Handy sized tractor tug built for Vancouver Island

Jones Marine Group’s new tractor tug David J is an AG McIlwain-designed 16-metre long, 8.0-metre beam handy-sized tractor tug with a hefty 4.2-metre moulded depth. The stocky vessel has been designed to remain stable while working in tight spaces. David J was built by Sylte Marine of Maple Ridge for Jones Marine Group, of Chemainus.

Jones has built a successful company with a fleet of nine boats. Until now, all were conventional drives. One, the Helen J, has the same Cummins KTA38 engines as the David J, but with an 633kW rating and conventional drives. It is also a McIlwain/Sylte tug. The Jones firm handles all the ship docking for Chemainus, Crofton and Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. “The ships are getting bigger,” explained company president, Daryl Jones, adding that, “the pilots are accustomed to having Z-drives in Vancouver.” He expects that the new tug will be able to handle most ships, especially those with bow thrusters, on its own.

The compact tug packs significant power with a pair of IMO Tier II compliant, Cummins KTA38-M2 mains each delivering 890kW at 1800rpm through carbon-fibre shafts to a pair of Rolls-Royce Marine US155 P14 Z-drives, with fixed props in nozzles. The soft mounted engines and carbon-fibre shafts serve to isolate vibrations and noise from the tug’s hull.

The wheel house is further isolated on soft mount pedestals to provide improved crew comfort. The controls are mounted on two consoles port and starboard of the operator’s central position. An angled hatch set forward between the pedestals provides access to the large forecastle.

The starboard console includes the winch controls so that the mate/deckhand, in a two-person operation, can step into the wheelhouse from the foredeck and work the winch while in direct contact with the captain. An additional set of controls is mounted near the hawser winch. “I thought of putting a towing winch on it as well,” said Jones, whose firm also tows log booms, “but I decided that I didn’t want to put those Z-drives anywhere near logs. So it will be a dedicated ship hander.”

Like the rest of the Jones Marine fleet the David J will operate as a two-person day boat. A pair of crew boats, including a big RIB that cruises at 30 knots and can do 45 knots, provide quick crew changes when the boats are working.

Alex Baird

Alex Baird is the Managing Director of Baird Maritime