In the early 1900s, The Great Lakes Towing Company’s tugs were known as the “Workhorses of the Great Lakes.” Today, the company operates the largest U.S.-flag tugboat fleet on the Great Lakes, providing harbor assist and towing services to vessels in more than 40 ports. With the launch of its new 2,000-hp tug Cleveland, Great Lakes Towing is moving to the future.
Construction of the Cleveland marks a series of firsts for The Great Lakes Towing Company. Designed by Damen Shipyards Group of the Netherlands, the Cleveland is the first U.S.-flag tug built to meet the USCG’s new Subchapter M regulations, which impose inspection standards for seaworthiness and safety for U.S. towing vessels.
The Cleveland is the first of ten Damen Stan Tugs 1907 ICE to be built for Great Lakes Towing. The other nine will be based on the same design and specifications. The design was selected based on Damen’s reputation for quality and from fact-finding visits to Damen. While nearly 100 Stan Tug 1907 ICEs currently operate all over the world, the Damen tugs are the first under license in the United States.
The new construction program embodies Great Lakes Towing’s innovative spirit. “We continuously strive to improve the quality and safety of our products and services, and how well they are delivered to our customers,” says Joe Starck, president. “As leaders in the industry, we believe we have an obligation to make sure our customers receive the best service possible.”
Measuring 65 feet long with a 24-foot beam and 11-foot draft, the tug’s compact design, low profile and high maneuverability make it ideal for navigating the low bridges and winding Cuyahoga River that empties into Lake Erie at the port of Cleveland. Its ice-breaking capability is also vital on the Great Lakes where many harbors freeze over in the winter. To generate the exceptional power needed to handle massive Great Lakes freighters, Great Lakes Shipyard partnered with W.W.Williams, the local authorized MTU distributor, to equip the Cleveland with two MTU 8V 4000 M54R engines, each delivering 1,000 hp at 1,600 rpm. Overall, the vessel can produce 2,000 hp and 60,000 pounds of thrust. In addition, it is equipped with the MTU Blue Vision New Generation automation system for monitoring and control.
The Cleveland was launched at company affiliate Great Lakes Shipyard in Cleveland on May 25 and the yard delivered the tug to Great Lakes Towing on June 30. After two weeks of familiarization and training exercises, it made its first ship assist on July 17 for the bulk carrier Federal Saguenay for Montreal-based Fednav, Canada’s largest oceangoing dry-bulk shipping company. The vessel was christened by the Company’s longtime Executive Secretary, Carolyn Oros, on August 1st.
As each new tug is introduced into Great Lakes Towing’s fleet, two existing tugs will be retired from service. These ten new tugs will stabilize operations, reduce our carbon footprint and improve day-to-day business. The updated fleet, with modern equipment and automated machinery onboard, will provide customers with an even greater level of reliability, performance and safety, across the entire Great Lakes service network.