Tidewater getting new tugboats

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A keel-laying ceremony Friday afternoon at Vigor Industrial on Portland's Swan Island marked the start of construction for the first of three new tugboats being built for Tidewater Barge Lines of Vancouver. The tugs will be the first newly built vessels for the company in nearly 30 years.

The tugboat now under construction will be delivered to Tidewater in December, and two others will follow in 2015. Designed by CT Marine, of Edgecomb, Maine, the vessels were specially designed for the Columbia River market. Engines will have cleaner emissions, and the new design will offer improved ergonomics accommodations and comfort to minimize crew fatigue and reduce crew member injuries, according to Vigor.

Marc Schwartz, Tidewater's maintenance and engineering manager, displayed plans for the new tugboat and set a ceremonial weld in front of Tidewater and Vigor officials and construction workers during Friday's ceremony.