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Old 04-25-2010, 12:19 PM
Ted Davisson Ted Davisson is offline
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: I presenbtly live in Covington , LA.
Posts: 673
Default " Tractor " Tugs On The River !

Greetings From New Orleans ,
Over the past few years " Tractor " Tugs have come to the Greater New Orleans area on the river and they have surely but slowly made their presense known . Over my thirty years of piloting ships on the Mississippi River between New Orelans and Baton Rouge I have witnessed the very slow but dramatic evolution of the " Ship Assist Tug " industry on the Lower Mississippi River . From the time of my Pilot Apprenticeship in 1979 , I have seen the four predominent tug companies ( E.N. Bisso , Willie Bisso , Cresecent Salvage & Towing , and RIVCO , now Moran ) progress from 800 hp & single screw steam & diesel tugs to the present day 4,000 hp double and tripple screw convention tugs . Now , I am also witnessing the arrival of the
modern day " Tractor Tug " here on the Lower Mississippi River .
The term " TractorTug " is a rather generic term for any one of a number of non conventional propulsion and steering systems that are on the last generation of tug boats . Basically , the new " Tractor Tugs " are equiped with twin azi pods located not at the stern of the tug but near the stern of the tug . The azi pods rotate 360 degrees and give the tugs incredible power and maneuveribility ! For example , in a high water situation , with a strong current , the " Tractor Tug " can easily back out on its line at a 90 degree angle to the ship and thus do a more efficient job of turning a ship regardless if the ship is headed down or headed up .
The new " Tractor Tugs " are also more comfortable for the crews of these vessels and also provide a safer working environment for them as well !
The only drawback that I see with the new " Tractor Tugs " is that they are deeper in the water and because they are so efficient and maneuverable , I feel that a certain skill level with the role of the Pilot will be lost !
Smooth Sailing !
Ted Davisson
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