Seabulk Towing's Rotortug Trident.

Best Workboats of 2017

Marine News showcases the best of North America’s 2017 workboat deliveries.

First US-built Rotortug Enters Service
The first U.S.-built Rotortug, ART Trident, has undergone trials and is now in service. Designed by Robert Allan Ltd., and designated as an ART 80-98US, she was built by Master Boat Builders in Bayou La Batre, Ala., and is the first in a series of three being constructed for Seabulk Towing of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. The ART (Advanced Rotortug) designation applies to Robert Allan Ltd. designed tugs featuring the triple Z-drive configuration, originally conceived and developed by Rotortug (KST) B.V. of the Netherlands. Offering exceptional omnidirectional maneuverability and control, with a redundant propulsion machinery configuration, the ART series offers enhanced performance for ship-handling, terminal support and escort towing. The vessel has been arranged and outfitted to a high standard with six crew berths in total. The Master’s and Chief Engineer’s cabins are located in the deckhouse with two double crew cabins located on the lower accommodation deck. A fully appointed mess/lounge and a modern, fully equipped galley are also located in the deckhouse.

Read Joseph Keefe’s full article – Best Workboats of 2017.

Seabulk Towing's Escort Tractor Tug Hawk.

Get Ready for the WorkBoat Show

The 38th edition of the International WorkBoat Show kicks off next Wednesday in New Orleans and runs through Friday, Dec. 1.

Each year, the show becomes a big stage for workboat-related companies to show their stuff. It’s a chance for them to display the latest products and services to the industry.

With the annual show issue, it is also a chance for us to show off what this industry is made up of — the construction and operation of brown-water vessels, from ferries to tugs and OSVs to patrol boats and fireboats.

Read the full article by David Krapf at – Workboat.com

Seabulk Towing Rotortug Trident

Rotortugs Making Waves in U.S. market

Rotortugs have finally come to the U.S. after operating in other parts of the world for some time. Master Boat Builders, Bayou La Batre, Ala., delivered the first of three new 98’6″×43’6″×15’7″ Robert Allan Ltd. (RAL)-designed Advanced Rotortug (ART 80-98US) tugs to Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Seabulk Towing in January. Seabulk is a unit of SEACOR Holdings Inc.

The new tugs feature triangular propulsion designed to deliver optimum maneuverability. “We went to [Robert Allan] specifically for the Rotortug concept and they met our needs for the U.S. marketplace,” said Anthony Caggiano, Seabulk’s senior marketing manager.

With a draft of 18’6″, the ART tugs Trident and Triton (the third tug is unnamed) are scheduled to work out of U.S. Gulf and Florida East Coast ports. Trident is currently working at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale. The Triton is set for delivery in June and the final tug will be delivered to Seabulk in late October.

Seabulk’s ARTs are designed to bring maximum maneuverability and enhanced safety in escorting LNG tankers and other high-demand applications to the U.S. market.

Master Boat has built a series of OSVs for Seacor over the past several years and several for other operators, but the yard was looking at other markets with the offshore service industry suffering from low oil prices and an oversupply of equipment.

Master Boat has shown its diversity over the years by building fishing vessels, factory processors and other boats. “Basically, anything that floats,” said Andre Dubroc, the yard’s general manager. “We recently were awarded a contract to build six ATBs which should show off more of our ability to adapt.”

New Challenge

The Trident is the first tug built by Master Boat since the 1980s and the yard had to take a different approach than the one used to build a supply vessel, said Dubroc. “When we accepted the contract we were able to agree that Master Boat would be able to incorporate our construction techniques into the RAL design,” he said. “Working closely with Jamie McCarty of RAL, we were able to make the design easier to build, without changing any of the RAL concepts.”

This also involved the installation of equipment that Master Boat had not previously worked with such as Schottel Z-drives, JonRie towing/escort winches, and an Alphatron integrated bridge system.

