There is also a generator mounted on the boat deck.

There is speculation about what that work will be, but Yankee is still equipped with its massive towing winch. However the elevated wheelhouse is gone and so are the side pads.  My speculation is that it will go to work for Seacor's Trailerbridge operation between Jacksonville, FL and San Juan, PR. This is a Jones Act trade, requiring US built tugs to tow huge multi-deck container/RoRo barges (some of 5,860 grt, some of 12,068 grt). The barges are still towed on a towing wire, since they are far too high to operate with pushers. They are handled in ports with harbour tugs. Seacor has traditionally used charters from mainline tug companies to tow the barges. However those companies are concentrating more on ASD harbour tugs and ATBs these days, so line tugs are becoming rare. As a rugged US built hull, Yankee has value for its Jones Act compliance, and with new power, should be good for many more years.

After some repairs, the tug sailed New Year's Eve for New York. It is due there January 2.

1 comment:

  1. Mac-- Thanks for these pics. Yankee departed New York Tuesday morning, Jan 6, around dawn.