MARCH 22, 2013 — Nichols Brothers Boat Builders recently launched the M/V Robert Franco, the first of two tractor tugs for Harley Marine Services, from its Freeland, WA, shipyard.
Nichols began construction of the 100 ft x 40 ft Z-drive ship assist tractor tug in May last year. After its March 14, launch it was towed to Nichols Langley site for final vessel outfitting, dock and sea trials and is set for delivery to Harley Marine Services in mid April 2013.
The tractor tug, designed by Crowley Maritime Corporation's Seattle-based Jensen Maritime Consultants, Inc. is ABS load line certified. Its propulsion package, which includes two Caterpillar 3516C diesel engines coupled to a Rolls Royce Z-drive system will produce over 90 tons of bollard pull with a combined horsepower of 6,770 hp, giving the tug exceptional pulling power and maneuverability.
The vessel is also equipped with two Cat C9 generators, Mackay Marine Electronics, a Northern Lights Technicold HVAC system, two Markey winches — one forward for ship assist and one aft for towing — and a Smith Berger tow pin.
A sister vessel, M/V Ahbra Franco, is scheduled to be launched from Nichols in late June with a July delivery to Harley Marine Services.