New JV between Tug Construction and BP orders two tugs at Diversified

Written by Nick Blenkey
Tug Construction LLC tugboat

Earl W. Redd

Vancouver, Wash., based vessel leasing company Tug Construction LLC reports that it is teaming up with BP in a new joint venture to provide Jones Act operators with state-of-the-art, emission-compliant tugboats for bareboat charter.

The newly formed JV, Ursa Major Marine Holdings LLC, has acquired a tugboat from Tug Construction and has placed an order for two additional tugs from Portland, Ore. shipbuilder Diversified Marine Inc.

The tugboat it has acquired is the Earl W. Redd. built by Diversified Marine and delivered in 2017 as the first EPA Tier 4 tugboat in the United States.

Originally designed for towing oil barges to Alaska, the Earl W. Redd transitioned its mission in 2022 to support offshore wind projects while under charter to Foss Maritime Company.

The two new vessels ordered by Ursa Major are Robert Allan Ltd. designed RApport 2500 D ship assist tugs. They will be the sixth and seventh tugs of the same design built at Diversified Marine. They are under construction now and will be available for charter in 2025.

“I am thrilled to collaborate with such a reputable and forward-thinking partner as BP,” said Harley Franco, a key partner in both Tug Construction and Ursa Major. “ Construction has long been committed to raising the bar for tugboat performance, technology and sustainability in tugboats. Those values will remain foundational for Ursa Major. We are pleased to begin construction on the new tugs at Diversified Marine and look forward to seeing them in service.”

“This collaboration with BP and the formation of Ursa Major Marine Holdings reflects our commitment to being an industry leader. We look forward to providing operators with commercially viable options for high performance, safe and sustainable tugboats. We are excited about the future of Ursa Major and the positive impact it will have on the maritime sector,” said Kurt Redd, president of Tug Construction.

Frank Manning, president of Diversified Marine, said, “The RApport 2500 D series has been extremely successful on the West Coast. As a result of the RApport’s success, we have been able to standardize our build process, and our team has been putting out a great boat. We are excited for the projects and honored to see two more Diversified Marine built tugs joining Ursa Major’s charter fleet.”

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