1,200BHP Twin Screw Tug "Nancy M" Sold

As the 1,499th sale or charter concluded over the last 39 years, Marcon International of Coupeville, Washington brokered the sale of the U.S. flag, twin screw tug “Nancy M” from Manson Construction Co. of Seattle, Washington. The “Nancy M” was originally built in 1970 at Albina Engine & Machine Works, Inc. in Portland, Oregon as the “Shelly Foss” (Hull 418) for Foss Maritime Company. The 90.0’ x 30.0’ x 14.2’ depth / 14’ draft tug was designed and built to take over as the prime ship-assist tug in Seattle, Washington, relieving the 1,200HP sister-tugs “Carol Foss” and “Shannon Foss” as ship tonnage and arrivals and departures increased to where a more powerful tug was needed. Two distinctive features at the time, now common, was the design of the pilothouse window glass slanted inwards to minimize glare and viewing ports in the pilothouse “eyebrow” to better see tie-up lines and movement of the ships being maneuvered in and out of docks. The fifty-year old tug is powered by twin CAT D399TAs developing a total of 2,250BHP at 1,225RPM, Lufkin RLS 4218 5.526:1 gears and 84.5” 4-blade fixed pitch props on 8.5” diameter shafts in steering Kort nozzles. These were the days before azimuthing stern drive shipdocking tugs and Voith Schneider tractor tugs were in regular use. Owners reported that the Kort nozzles increased her actual bollard pull by about forty percent over a conventional open wheel installation, and the props being trainable 25 degrees each side increased the tug’s maneuverability. Her bow and stern line winches were custom designed for more efficient line-handling, as both winches were controlled from the main console in the pilothouse alongside the main engine controls.

“Shelly” was an immediate success and called the “Queen of Harbor Tugs” by ship owners, agents and pilots. Reportedly the usual working of a request by ship’s agents for assist tugs was, “We need two tugs to help our ship into dock; unless the ‘Shelly’ is assigned, then one tug will do.” Reportedly “Shelly” docked and undocked nearly 12,000 ships, with a total tonnage of nearly 168 million tons, not including the Navy ships at Bremerton, where the tug’s assistance was asked for on all major vessel shifts including large aircraft carriers moving in and out of the Navy Yard. Usually the “Shelly” (pictured right, tucked in under the port side of the USS “Constellation”) was accompanied by five Navy tugs when assisting these mammoth ships. Another heavyweight job occurred 1984 when the Voith Schneider tractor tugs “Andrew Foss”, “Arthur Foss” and “Shelly Foss” assisted in moving the battle ship “Missouri”, famous for signing of the Japanese peace treaty ending the hostilities of World War II. The navy ordered the ship moved from Bremerton, Washington to Long Beach, California for reactivation and Foss was awarded the job of towing her from Bremerton to the Straits of Juan de Fuca where a navy tug took over the ocean tow.

As the “Missouri” was a dead ship, the “Arthur” and “Andrew” pushed full thrust on the port and starboard quarters and the “Shelly” towed from out ahead. The 45,000-ton “Missouri” with the tugs doing the steering, came around the dogleg turn in narrow Rich Passage near Bremerton under perfect control and headed for the open water of Puget Sound. Without the “Missouri’s” 180,000HP, the tugs were able to tow at five knots. With the weather cooperating, the trip was made in 12 hours and shortly after daylight the navy’s ocean-going tug took over from Foss’s tugs. With a replacement cost of about US$800,000,000, the “Missouri” held the highest value of any Foss tow in the company’s history.

“Shelly Foss” was rebuilt in 1993 with a new house, stern, etc. and continued working for Foss until 2009 when sold to Manson Construction of Seattle. Manson is a major construction and dredging company regularly involved in building federal facilities and ports-of-call, ferry & cruise terminals, bridges, outfalls & pipelines, wharves and piers. They modified the tug with tall push knees to shift and provide support to their fleet of derrick barges. Towing gear consists of a single drum Foss built tow winch aft, push knees and two 20T hydraulic bow winches with fairleads forward for use in the pushing mode. Ship’s power is provided by 115kW / CAT D3304 and 50kW 208/120VAC generators. Accommodations are provided for five crew. Although fifty years old this year, the “Nancy M” was still working and in good condition overall, with new Kort nozzles installed in 2018, and a fresh U.S. Coast Guard Subchapter “M” Inspection at the time of sale. Marcon acted as sole broker in the transaction and has represented both parties in previous sales and purchases. This has been the 363rd tug totaling 1,165,787HP brokered for sale or charter by Marcon.  [Tug history thanks to book “Foss: Ninety Years of Towboating” by Michael Skalley (1981)].

Commercial Marine Brokers since 1981