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Z-Tech Tugs

This tug design boasts a number of firsts.  Bay Houston was the first to design and build a Z-Tech tug in the United States.  Additionally, it is the first North American tug installation of the high horsepower Caterpillar 3516C engine; and it marks the introduction of the Schottel Model SRP-1520 rudderpropeller. These vessels are 98.5 feet long, with a beam of 39.3 feet, a hull depth of 16.4 feet, and a maximum draft of 19.5 feet.

The vessel is powered by two of Caterpillar's innovative new 3516C high power engines, delivering 3150 horsepower each.  At 6300 hp, the tug is the most powerful docking tug on the Texas coast.  The vessel is designed to produce in excess of 75 metric tonnes of bollard pull. 

The tugs have two Caterpillar 3412 engines powering twin fire pumps each rated at 5300 gallons per minute for installations that require it, such as LNG terminals.  The vessels have water misting capabilities, and other requirements for Fire Fighting Class One (FiFi1) built in.

Tractor Tugs

Bay-Houston Towing Co. currently has two standard ASD (Azimuthing Stern Drive) “tractor” tugs.  The MATTHEW K was built in 2000 at Main Iron Works, Houma, LA.  The MATTHEW K was the first tractor tug in the State of Texas, and at that time was the most powerful harbor tug in the state.  The MATTHEW is powered by two EMD 12-645 E7 diesel engines, which generate a total of 4300 hp.  The engines are mated to twin Ulstein Model 1650 Z drives.  The MATTHEW is 96’ long by 38’ wide.  The additional beam provides an extra measure of stability, particularly in escort mode. 

In addition to the MATTHEW K, Bay-Houston has the JANET M and the WILLIAM M. The JANET M was built at Eastern Shipbuilding, Panama City, FL in 2001, and joined our fleet in 2004.  She is powered by two EMD 12-647 E7B engines providing 4600 hp.  Her drives are Schottel Model.  The JANET M was originally built for a contract for the U.S. Navy, and has advanced firefighting capabilities.  She can provide 3,000 gpm of water, and has a 1,500 gal foam capacity.  The JANET M was also the most powerful harbor tug in Texas when she joined the fleet.  Our Z-Tech class is now the most powerful tugs in our state.

The WILLIAM M joined our Corpus Christi fleet in 2005. This true tractor tug design has Ulstein drive units located forward.  These drives allow the twin EMD 16-645 engines to generate 110,000 pounds of  bollard pull both ahead and astern.  Her design speed is 12 kts. The WILLIAM M is 102’ long, has a beam of 37’, and a working draft of 17’. 

The WILLIAM M has considerable fire fighting capability.  It can pump 3500 gallons per minute through fore and aft fire fighting monitors.  This ability compliments the Port of Corpus Christi fireboat and helps to extend fire protection in the port to Ingleside, La Quinta, and Harbor Island.

Twin Screw Tugs

Bay-Houston Towing Co. has several classes of twin screw vessels.  All of our twin screw tugs are driven by two EMD 16-645 diesel engines, providing 3900 hp and have Reintjes reduction gears.  All our tugboats, with the exception of our single screw vessels, have Cort Nozzles around the propeller.  The Cort Nozzle focuses the propulsion, and provides considerably greater bollard pull than an open wheel. 

The most recently built are our twin screw, flanking rudder tugboats.  These were built at Main Iron Works, Houma, LA between 1990 and 1996.  The vessels not only have your standard steering rudders behind the wheels, but have two rudders in front of each propeller.  These forward rudders provide additional control when the tug is backing. 

Additionally, we have a series of twin screw boats built at Todd Shipyard in the late 1970s.  This class has consistently had the highest bollard pull of the tugs in our fleet.  For instance, the PHILIP K has a bollard pull of 127,300 pounds, the highest bollard pull in the fleet until the arrival of the Z-Techs.  The Todd boats are provided with 1,000 gpm fire pumps, and are fitted with foam capacity.

Single Screw Tugs

Bay-Houston Towing Co. has three tugboats with single screws and flanking rudders.  These boats were built in the early 1980s.  All three have been re-powered with EMD 16-645E7B engines, producing 3100 hp.  The MARK K has been retrofitted with a Nautican triple rudder system.  This has greatly increased her maneuverability.  The MARK K was also fitted with a Nautican nozzle around the propeller.  The combination of new engine and nozzle has increased her bollard pull by 30% to 38.6 tonnes.

We have two single screw tugboats, both built in 1965.  They are powered by a single EMD 16-645C engine matched with Western reduction gears.  The EMD engines produce 1700 hp.  These tugs are ten feet shorter than any other tug in our fleet.  We refer to them as the “compacts”.   Because of their handy size, they work well in the slips on the Houston Ship Channel.

With our mixture of older and newer tugs we are able to continue offering the most cost effective towing solutions of any of the major tanker ports in the United States.  To have the newest fleet and the most competitive prices is a difficult balance to maintain, but we’ve been doing it now for a century and a quarter.




Matthew K



Harris II

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