AmNav Maritime Services of San Francisco, Calif., is set to take delivery of the first in a new series of technologically advanced 5,000 to 7,000 hp Azmuthing Stern Drive (ASD) ship assist tugs to be built by Halter Marine, Inc. of Gulfport, Miss. Milt Merritt, President of AmNav said "This will be the first of a new class of ship assist boats." Merritt added, "the 'Enhanced ASD Thruster Tugs' design integrates a wide beam and forward skeg hull form, ASD propulsion units, high performance engines, remotely controlled winches and an automated wheelhouse command system to meet the challenging demands of efficient, safe, and environmentally responsible ship handling requirements of today's modern ports and terminal facilities. This newest generation of highly maneuverable thruster tugs, with their enhanced bollard pull capability, are uniquely outfitted to complement the professional abilities of the tug crews and respond to the growth in larger container, bulk and tank ships now being deployed in the Transpacific and West Coast trades." "The first 'Enhanced ASD Thruster Tug,' scheduled for delivery in May, 2001, will be 6,250 horse power with principle hull dimensions of 98 ft. in length, 40 ft. of beam, approximately 16 ft. of draft and a significant hull structure to accommodate the ship handling forces imposed by the hydrodynamic improvements to the vessel's underbody," explained Merritt. The propulsion driveline consists of the new, fuel efficient, electronically controlled Detroit 16V4000 main engines, which exceed the air quality standards for low emissions. Ulstein high performance series 2,000 H ASD units will be installed on the vessel with Nautican Hydrofoil Nozzles, stators and highly skewed propellers to increase the thrust per unit of horsepower. This propulsion system will develop in excess of 160,000 pounds of static bollard pull. The tug's 360° wheelhouse visibility, clear deck working area and automated deck machinery supports safe and rapid crew towline handling. A proven design Markey DYSS-48 bow hawser winch will use 7.25" Plasma Line with a breaking strength of more than one half million pounds. Off-ship fire fighting capability is included on the vessel to augment the shoreside fire protection needs of customers. Merritt added, "the 'Enhanced ASD Thruster Tug' design provides a technologically advanced vessel with significantly more performance capability, at a very competitive capital cost and with lowered operating expense, for the benefit of ship-docking customers. We received input from pilots, our customers, and our employees in setting the design parameters." This newest generation of harbor service vessels will be built for and owned by a newly-formed subsidiary of Saltchuk Resources, Inc. of Seattle, Washington and will be chartered to AmNav. Further deliveries of the "Enhanced ASD Thruster Tug" will be available to AmNav, as well as other related companies, including Foss Maritime Company, Seattle; Gulf Caribe Maritime, Mobile; and Hawaiian Tug & Barge, Honolulu.