US-based Foss Maritime will build three Arctic class tugs to tap opportunities in the oil and gas sector.
The new vessels are designed to withstand the harsh environments of Arctic operations and will allow the company to compete for opportunities in the oil and gas industry.
Construction on the first tug is scheduled to commence in early 2013 at the company’s shipyard in Rainier, Oregon, US.
Foss president and COO Gary Faber said that the vessels will be built using the latest advances in technology and equipment.
"We want to increase efficiency, improve safety and performance, and reduce environmental impact," Faber said. "These concerns are paramount to our customers, our stakeholders and our crews involved in offshore drilling and other project work in extreme environments."
The new tugs will be ice-classed, capable of achieving more than 100t of bollard pull and will likely be used to tow barges with oil field modules, rig topsides and other types of equipment.
Design work of the tugs is expected to be completed by the end of 2012 and they will be equipped with Caterpillar C280-8 main engines.
In addition to the low-emission Caterpillar engines, the vessels will also include several environmentally focused designs and technological upgrades, including the elimination of ballast tanks so that no invasive species can be transported.
The vessels will also feature hydraulic oil systems compatible with biodegradable oil, energy efficient LED lighting and energy absorbing Schuyler fendering.
Foss said that the new tugs will meet American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) A1, American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) Ice Class, International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and Green Passport requirements.
ABS A1 requirements include standards for hulls, machinery, towing, anchors and cable, whereas SOLAS requires that the tugs should have on-board rescue boat and davit while Green Passport requires an inventory of shipboard hazardous materials to help ensure safe decommissioning.
Foss currently has five vessels deployed on an Arctic offshore exploration project in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas.
Foss Maritime said that in the coming years, several oil and gas customers are expected to undertake similar projects in the region and the company will provide services and support with tugs, landing craft, crew boats and barges.