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Marine Log

August 18, 2008

U.S. Army tug sold

Marcon International reports that Kwajalein Range Services awarded the twin screw tug "Gulf Condor" (LT-101) to Northland Transportation Company of Seattle, Washington.

The tug was sold on behalf of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command acting by and through U.S. Army Kwajalein Atoll / Reagan Test Site. The 121' x 34' tug is a former ocean-going, anchor-handling tug acquired by U.S. Army from Zapata Marine, along with its sister-vessel "Gulf Raven" now named "Mystic" (LT-102). Both were built in 1981 by Quality Equipment of Houma, Louisiana for Gulf Mississippi Marine, later to become Zapata Gulf, and sent to Kwajalein Atoll in 1987.

The tugs have always been kept in full ABS class with the notation +A1 Towing Service +AMS, in addition to being maintained to U.S. Army AR 56-9 standards.

"Gulf Condor" is powered by a pair of EMD 12-645E6 diesels totaling 3,000 BHP at 900 RPM with Reintjes 4.95:1 gears driving fixed pitch, 4-blade 108" x 108" props in kort nozzles. Bollard pull is estimated at abt. 50 tons. The tug is fitted with an Intercon DD-200 double drum 200,000lb. line pull anchor handling / towing winch, Intercon HSW-20 hydraulic anchor windlass, hydraulic tow pins and a crane. Capacities include abt. 134,610g fuel, 15,500g fresh water and 2,500g lube oil. Air conditioned accommodations are provided for 11 crew in five staterooms. As expected due to her government ownership, "Gulf Condor" is fully fitted with communications and navigational aids including two Furuno radars, SSB, three VHF's, GMDSS, Autopilot, Sperry gyro with three repeaters, two GPS, fathometer, AIS, Navtex and Satcom.

At the time of the sale, the tug was located at Kwajalein Atoll which is some. 1,405 nm from Guam, 2,157 nm from Honolulu and 4,566 nm from Seattle. Despite the tug's remote location, it attracted a lot of attention due to its good condition and relatively light use over the past 21 years. Fifteen bids were received from potential U.S. and foreign buyers halfway across the globe.

The new owners are renaming the tug "Polar Storm" and plan to use it in their Pacific Northwest operations.

Shortly after the tug's arrival in Seattle, Northland intends to start repowering the vessel with a pair of CAT 3516Cs developing a total of 4,000 HP at 1,600 RPM. The project is not expected to not be completed until April 2009 due to the delivery schedule of both the main engines and reduction gears.

The primary reasons to the re-power is to achieve better fuel economy while at the same time getting another 1,000B HP.

New generators will also be installed plus the winch converted over to hydraulic controls to help save on fuel costs.

The new CAT 3516C engines are expected to consume about 2,500 gallons per day while delivering 4,000 HP compared to the original EMD 12-645E6s that used 3,000 gallons per day while only delivering 3,000 HP.

With diesel fuel at abt. US$ 3.50 to US$ 4.00 per gallon, savings for a normal operating season of 220 days are expected to be about US$ 385,000 per year.

Northland Services, Inc. operates a common carrier tug and barge service with year-round service to Southeast and Central Alaska as well as Hawaii, and seasonal service to Western Alaska ports and villages. In 2007, Northland's 30th year of operation, it handled more than 750,000 tons of cargo through its Terminal 115 facility in Seattle with a sailing schedule including nine Western Alaska sailings, 58 sailings to Southeast Alaska, 65 sailings to Central Alaska, and 25 sailings to Hawaii.

Marcon International, Inc. of Coupeville, Washington acted as sole and exclusive broker in the sale. This was the twelfth tug sold by Marcon in 2008. Sales are pending on two additional U.S. flag tugs totaling over 10,000 BHP.

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