VESSEL REVIEW | Mark E. Kuebler – First of new US-built tug series impresses with serious power

Gulf Island Shipyards has completed the first in a series of ten tugs to a new design from Robert Allan Ltd, five of which were ordered by Bay Houston Towing Company through its operator G&H Towing Company in Galveston, Texas.

Mark E. Kuebler evolved from a previous tug design for the same owner. A main feature of this latest design is the incorporation of Robert Allan Ltd’s unique sponsoned hull form into the series predecessor’s design.

Computer simulations conducted by Robert Allan Ltd’s in-house CFD team indicated that escort performance of the new tug would be significantly increased by generating more than 100 tonnes of steering force at 10 knots, particularly important for escorting large vessels.

Mark E. Kuebler has an overall length of 98’6” (30.0 metres), a moulded beam of 42’8” (13.0 metres), and a moulded depth of 16’5” (5.0 metres).

The tugs were designed and constructed to comply with all applicable rules and regulations of ABS +A1 Towing Service, +AMS, Escort Service, Fire Fighting Vessel Class 1, and all applicable US Coast Guard regulations.

The customised general layout of the tug represents more than a decade of cooperation by Robert Allan Ltd naval architects and the owners. The master and chief engineer’s cabin along with galley and mess are located on the main deck while two cabins for four crew members are located on the lower deck.

Main propulsion for the tug comprises a pair of Caterpillar 3516E, EPA Tier 4 certified diesel engines, each rated 3,386 bHP (2,525 kW) at 1,800 rpm, and driving a Schottel SRP 510FP Z-drive unit with Ø2800 propeller. The tug is fitted with a Fire Fighting 1 system with two FFS 6200 gpm pumps driven by two Caterpillar C18 engines respectively.

The electrical plant consists of two identical John Deere 6068AFM85 diesel gen-sets, each with a power output of 125 eKw 480V, 3-Ph, 60 Hz.

Mark E. Kuebler carries 42,620 gallons (161 m3) of fuel oil and 6,700 gallons (25 m3) of potable water. Sea trial results showed the tug met all requirements to the design, with a bollard pull ahead of 81.5 tonnes and free running speed ahead of 13 knots.

Ship-handling fenders at the bow consist of one tier of 36” OD by 18” ID cylindrical fender at the main deck level, with 16” thick double loop soft fenders between the main deck and the knuckle at bow and along the sheer lines of the main deck. 16” OD by 8” ID cylindrical fendering is used at the stern.


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Mark E. Kuebler
Type of vessel:Escort tug
Classification:+A1 Towing Service, +AMS, Escort Service, Fire Fighting Vessel Class 1
Owner:Bay Houston Towing Company, USA
Operator:G&H Towing Company, USA
Builder:Gulf Island Shipyards, USA
Designer:Robert Allan Ltd, Canada
Length overall:98’6″ (30.0 metres)
Moulded beam:42’8″ (13.0 metres)
Moulded depth:16’5″ (5.0 metres).
Gross tonnage:411 (ITC); 297 (US regulatory)
Main engines:2 x Caterpillar 3516E, each 3,386 bHP (2,525 kW) at 1,800 rpm
Propulsion:2 x Schottel SRP 510FP Z-drive unit with 2,800mm propeller
Gensets:2 x John Deere 6068AFM85, each 125 eKw 480V, 3-Ph, 60 Hz
Bollard pull, ahead:81.5 tonnes
Free running speed, ahead:13 knots
Fuel oil:42,620 gallons (161 m3)
Potable water:6,700 gallons (25 m3)
FiFi:FiFi1 system with two FFS 6,200 gpm pumps driven by Caterpillar C18

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