The yard “had to adapt and understand how an escort tug works out in the field, which differs greatly from an OSV,” Dubroc said.

Main propulsion comes from three Caterpillar 3512C, Tier 3 diesels producing 1,910 hp at 1,600 rpm each. The Cats connect to three Schottel SRP 1210 Z-drives. The propulsion package gives the tugs a running speed of 12.5 knots.

Whereas a typical stern-drive tug provides power from just two drive units, ART tugs have three strategically positioned azimuth propulsion units. This provides full redundancy and increased maneuverability while dividing the installed power among a trio of smaller units that combine for a guaranteed bollard pull of 80 tons, according to Seabulk.

Ship’s service power comes from twin Cat engines sparking 150 kW of electricity each. On deck are two JonRie Intertech towing winches. The forward hawser escort winch is a Series 230 outfitted with 450′ of Samson 12 2-5/8″×8″ HMPE rope. The aft combination towing and hawser winch is a series 500 outfitted with 2,100′ of 2.25″ wire rope and 450′ of Saturn 12 2-5/8″×8″ HMPE rope.

Aboard the Trident

Coming out of Bayou La Batre in January, the Trident first went to Seabulk’s operation in nearby Mobile, Ala., to be put through the paces. During a ride along, the new tug got its first job — escorting the cruise ship Carnival Fantasy to its berth alongside the Mobile Convention Center.

The Trident met up with the cruise ship as it came out of Mobile Bay into the Mobile River. The ship has its own thrusters, but the Rotortug maneuvered into position for an added layer of safety. More for practice than necessity, the Trident’s crew did make up a line for a short time. Once the line was brought back in, the captain turned the tug perpendicular to the cruise ship and followed along sideways as the cruise ship was making better than five knots.

“This tug can go up to 8.5 knots sideways,” H. Rick Groen, Seabulk’s senior vice president and CEO, said.

With the Carnival Fantasy safely docked, the Trident headed back to its berth, drawing curious eyes from other tug crews as it made its way along the river.

“This tug has no skeg. There’s no need for one on this vessel,” said Groen. “We could lose a drive unit and still continue with the two units still functioning and have a bollard pull of 51 tons.”

Once back at the dock, two people from nearby Austal USA came aboard and the Trident went back out into the river and ran sideways, then did 360° donuts, first one way and then the other.

When the Rotortug returned to the dock the second time, more people from other companies hopped aboard to see the new boat. About 15 minutes later, word came down that Trident had another job scheduled for that afternoon — escorting a container ship to the port of Mobile’s container facility.

Trident has found a home at Port Everglades and is a hit with Seabulk’s captains and even its competitors.

“Each captain has their own way of running the vessel but so far all reports have been positive,” said Caggiano. “The pilots will need some time getting used to her but once they are comfortable she will really be a valuable asset to our Port Everglades harbor assist fleet. We’ve had our competitors onboard and they are highly impressed, which is a huge compliment to us.”


Read the full article written by Ken Hocke on WorkBoat’s website – Workboat.com

KSM tugboats RT Blackbeard and RT Raptor hard at work during docking assistance

Kotug and Seabulk Team Up in the Bahamas

Kotug and Seabulk Towing have won a contract with Borco Towing to handle all towage operations at the Buckeye Bahamas Hub in Freeport, the largest petroleum products terminal in the Western Hemisphere.

Buckeye Bahamas Hub is a 26 million barrel product storage facility with eight berths for tankers, including two that can handle VLCCs. The facility provides blending services for multiple markets, including the Americas, regional consumers and long-haul Asian destinations. It is located within a free trade zone to exempt transshipment cargoes from customs duties.

The new joint venture – called Kotug Seabulk Maritime LLC – will deploy four tugs and a bunker barge to serve the terminal. The tugs include the Blackbeard, Raptor, Calypso and Junkanoo.

