Loading a nearly 500-ton tugboat onboard a heavy lift ship is due to begin this morning at the Port of Tacoma’s Terminal 7.
The tug, built by Tacoma’s J.M. Martinac Shipbuilding Co. for use by the Navy in Japan, will be lifted out of the water by two cranes aboard the heavy lift ship Palembang.
Here’s a picture of the Palembang from the port administration building balcony. The lifting operation is due to begin at mid-morning, but that schedule is subject to change. The operation can be watched from the port’s viewing tower in the building’s parking lot at the end of the Sitcum Waterway.
According to Martinac vice president Jonathan Platt, the operation is likely to take about three to four hours. The ship’s ballast has to be readjusted for every movement of the tug to ensure the lift ship doesn’t heel over because of the tug’s weight.
The Palembang arrived in Tacoma about noon Monday after a trip from Victoria.
The tug is named the Puyallup in honor of the local tribe of Indians. The vessel is the second to be transported to Yokosuka, Japan for use at the Navy base there to assist ships in and out of their berths.
The vessel is one of six that Martinac built. The tugs use maneuverable propellers that swivel to direct their thrust in any direction making the boats highly maneuverable. The boats are transported to Japan on another vessel because they don’t have the range to make the journey themselves.