Great Lakes Towing (GLT) has unveiled its Tug Michigan vessel, the third of five tugboats constructed as part of the company’s fleet renewal programme.

Present at the christening was vessel sponsor Carolyn Watkins, the chief of Office of Environmental Education and administrator for Office of Environmental Education’s Diesel Reduction Programs.

Tug Michigan has been built by Great Lakes Shipyard. GLT received funding support for its fleet renewal programme through the EPA’s Diesel Emissions Reduction Grant programme.

Great Lakes Towing president Joe Starck said: “The new tugs demonstrate our commitment to the shipping industry on the Great Lakes and to our customers.

“It is our mission to provide the highest level of service to the vessels and companies we work for. The new tugs will allow us to continue to do just that, but even better, [they will be] cleaner, safer and even more dependable.”

The 64ft-long Damen 1907 ICE design harbour tugs are powered by two 1,000hp MTU 8V4000 Tier III diesel engines, along with the Logan FlexaDrive Hybrid power system.

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The new tugs are designed to navigate through the Great Lakes’ narrow waterways and low bridges, given their compactness and manoeuvrability.

The first two tugs in the series are named Cleveland and Ohio.

Construction of the fourth vessel Pennsylvania is expected to conclude later this year, while the currently unnamed fifth is yet is scheduled for completion in spring 2020.

The christening ceremony marked GLT’s 120th anniversary. The US company provides harbour assistance and towing services for domestic and foreign-flag vessels, operating in more than 40 US Great Lakes ports.

Starck added: “Through decades of changes, experiencing both the highs and lows, the company has endured and remained a critical link in the Great Lakes transportation system, and we have always tried to be an outstanding corporate citizen.

“We are proud to be celebrating 120 years and we look forward to many more!”