Sause Brothers Towing Repowers Ocean Tug

Thursday, September 09, 2004
Based in Coos Bay Oregon, Sause Brothers Towing has been towing between Pacific Northwest and Southern Californian ports for over 50 years. In the past 30 years they have also become noted for their long ocean tows from the US west coast to Hawaii and beyond to the South Pacific. The family-owned company currently operates a fleet of 32 ocean and harbor tugs as well as 24 general cargo and oil barges.

A new double-hulled 105,000-barrel oil barge, Sunset Bay, is currently alongside at the company shipyard in Coos Bay. With the hull built at the Gunderson yard in Portland it is being outfitted by Sause.

Also at the yard, the ocean going tug Powhatan is undergoing an extensive repower that will see a pair of 850 HP engines replaced with a pair of Cummins KTA50 M2 mains each rated for 1500 HP at 1800 RPM. A new pair of Reintjes WAF772 marine gears with 7.45:1 ratios have also been installed in the 105x30-foot tug. The existing 9-inch diameter shafts were replaced with new shafts of the same diameter, while the stuffing boxes were eliminated in favor of a pair of Kobelco Eagle Marine water seals.

With the old engines, the boat had open wheels, with the new engines, modified Kort 19-A 92-inch nozzles and 91x89-inch four-blade skewed propellers from Sound Propeller in Seattle are being added. Quad rudders, two behind each prop, are being installed to improve maneuverability especially in tight island harbors.

Built in the 1970s at Halter Marine the Powhatan has, at 1700 HP, been relatively under powered. "The old engines were worn out," explains Mark Babcock, engineering general manager for Sause, "And at the old horsepower the boat was an under utilized asset. With the new 3000-horsepower we expect the utilization to increase by as much as 75 percent. The bollard pull will go from an estimated 40,000 pounds to around 100,000 pounds allowing it to tow larger barges at faster speeds."

The Powatan will initially be assigned to towing general cargo barges on the inter-island Hawaiian runs. While she would not have been considered for towing oil barges with her old power, that is now an option according to Babcock.

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