Kotug has also made headlines in recent years for its contract supporting Shell’s giant Prelude FLNG project. The firm is building three purpose-built 100-tonne bollard pull tugs to provide ship assist for LNG carriers calling at the giant floating production platform.


Read the full article on The Maritime Executive website – The Maritime Executive

Seabulk Towing Rotortug Trident

First U.S.-built Rotortug Now in Service with Seabulk Towing

The first U.S.-built Rotortug – ART Trident — has undergone trials and is now in service.

Designed by Robert Allan Ltd., and designated as an ART 80-98US, she was built in the Bayou La Batre, AL, shipyard of Master Boat Builders and is the first in a series of three tugs being constructed for Seabulk Towing of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

The ART (Advanced Rotortug designation applies to Robert Allan Ltd. designed tugs featuring the unique triple Z-drive configuration, originally conceived and developed by Rotortug (KST) B.V. of the Netherlands. Offering exceptional omnidirectional maneuverability and control, with a redundant propulsion machinery configuration, the ART series offers enhanced performance for ship-handling, terminal support and escort towing.

Particulars of the ART 80-98 US Class tug are as follows:

  • Length overall: 98′-6″
  • Beam, moulded, extreme: 43′-6″
  • Depth, moulded (hull): 15′-7″
  • Maximum draft: 18′-9″

Tank capacities at 100% are as follows:

  • Fuel Oil: 52,000 US gal
  • Potable Water: 5,000 US gal
  • Foam: 4,200 US gal

On trials, Trident met or exceeded all performance expectations, with the following results:

  • Average Bollard Pull, ahead: 78 tons
  • Free running speed, ahead: 12.5 knots

The vessel has been arranged and outfitted to a high standard with six crew berths in total. The Master’s and Chief Engineer’s cabins are located in the deckhouse with two double crew cabins located on the lower accommodation deck. A fully appointed mess/lounge and a modern, fully equipped galley are also located in the deckhouse.

The deck machinery consists of a JonRie Series 230 ship-assist hawser winch forward, and a JonRie Series 500 combination towing/hawser winch on the aft deck. The tug is equipped to perform escort operations over both the bow and stern and is also equipped for long line towing over the stern.

The wheelhouse is designed for maximum all-round visibility with a forward control station providing maximum visibility to both fore and aft deck working areas and featuring an Alphatron Integrated Bridge System.

Main propulsion comprises three Caterpillar 3512C diesel engines, each rated 1,911 bhp at 1,600 rpm, and each driving a Schottel SRP 1012 fixed pitch Z-drive unit.

The electrical plant consists of two identical diesel gensets, each with a power output of 150 ekW.

Ship-handling fenders at the bow consist of a row of cylindrical fender at the main deck level, 800 x 400 and a row of 480 x 300 “W” block fender arranged below. Two rows of 10″ x 10″ hollow “D” fender provides protection at the main and foc’sle deck sheer lines, and an 800 x 400 cylindrical fender is used at the stern with a course of 480 x 300 “W” block fenders beneath. A combination of 10″ x 10″ and 12″ x 12″ hollow “D” fenders are arranged around the stern and below the waterline for submarine operations.


Read the full article at on Marine Log’s website – Marine Log

Hoegh Tokyo and Seabulk Towing's RT Trident

Aboard Seabulk’s new Rotortug in the Mobile River

I arrived at the gates of the Port of Mobile (Ala.) early Tuesday morning, where I was to meet officials from Seabulk Towing. Security at the port had tightened since the last time I was there several years ago. I was told to go to the port police department building to wait for Chris Pittman, Seabulk’s operations manager in Mobile, and Tony Caggiano, Seabulk’s senior marketing manager, in from Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Caggiano had extended an invitation to me to come to Mobile to check out the Trident, the first of three new 98’6″x43’6″x15’7″ Robert Allan-designed Advanced Rotortugs (ART) for Seabulk. Built at Master Boat Builders down the road from Mobile in Bayou La Batre, Ala., the Trident represents the first time the Rotortug, which features triangular propulsion to enhance maneuverability, will be used in the U.S.

