Category Archives: Commercial boats

Fred Wahl’s Second Yukon River Tug

The shallow-draft push-tug Tenana is the second boat built by Fred Wahl for Ruby Marine, which was established by Matt Sweetsir and Amy Zacheis in 2006 in Nenana, Alaska to provide fuel and freight transportation service along the Yukon River. … Continue reading

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Death of the Antarctic Ship Hero

How a Notable  Vessel Met Its End on Willapa Bay Fifty years ago, the 125′ X 30′ expedition ship Hero was taking shape at the Harvey Gamage Boatyard in Maine. Designed by Potter & M’Arthur, Inc., naval architects of Boston, … Continue reading

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508′ Liquid Ammonia Tank Barge from Vigor

Vigor, the Pacific Northwest’s biggest shipbuilder, has launched the Harvest, the first liquefied ammonia barge built in the U.S. since 1982. It was built for the Mosaic Co. of Minnesota, a leading producer of concentrated phosphate and potash fertilizers, and … Continue reading

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Caden Foss: 110′ Multi-Purpose Tier 4 Tug

The Pacific Northwest has been at the forefront of North American tug design since the 1980’s, and has brought many innovations to both ship-handling and long-haul tugs. Over the years, a handful of boats have attempted to combine both these … Continue reading

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2007: Heart Transplant–Caterpillar Re-Powers Corps of Engineers Dredge Essayons

A story I wrote in 2007 for Diesel Progress magazine became an official Caterpillar press release titled Eight Cat® engines re-power the dredge “Essayons,” providing more power, improved efficiency, and emissions compliance for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. (Needless … Continue reading

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2017: Old Astoria Pilot Boat Arrow 2 Returns

The pilot boat Arrow 2 disappeared from the Astoria waterfront in 2012 and has been greatly missed by the seamen who admired its unique traditional hull shape and general low-tech appearance. There was much speculation about its final disposition: would … Continue reading

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WW II: Astoria’s Epic Minesweeper Years

Astoria Shipyard’s Minesweeper (YMS) Production Remembered The 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor last December gives us a chance to review the incredible history of the “war at home” in Astoria—a time when thousands of ordinary women performed … Continue reading

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The Flettner Rotor Makes a Comeback!

The new hybrid ship designs were pioneered in Scandinavia where ecological hydro-power has long been the standard for utilities. The public demand for more clean power use has led to the introduction of hybrid propulsion in several new ferries and … Continue reading

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140′ MV Manu’Atele–a Versatile Ferry for American Samoa

Nichols Brothers Boatbuilders of Whidbey Island, Wash. was contracted by the Government of American Samoa to build the MV Manu’Atele, a 140′ multi-purpose inter-island ferry to operate between the capital Pago Pago and the Manu’a Islands. “We have visited American … Continue reading

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2015: Western Towboat Builds Seventh Titan-Class Tug

When Western Towboat of Seattle started building its first Titan ASD long-haul tug at their base on the Seattle Ship Canal in 1995, owners Ric and Bob Shrewsbury were simply responding to the growth of barge service to SE Alaska. … Continue reading

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