The vessel, built by Vigor Industrial's Portland, OR, shipyard, follows towboat Crown Point, which began operations along the Columbia Snake River in May 2015.
Like the Crown Point, the Granite Point is a custom-built, environmentally-friendly towboat that was specifically designed by naval architects and marine engineers CT Marine, Edgecomb, ME, to serve Tidewater's customers.
"Granite Point performed exactly as we wanted it to during its river trials earlier this month," says Marc Schwartz, Maintenance & Engineering Manager at Tidewater. "We are ready for the Granite Point to team up with Tidewater's current fleet of 16 towboats to provide our customers with the highest quality river transportation."
Named for the granite cliff in Washington, about 20 miles southwest of Pullman along the Snake River, the towboat was built to the same specifications as the Crown Point and forthcoming sister vessel, the Ryan Point.
Measuring 102 ft by 38 ft, with a depth at full load of 11 ft, the Granite Point has a hexagonal wheelhouse with floor-to-ceiling windows on all six sides. The hexagonal design continues to the main deck, which features a galley, a media room, and a health and fitness facility.
"Tidewater understands that the ability of our crew members to cope with operational risk factors, like frequent sleep disruptions and heavy workloads, depends on their level of endurance," says Bruce Reed, Chief Operations Officer and Vice President of Tidewater. "The responsibility for maintaining a high level of crew endurance rests with us. Therefore, all three towboats incorporate a comprehensive sound and vibration control package designed by Noise Control Engineers of Billerica, Massachusetts. The noise levels register at less than 60 decibels in the quarters during vessel operation, which is equivalent to the sound of an air conditioner."
"When you are in the wheelhouse, which is three decks above the engines, you would really need to concentrate to hear the engines at all," says Brian Fletcher, Tidewater Port Captain who piloted the Granite Point through river trials.
"You couldn't ask for a quieter tug, nor a better tug in tight situations. It turns on a dime."To meet the challenges of maneuvering barges through swift-moving currents, high winds, and eight navigation locks along the CSR System, CT Marine designed an enhanced steering system utilizing four main steering and four flanking rudders. Coupling the steering system with two Caterpillar 3516C Tier 3 engines, the design team was able to increase the margins of safety and efficiency.
"The Granite Point can 'get up and go'," says Josh Nichols, Assistant Port Captain, "but there is an ease and steadiness to it."
"The up-front work paid off," says Bob Curcio, Tidewater CEO. "The vessels are fuel-efficient, ecologically-responsible, and are giving our Captains and crews exactly what they'd asked for."
"We are proud to have worked with Tidewater on Granite Point. Like its sister ship Crown Point, this vessel sets new standards for future towboat design. It will serve our community well for decades to come," says Corey Yraguen, Vigor Executive VP of Fabrication.
The Granite Point is powered by two Caterpillar 3516C EPA Tier 3 certified diesel engines each producing 2,240 BHP at 1,600 RPM. The engines drive two 92" x 100" fixed pitch, stainless steel propellers through CT28 Kort Nozzles. The vessel is capable of a service speed of 8 knots.
Electrical power is provided by two C7.1, Tier 3 generators, rated at 480 V, 200 kW at 1,800 RPM. The generators are controlled through an automatic transfer system that ensures the vessel will recover from a generator power loss in less than 30 seconds.
Deck machinery includes seven Patterson WWP 65E-7.5, 65 ton electric deck winches, with pilot house remote operation and local push button control stations on the main deck. Each winch has Samson 1 3/8" Turbo 75 Synthetic Line.
To minimize power usage, variable frequency drives were used in all major rotating machinery applications and LED lighting was employed in both interior and exterior lighting applications.
The vessel is fitted with a Kidde NOVEC 1230 fire suppression system. Centralized fire detection and alarms cover both the machinery spaces and accommodations.