Tacoma’s J.M. Martinac Shipbuilding Corp. this week launched the first of two tractor tugs it’s building for Florida-based Signet Maritime Corp.
The Signet America is powered by two MTU Detroit Diesel 16-cylinder engines producing 3,305 horsepower each.
Those diesels drive two propeller systems that can swivel in any direction to propel the ship assist tug backward, forward or sideways.
The new tug is 98 feet long and 40 feet wide. Company President Joe Martinac Jr. said he expects the new tug will be delivered in January.
Signet will use the America and a sister tug mainly to help two oil platform construction companies in Houston move the platforms that are under construction.
Martinac, whose yard stood silent for years, has enjoyed a burst of new business in recent months. It now employs about 100 workers at its shipyard on the Thea Foss Waterway near downtown Tacoma.
It recently built two ocean-going tugs for Oregon’s Sause Brothers. It has a contract to build a second tug for Signet, the Signet Stars & Stripes. That second tug will be delivered to Signet in late spring next year.
The yard also has contracts to build three tugs for the Navy. Those tugs will be used at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton.
Martinac is also working with two other Puget Sound shipyards, Seattle’s Todd Pacific and Whidbey Island’s Nichols Brothers, to build a series of new ferries for the state ferry system.