For most tugboat companies, building one new azimuthing stern drive (ASD) tugboat would make for a pretty good year. McAllister Transportation and Towing added two within just eight months.
The 6,772-hp Capt. Jim McAllister left Eastern Shipbuilding in late August 2019, arriving soon afterward in Charleston, S.C. The 100-foot vessel routinely escorts and assists post-Panamax containerships calling on the sprawling Wando Welch Terminal across the Cooper River in Mt. Pleasant, S.C.
Eileen McAllister, a 93-foot, 6,772-hp, ship docking and escort tugboat built at Washburn & Doughty, provides similar services in Port Everglades, Fla. McAllister paired Eileen with Tate McAllister, built six years ago with the same hull but different propulsion and winch packages.
Both new tugs are powered by brawny Caterpillar 3516 Tier 4 engines paired with Schottel z-drives. Capt. Jim delivers 82.5 metric tons of bollard pull, which is roughly equal to the 93 short tons Eileen generates. Both are the most powerful ship-assist tugboats working in their respective ports.
“In the past, we have seen up to 1,000-foot containerships,” said Capt. Chuck Runnion, McAllister’s general manager and vice president in Port Everglades. “And with the Eileen we are handling these 1,000-footers with the greatest of ease.”
McAllister’s tugboat crews in Charleston are similarly upbeat about Capt. Jim. It is the final tugboat in a four-vessel order, and the only one of the bunch to leave the shipyard with a Coast Guard certificate of inspection under Subchapter M.
“It’s hard to impress me at this point, but that boat floored me,” said Capt. Steve Kicklighter, a McAllister vice president and Charleston general manager. “It has the most environmentally friendly diesel engines, and the accommodations spaces for the crew are unsurpassed.”
“Without a doubt,” he added, “this is the best of all four.”
McAllister announced the four-tug series of ship assist and escort tugs in early 2016, becoming one of the first operators with a multi-boat Tier 4 order. Horizon Shipbuilding won the contract and built the lead boat, Capt. Brian A. McAllister, before running into financial trouble and ultimately declaring bankruptcy in late 2017.
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