TTB 2022: Lessons learned on building an advanced hybrid tug


Written by

Heather Ervin

Scheduled for delivery in 2022, the tug has a tractive force of 90 tons. (Credit: master boat builders)

On March 30, Day 2 of Marine Log’s 2022 TTB Conference for the Tug, Tug and Barge Industry, Garrett Rice, President of Coden, Alabama-based Master Boat Builders Inc., will present his hybrid tug project advanced, the Spartan.

Launched in November, the Spartan is the first of two ships of this type ordered in December 2019, and is expected to be delivered to Seabulk Towing this year. Both tugs are diesel-electric hybrid vessels specifically designed to reduce future carbon emissions.

Designed by Robert Allan Ltd., the tug has an integrated hybrid propulsion system supplied by Thompson Tractor, and includes two EPA Tier 4 certified Caterpillar 3512E main engines, two Berg MTA 628 azimuth thrusters, three Caterpillar generators and two propulsion engines ABB and an associated variable frequency drives.

The audience will be invited to ask Rice questions immediately after her presentation.


  • Why the Spartan the hybrid tug was the best choice for Seabulk and what other operators can glean;
  • The challenges the shipyard sees operators having in selecting the best new technology for tugs;
  • What hybrid tug options are available today and what the shipyard thinks is coming; and
  • Which applications he thinks make the most sense for the different types of propulsion systems used in these tugs.

Consult the complete agenda or register for TTB 2022.

MEET Garrett Rice

Garrett Rice, president of Master Boat Builders.

A native of Mobile, Rice grew up in the family business founded by her father, Michael, and grandfather. He started working with his father as a child and entered the business full-time in 2011 as a project manager and accountant.

Within a few years, he began to deal with business development and took on the role of financial director. In 2020 he became President of Master Boat Builders and now oversees the day to day operations of the business.

Rice delights in the challenges presented by the shipbuilding industry, from engineering to planning and accounting to human resources.

Most importantly, he appreciates the legacy his father and grandfather left him by transforming a small family shop into a world-class shipyard. As president, he sits on the boards of the Offshore Marine Service Association and the Shipbuilders Council of America.

VF 2022

American Waterways Operators (AWO) is partnering with Marine Log for the event scheduled for March 29-30 at the Renaissance Mobile Riverview Plaza Hotel in Mobile, Ala. TTB 2022 is the only event of its kind exclusively for the tug, tug and barge industry, where it brings together the blue and brown water sectors in a single location for two days of testimonials and education led by experts who will empower attendees to make better business decisions in the future.

The venue, located in Mobile Bay off the Spanish River, is not only close to museums, golf courses and the USS Alabama, it is also close to industry shipyards including Austal USA, Alabama Shipyard, Metal Shark Alabama, Port of Mobile, etc. There are many other shipyards, terminals and industry suppliers nearby.

In addition to two days of in-person discussions and dynamic Q&A sessions, the event will provide plenty of networking opportunities.

As the marine sector recovers from COVID-19 and manages the challenges of finding and retaining a quality workforce, the tug, tug and barge industry is expected to experience continued growth and innovation in a new regulatory landscape and at the cutting edge of technological advances. The collaboration between Marine Log and the AWO allows both organizations to share resources and industry knowledge to support the APC industry at this critical juncture.

As always, the program will emphasize lessons learned from hard-won and real-life experience. In addition, the program will explore new ways to achieve economic and environmental goals through technological advancements, the search for new opportunities for the offshore APC market, and the latest trends in vessel design.


TTB 2022 guests will have the unique opportunity to visit Austal USA, one of the nation’s leading military defense shipyards, specializing in the design, construction and support of military and commercial vessels.

Space will be limited to 80 guests, who will board two buses at the Renaissance Mobile Riverview Plaza Hotel and travel to the Austal USA Shipyard in Mobile for a guided tour. Each bus will start in a separate area of ​​the shipyard – Main Campus (bus 1) and West Campus (bus 2).

Bus 1 will tour the exterior of the Mod Factory, where guests will circle the perimeter of the final assembly bays to see where the future USNS is located. Cody (EPF 14), USS Augusta (LCS 34), and the Kingsville (LCS 36) are being erected.

Guests will also tour the Austal USA ship finishing yard, where the future USS Canberra (LCS 30) and USS Santa Barbara (LCS 32) are moored for sea trials and delivery.

Bus 2 participants will begin at the Austal USA Ship Repair Facility, where Facility Manager Harley Combs will demonstrate Austal USA’s enhancements to the facility and explain what repair capabilities are available to clients.

Buses will swap places so that all tour participants can see both Austal USA campuses.

Austal USA’s primary shipbuilding facility in Mobile is a 165-acre campus on the east bank of the Mobile River that includes four final assembly bays, a 700,000 square foot module fabrication facility, two offices, an administrative building housing the Navy Support Program. staff and a drive-thru warehouse. Austal has also constructed a ship finishing yard which serves as the final location for its vessels prior to acceptance trials, delivery and departure.

In 2020, Austal USA purchased 15 acres of waterfront property on the west side of the Mobile River and established a vessel service and maintenance facility. The Austal USA West campus includes a 20,000 ton Panamax-class floating dry dock and 100,000 square feet of covered repair facilities.

Austal USA entered the steel shipbuilding market in 2021, innovating the company’s steel fabrication line, positioning the company to start steel production in April 2022. The addition of steel fabrication of 117,000 square feet will house the latest state of the art computerized and robotic steel processing equipment that has been specified to meet all current and future demands of the United States Navy and United States Coast Guard.

  • Currently, the growing list of event sponsors includes Sea Machines, ABB and Navtek (platinum); Austal USA, Bergan Marine Systems and Hiller Systems (gold);
  • Motor-Services Hugo Stamp Inc., Elkon, Karl Senner, Elliott Bay Design Group, MTU—A Rolls-Royce Solution, Schottel, Christie & Grey, Industrial Service Solutions, SSI, Steerprop, Great Lakes Power, Marine and Industrial Rigging and Testing Solutions and Moxie Media (silver); and
  • Metal Shark Boats, Bristol Harbor Group, TowWorks, Louisiana CAT, Thompson Marine, JonRie, Panolin, MOPS, Phoenix, Tnemec, KVH, United Safety & Survivability Corporation, Conrad Shipyard, RA Mitchell, Coastal Marine Equipment Inc., Separator Spares & Equipment , RIX Industries, Vulkan Couplings, DMT Marine Equipment, Hockema Group Inc., Delgado Community College and On Site Alignment (bronze).
  • American Equity Underwriters (AEU) will sponsor the diner cocktail at the close of day 1. W&O Supply sponsors breakfast.

Registration for the event is now open. The next Early Bird registration discount ends February 25.

For any questions about sponsorships, please contact David Harkey at [email protected]

Categories: Coastal, Inland, Shipbuilding, Shipyards
Keywords: ABB, Austal USA, Garrett Rice, hybrid tug, Master Boat Builders, Seabulk Towing, shipbuilder, shipbuilding, shipyard, Spartan, APC 2022, tug, tug

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