While I waited, police officials asked if I would be driving on port property. When I said yes, they asked for my driver’s license and proof of insurance. Pittman and Caggiano arrived minutes later, and I was given the necessary credentials to be on port property. “You’ll get your license back when you turn in your credentials,” the officer behind the glass said.

Fifteen minutes later we were aboard the tug. With a draft of 18’6″, the Trident will be homeported in Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. But this week, it’s in Mobile for a workout. In addition to the crew, Seabulk’s director of technical services Russ Jones and H. Rick Groen, vice president, operations for SEACOR Ocean Transport and Seabulk’s senior vice president and COO, were aboard. (Seabulk is a SEACOR company.) There were quite a few others, including the tug’s captain, of course, Steve Rotert. While in the wheelhouse listening to Capt. Rotert happily explain the many benefits of the boat’s Alphatron control system, we got word that we had a job, escorting the cruise ship Carnival Fantasy to its berth alongside the Mobile Convention Center. I had been told earlier that we would be going into the river to put the new tug through its paces, but this was a real escort job. Even better.

We met up with the cruise ship as it came out of Mobile Bay into the river. The ship has its own thrusters, but we maneuvered into position as an added layer of safety. Whereas a typical stern-drive tug provides power from just two drive units, the ART has three strategically positioned azimuth propulsion units, designed to offer full redundancy and maximum maneuverability while dividing the installed power among a trio of smaller units that combine for a guaranteed bollard pull of 80 tons. More for practice than necessity, the Trident’s crew did make up a line for a short time. Once the line was brought back in, the captain turned the tug perpendicular to the cruise ship and followed along sideways as the cruise ship was making better than five knots. “This tug can go up to 8.5 knots sideways,” Groen said as people on the cruise ship lined the deck to see what we were doing.

With the Carnival Fantasy safely docked, we continued back to our berth, drawing curious eyes from other tug crews as we made our way along the river past the BAE Systems and Austal USA facilities. “This tug has no skeg. There’s no need for one on this vessel,” said Groen. “We could lose a drive unit and still continue with the two units still functioning and have a bollard pull of 51 tons.”

We got back to port and there was talk of going into the bay for exercises after lunch. But before lunch, two people from Austal came aboard and we went back out into the river and ran sideways, then did 360° donuts, first one way and then the other. I felt like I should be smelling popcorn and cotton candy. It was a blast.

The Trident‘s main propulsion comes from three Caterpillar 3512C, Tier 3 diesel engines, producing 1,910 hp at 1,600 rpm each. The Cats connect to three Schottel SRP 1210 Z-drives. The propulsion package gives the tug a running speed of 12.5 knots. Ship’s service power comes from twin Cat engines sparking 150 kW of electricity each. On deck are two Jonrie Intertech towing winches. The forward hawser escort winch is a Series 230 outfitted with 450′ of Samson 12 2-5/8″x8″ HMPE rope. The aft combination towing and hawser winch is a Series 500 outfitted with 2,100′ of 2.25″ wire rope and 450′ of Saturn 12 2-5/8″

When we returned to the dock the second time, more people from other companies hopped aboard to see the new tug. About 15 minutes later, word came down that we wouldn’t be able to go into the bay because the Trident had another job at 4 p.m. escorting a container ship. The Seabulk people offered to take me out in the bay on Wednesday, but, unfortunately, I had to get back to my office in Mandeville, La.

Returning to the police station, I thanked Pittman for letting me tag along, swapped my credentials for my Louisiana driver’s license and drove through Checkpoint Charlie headed for Interstate 10.

I want to thank everyone at Seabulk and the Port of Mobile for their graciousness and hospitality. And by the way, Trident is ABS classed Maltese Cross A1, AMS, UWILD, Unrestricted Navigation. Just so you know.


Read Ken Hocke’s full article on – Workboat.com