Pacific Tugboat Service, headquartered in San Diego has completed a total re-fit and repower of the former push tug American River. The boat was originally built at Colburg Shipyard in Napa, CA for Crowley Marine and was one of four that were built in the series. They were designed to be a multipurpose vessel, with shallow enough draft to work in the Delta, a model bow and tow winch for inland towing and occasional ship assist. In the 1980’s the boats were laid up for several years then auctioned off. Olin Jones Sand and Gravel bought the American River and used it to push the sand Dredge DS#10 between their Middle Ground sand lease and sand yard in Martinez CA. In 2003 Olin Jones was purchased by Hanson Aggregates and the Martinez yard was shut down shortly thereafter. This idled the boat and it was laid up. In 2012 the boat was sold to Lind Marine who held it in lay-up until Pacific Tugboat Service purchased her in 2016.
The boat was originally powered with Cat 379’s through fixed nozzles with a single main rudder and twin flanking rudders. It was later repowered by Olin Jones under the Carl Moyer program with Cat 3508’s in Nautican Nozzles with triple main rudders and double flanking rudders.
Pacific Tugboat Service removed the old upper wheelhouse and stripped everything in the tug down to the engine room frames. Superstructure interiors were also gutted and the entire steel exterior and interior was sandblasted and epoxy coated. Only the hull, main superstructure, shafts, props, nozzles and rudders remain original. A new aluminum wheelhouse was added and gives the Pacific Patriot an updated and capable look. From the wheelhouse down to the keel, every aspect of the boat has been modernized. The interior spaces are fresh and functional. The engine room is spacious, with easy access to perform maintenance on all systems. The forepeak is currently configured as open storage space and shop, but it can easily be reconfigured to additional berthing or lounge area if so desired.
Pacific Patriot is powered by new, twin Cummins QSK19 750HP Tier 3 engines through ZF1800 4.4:1 reduction gears, and 60” four blade stainless propellers inside Nautical Nozzles. The rudders are triple main and double flanking rudders. Total shaft horsepower is 1500 HP. Ship’s power and hydraulics is provided by John Deere 75KW and 100KW generators. The electronics suite includes Furuno Electronics. There is berthing for four in two staterooms on the second level. A small galley, crew lounge, head with shower and workstation occupy the main deck, aft of which is a room housing the electrical distribution panels and engine room access. The engine room is thoughtfully laid-out with plenty of light and air circulation. The forepeak is accessed by a passageway between the two main fuel tanks.
PTS Senior Engineer Peter Walding led the rebuild team effort with input from senior PTS Captains. PTS Senior electrical engineer Matt Scullard oversaw the design and installation of AC, DC, and electronics systems.
Handling barges is the Pacific Patriot’s specialty. Making the task easier are two Wintech 46 Ton facing wire winches with helm controls. The headline/anchor handling winch is a DP 60,000lb hydraulic winch. A bow roller is set into the bullnose. Tow winch area was redesigned and strengthened to accept a single drum tow winch to be added later this year.
Operating the Pacific Patriot proved to be a pleasure. The boat reacts as expected and does not balk at using full power or rudder combinations.
As the newest CARB Tier III vessel on the market in California, Pacific Patriot should be a popular vessel in the Southern California dredging and marine construction industry.
More can be learned about Pacific Patriot and Pacific Tugboat Service at www.pacifictugboats.com.