Foss Christens Third and Final Arctic-Class Tugs

Nicole Foss. Photo: Foss Maritime

Seattle-based Foss Maritime has christened the last of three Arctic Class tugs, the Nicole Foss, at the Foss Waterway Seaport in Tacoma, Washington.

Built at the Foss Rainier Shipyard in Oregon, the Nicole Foss has a bollard pull of 221,000 pounds and is designed to operate in the extreme conditions of the far north, where she will enter service this summer.

The Nicole Foss is ice class, meaning the hulls are designed specifically for polar waters and are reinforced to maneuver in ice. The first of the three Arctic tugs, Michele Foss, debuted in 2015, and in her first operated in first-year ice a meter thick along Alaska’s the North Slope. The second tug, Denise Foss, was christened in June 2016 and also spent her first year along Alaska’s North Slope, where she will return this summer.

The Nicole Foss complies with the requirements in the ABS Guide for Building and Classing Vessels Intended to Operate in Polar Waters, including ABS A1 standards, SOLAS and Green Passport. The tug features two environmentally responsible Caterpillar C280-8 main engines; a Nautican nozzle and rudder system to provide superior bollard pull and maneuverability; and Reintjes reduction gears. Markey Machinery supplied the tow winch.

The Nicole Foss also incorporates several environmentally focused designs and structural and technological upgrades, including the elimination of ballast tanks so there is no chance of transporting invasive species. The vessel also features holding tanks for black and gray water, hydraulic oil systems compatible with biodegradable oil, energy efficient LED lighting, and high-energy absorption Schuyler fendering.

The Nicole Foss has been designed to withstand Arctic operations and is suited to work across the globe as Foss competes for opportunities in the oil and gas industry.

Foss President and CEO John Parrott made opening remarks during Nicole Foss’s christening last week, praising the hard work and dedication of the people, designers, and customers who worked on the project. He spoke of the service of the first Arctic tugs and the vessels to come.

Scott Merritt, Chief Operating Officer of Foss also spoke at the ceremony, praising the team at the Rainier Shipyard. “As I looked back, I realized that this was hull number 22,” said Merritt. “It made me think of what has been accomplished at the Rainier Shipyard and the care that goes into each and every vessel. The craftsman of the men and women at Rainier rivals the best yards in the world, and these vessels reflect their desire to provide a world-class product to the mariners that will sail on them. The Nicole Foss is truly a job well done.”

Nicole Engle, the vessel’s namesake and one of three sisters who are primary shareholders of Saltchuk, the parent company of Foss Maritime, spoke of one of Saltchuk’s core values to reinvest in the family of companies, “seeing this promise become a reality with the three Arctic tugs is truly amazing.”