Foss christens first of three Arctic Class tugs

Written by Nick Blenkey
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APRIL 13, 2015 — The first of three Arctic Class tugs being built at the  Foss Rainier, OR, Shipyard was christened Thursday, April 9, at the Foss Waterway Seaport in Tacoma, WA. The vessel, the Michele Foss, will see its first assignment on an oil field sealift this summer from South Korea to the Alaskan Arctic.

With an overall length of 130 ft and beam of 41 ft, the tug has been designed to withstand the rigors of Arctic operations and is suited to work across the globe as Foss competes for opportunities in the oil and gas industry.

The Michele Foss is ice class D0. This means the hull is designed specifically for polar waters and reinforced to maneuver in ice. The vessel complies with the requirements in the ABS Guide for Building and Classing Vessels Intended to Operate in Polar Waters, including ABS A1 standards, SOLAS and Green Passport. 

The vessel’s Caterpillar C280-8 main engine complies with the highest federal environmental standards. Other equipment includes a Nautican propulsion system, two Reintjes WAF 3455 reduction gears with a reduction ratio of 5.524:1, supplied by Karl Senner, LLC, Kenner, LA, and a Markey Machinery tow winch. Bollard pull is 221,000 pounds.

Environmentally focused features and structural and technological upgrades include:

  • Elimination of ballast tanks, so there is no chance of transporting invasive species;
  • Holding tanks for black and gray water to permit operations in no-discharge zones (such as parts of Alaska and California);
  • Hydraulic oil systems compatible with biodegradable oil;
  • Energy efficient LED lighting; and
  • High-energy absorption Schuyler fendering. 

In his opening remarks at the christening ceremony, Mike Magill, Vice President of Foss’ Technical Services, praised the hardworking men and women who constructed the vessel.   

“As we know, a construction project of this magnitude requires significant teamwork to accomplish,” he said. “Engineers, craftsmen, purchasing and logistics experts, to name a few, have gone beyond the call of duty to deliver this vessel safely, on time and on budget.” 

Ken Hawkins, Executive Director of the Mission to Seafarers – Seattle, delivered the invocation to bless the vessel. The ceremonial bottle of champagne was broken by the vessel’s namesake, Michele Seaver, one of the three sisters who are primary shareholders of Saltchuk, the parent company of Foss Maritime.

Mike Garvey, Ms. Seaver’s father and a founding shareholder of Saltchuk, said he hoped the vessel would share some of his daughter’s finest qualities: an adventurous spirit, a commitment to working hard, and a passion for being the best at what she does.

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