Vane Brothers is hailing the newest addition to its fleet: the Fort McHenry, a state-of-the-art, 3,000-horsepower tugboat named in honor of the historic landmark that can be seen from the company’s Baltimore, Maryland, headquarters.
Designed by Frank Basile, P.E., of Entech Designs, LLC, the Fort McHenry is the most recent of 12 “Sassafras Class” tugboats delivered to Vane since 2008 by Chesapeake Shipbuilding of Salisbury, Maryland. Measuring 94 feet long and 32 feet wide with a hull depth of 13 feet, the Fort McHenry is similar in most respects to the previous 11 hard-working tugboats built for Vane as part of the Chesapeake contract. The vessel is equipped with twin Caterpillar 3512 Tier 3 main engines and operates with a Jon-Rie Series “500” hydraulic towing winch. "Soft-core" panels, heavy, fire-rated doors and top-line accoutrements are used throughout, offering the crew a quieter, safer and more comfortable living environment. State-of-the-art componentry is at the captain’s fingertips in the wheelhouse, which features mostly wooden accents for a more traditional look.
During the Fort McHenry’s first appearance in Baltimore earlier this month, she flew an early-1800s-era American flag
adorned with 15 broad stripes and bright stars as a tribute to the standard that was raised over Fort McHenry during the War of 1812. Now a well-visited national monument and historic shrine, Fort McHenry is considered the birthplace of America’s National Anthem because it was while witnessing a British navy bombardment
of the fort in September 1814 that a Maryland attorney named Francis Scott Key was inspired to write the “Star-Spangled Banner.”
The tugboat Fort McHenry, one of nearly 150 vessels currently operating out of seven Vane Brothers locations along the U.S. East Coast, has joined the company’s New York-based Alpha Fleet
and is primarily tasked with towing petroleum barges engaged in the North Atlantic coastwise trade.
Meanwhile, another new addition, the Double Skin 317 bunker barge, is now part of Vane’s Echo Fleet, working out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The DS-317 is the last in a series of seven 35,000-barrel bunker barges to be delivered by Conrad Shipyard’s Orange, Texas, operation.