VESSEL REFIT | Delores – Repowered tug to take on bridge maintenance in San Francisco Bay Area

Photo: Ron Greger via Alan Haig-Brown
Photo: Ron Greger via Alan Haig-Brown

The San Francisco Bay area is one of the world's finest ports. Ships from around the world enter the Bay under the Golden Gate Bridge. Depending on their destination, they are likely to pass under at least one more of the bay's eight toll bridges. Not only do the bridges help locals and visitors get to the other side of the bay, but they also allow multiple ships to pass daily to piers throughout the bay.

These bridges are an invaluable infrastructure that makes commerce possible, but they need regular maintenance to do their work over the years. Several firms in the Bay Area have developed the expertise and the equipment to get this work done. With a multi-generational history in the Bay, Captain Ron Greger has assembled a functional collection of specialised equipment in this role.

<em>Photo: Ron Greger via Alan Haig-Brown</em>
Photo: Ron Greger via Alan Haig-Brown

Golden State Bridge is a bridge building and maintenance contractor headquartered in Benicia, California, with Mr Dave Riccitiello as president. Riccitiello approached Ron Greger, owner and operator of a number of vessels in the Bay Area, to develop an additional hull for the bridge maintenance business. The San Francisco maritime community is built on developed relationships. Riccitello and Greger have been doing business since 1998, when Golden State Bridge chartered Greger's first tug, the ex-Crowley Trojan.

<em>The new Cummins X15 engines in</em> Delores<em>' engine room (Photo: Ron Greger via Alan Haig-Brown)</em>
The new Cummins X15 engines in Delores' engine room (Photo: Ron Greger via Alan Haig-Brown)

In their latest cooperation, Greger's firm gave one of his support tugs an extensive rebuild. The 50- by 15-foot (15.24- by 4.5-metre) Delores, with a shallow, five-foot (1.5-metre) draft, had originally been hull built by Greger in 2015. Now he installed a pair of keel-cooled, six-cylinder, Cummins EPA Tier III X15 engines each producing 450 hp (335 kW) continuous duty at 1,800 rpm. Fitted with Vulkan couplings, the engines turn five- by 180-inch (0.12- by 4.5-metre) shafts through ZF 350-1 (W350) gears with 4:1 reduction. The four-blade props measure 40 by 40 inches (1,016 by 1,016 mm).

Greger also added a Northern Lights 25kW generator set. Above the deck is a functional deck house with a basic galley and storage. An elevated wheelhouse was added to provide good operator visibility over the push knees. Most of the boat's work will involve the push knees forward with Patterson deck winches. An additional H-bitt is mounted on the aft deck.

With Delores outfitted and inspected by the US Coast Guard and issued a certificate of inspection and freshly painted, she went right to work for Riccitello's Golden State Bridge, a company doing maintenance repairs on the San Mateo Bridge. Opened in 1967, the 36,960-foot (11,265-metre) bridge connects the San Francisco Peninsula on the west to the mainland to the east. The highest span provides 134.5 feet (40.9 metres) of air draught.

<em>Photo: Ron Greger via Alan Haig-Brown</em>
Photo: Ron Greger via Alan Haig-Brown
Type of vessel:Bridge maintenance tug
Classification:US Coast Guard
Owner:Golden State Bridge, USA
Builder:Ron Greger, USA
Length overall:50 feet (15.24 metres)
Beam:15 feet (4.5 metres)
Main engines:2 x Cummins X15, each 450 hp (335 kW) at 1,800 rpm
Gearboxes:2 x ZF
Propulsion:2 x propellers
Generator:Northern Lights, 25 kW
Winches:Patterson Manufacturing
Accommodation:Galley; storage
Operational area:San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA

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