Another 3,000-hp Maryland-built tugboat joins Vane Brothers fleet

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Vane Brothers tugboat Cape Fear. [Image: Vane Brothers]

Underscoring the advantages of building in series, Vane Brothers has taken delivery of the 3,000 hp Cape Fear, the seventeenth Maryland-built tugboat to join the Baltimore-based company’s expanding fleet.

Since 2008, fifteen 3,000 hp, model-bow tugboats have been delivered to Vane Brothers by Chesapeake Shipbuilding and Naval Architects of Salisbury, Md. The shipyard has also constructed two 3,000 hp push boats for Vane.

“The 3,000 hp tug is powerful, practical and a perfect fit for Vane’s harbor and coastwise towing operations,” says Vane Brothers President C. Duff Hughes. “Keeping this series of tugs similar in construction is a great benefit to our crews, purchasing agents and contracted vendors.”

Featuring a design by the late Frank Basile, P.E., of Entech Designs LLC, the Cape Fear measures 94 feet long and 32 feet wide, with a hull depth of 13 feet. The vessel is equipped with twin Caterpillar 3512 main engines and operates with a JonRie Series 500 hydraulic towing winch. “Soft-core” panels and top-line fittings appear throughout, providing the crew with a quiet, comfortable living environment. State-of-the-art componentry is at the captain’s fingertips in the wheelhouse, which features mostly wooden accents for a more traditional look.

“The Cape Fear is another fine example of an Entech-designed and Chesapeake-built tug,” says Port Capt. Jim Demske, who oversees Vane Brothers’ tugboat construction program. “These superior model-bow tugs provide exceptional safety, comfort and reliability. And the open-wheel design gives us great maneuverability while working in unison with the Vane fleet of coastwise tank barges.”

After being delivered in late October, the Cape Fear joined the company’s New York-based Bravo Fleet and has been primarily tasked with towing petroleum barges engaged in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic coastwise trade. Named for a waterway in North Carolina, the Cape Fear will be followed by her sister tug, the Cape Henry, scheduled for delivery in spring.

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