Veth Z-drives for new North Arm Transport tugs

When Canadian fuel distributor North Arm Transportation decided to order a new tug, it opted for a pair of Veth Z-drives.

The company is currently building an A.G. McIlwain designed 19.73-metre long by 8.2-metre tug at ABD Boats in North Vancouver, with an anticipated January 2021 launch. The vessel will be named North Arm Tempest.

The company fleet is focused on deliveries of fuel and heavy equipment to destinations up the British Columbia coast. As such, the decision partly reflected the need to safely manoeuvre barges in isolated ports.

Unlike the majority of tugs towing barges on the BC coast, which are fitted with conventional propellers in nozzles, the new North Arm tug is being fitted with a pair of Veth Z-drives. This will make the boat capable of assisting with ship handling, but importantly, it will also be able to more safely manoeuvre its own barges in isolated up-coast ports.

Gino Stradiotti explained, “We work in remote areas, without much access to assist boats. A lot is on the hip, taking the barge into the beach or bulkhead. Part of the thinking was to take a page from Bob and Russell Shrewsbury’s book at Western Towboat in Seattle where they use Z-drives for towing. They face similar challenges in Alaska albeit with a lot bigger tugs and barges. They were very generous with their operational thoughts.”

A split-drum, combination anchor and hawser winch by Burrard Iron Works, is mounted forward. While a single drum towing winch from Burrard is mounted on the aft deck. Both winches will operate on hydraulics off the two auxiliary engines. Towing pins were supplied by Western Machine Works.

Power for the two Veth drives will be a pair of Cummins KTA38-M main engines, each producing 1000 HP at 1800 RPM. The engines will drive the Z-drives through Vulkan torsional flexible couplings and composite shafts. Port and starboard drive units are housed in separate spaces accessed by a passageway aft of the engine room.

North Arm’s Fleet Supervisor Paul Kruse has had extensive experience with Cummins engines and, the KTA38 in particular, in the past with Vancouver-based Island Tug and Barge. He is a strong advocate and notes, that “These are mechanical engines, and have worked well in the Renegade. To address environmental and economic concerns we have fitted them with optional fuel monitors.”

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