“We replaced about 50-feet of bulwark around the stern on each side on the Seaspan Cutlass,” Shore Mechanic Kevin Tweedy said, “The old bulwarks were banged up and this makes the boat look better to our customers but more importantly it gives the crews pride in their vessel.”
A steel boat can continue to serve for many years if properly maintained. Seaspan Marine is the largest towing company on the British Columbia coast. Utilizing the services of their sister companies Vancouver Drydock, Vancouver Shipyard and Victoria Shipyards, they do much of their own repair and maintenance work. The upgrade and maintenance of the 25.24 by 7.56-meter (82.8 x 24.8) Seaspan Cutlass was done at Seaspan’s Vancouver Shipyard, which was the yard that built the tug and her sisters, including the Seaspan Cavalier in 1975.
Both tugs have received similar upgrades. They include new MSD Sewage treatment systems, the abatement and removal of old lead-containing paint, and overhaul of the Coast Marine tow pins. Additional steel was replaced on the stern deck and around the bow in the area of the forepeak chain locker. Shafts and rudders were pulled and their bearings serviced. The fresh water tanks were cleaned and re-cemented. Kevin Tweedy, who served as owner’s rep, worked with shipyard project manager Tom Smith.
Pride and quality hold an important place in the Seaspan Marine philosophy and it is reflected on the Seaspan Cutlass in the decision to replace, like-for-like, the 850 HP Cummins KTA38 main engines during the over-haul. Tweedy stressed that the 10-year old KTA38s were a “running take-out.” In spite of having logged 47,025 hours, they were running well when the tug came in for the refit. The nozzled three-blade 79 x 75-inch props and massive Lufkin gears were retained. The engines were replaced via a hole cut in the side shell of the hull just as they had been installed a decade earlier. This efficient method of engine change kept the hours to about 20% of the total. The controls were upgraded from manual to electronic and a Maretron fuel monitor was added in recognition of the change in fuel costs over the past 10 years.
Following sea trials in late July, the 1,700-HP Seaspan Cutlass returned to work with a 21-ton bollard pull towing 208 by 50-foot 2,500-ton wood chip scows in tandem and triple, rail, rock and oil barges along the BC coast. The tug is fitted with a Burrard Iron Works Towing winch carrying 548.6-meters (1,800 feet) of wire.
Seaspan has four sets of Cummins engines currently operating in their fleet. Their first experience with the KTA38s was in the Seaspan Venture and Seaspan Tempest launched in 2003. Currently on their second set of engines both vessels had almost 40,000 hours on their original KTA38s prior to repowering.