Harley Marine Christens New Tug


September 2013


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Seafarers on the West Coast are sailing aboard Harley Marine’s newest z-drive tractor tugboat: the MV Ahbra Franco, christened Aug. 15 in Alameda, Calif.


Six weeks earlier, the company added a sister tug, the MV Robert Franco. Each of the new boats is 100 feet long and 40 feet wide; they’re performing ship assistance and tanker escort duties in Los Angeles and Long Beach.


SIU Vice President West Coast Nick Marrone and Assistant Vice President Nick Celona represented the union at the Ahbra Franco ceremony.


“This is truly a state-of-the-art tugboat, as is the Robert Franco,” Marrone stated. “New tonnage is always great news for SIU members and that’s certainly the case here.”


Both tugs – named after Harley Marine CEO and Chairman Harley Franco’s children – were constructed at Nichols Brothers Boat Builders in Freeland, Wash.


Harley Franco said the new builds “symbolize Harley Marine Services’ dedication to the safety of our employees, protection of the environment, and to providing the most advanced, dependable, and committed service to all of our customers.”


The boats are almost identical; the lone mechanical difference is the Ahbra Franco has continuous horsepower Caterpillar Tier 3 engines while the Robert Franco has intermittent horsepower Caterpillar Tier 3 engines.


According to the company, both vessels “were built with the most technically and environmentally advanced equipment available.” They feature cold ironing/shore power capabilities and are equipped with 6,800 horsepower while providing 91 tons of bollard pull. Harley Marine said the new boats are believed to be the most powerful ones to ever provide ship assist services in Los Angeles and Long Beach.


“With the growing size of container ships (14,000 TEU) and tankers over 300,000 DWTs calling on these ports, Harley Marine Services is committed to building higher-horsepower tugs in order to accommodate them,” the company said in a news release. “Tugs like the Robert Franco and Ahbra Franco will provide these larger ships with safe navigation in the Lost Angeles/Long Beach harbors, as well as emergency towing services off-shore.”


Both tugs also are equipped with state-of-the-art Mackay marine electronics, Markey tow winches, and fire fighting and safety equipment.



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