2010-built, 297,400 dwt Navios Maritime Acquisition-owned Nave Quasar was the first VLCC to successfully berth at Texas City. The trial run was conducted with the aid of five Robert Allan Ltd designed Z-Tech tugs.
The tanker test run adds Texas City to the growing list of US Gulf ports with a stake in exporting shale-derived crude oil. In February 2018, LOOP received its first VLCC to load crude oil.
This was followed by the export of a million barrels of US crude oil from Buckeye, Texas, loaded on the Suezmax Astra.
There has also been a test run at Brownsville, Texas, using 2003-built, 150,100 dwt Nordic Pollux, which, at the time, was the largest cargo tanker to ever call at Brownsville.
The Texas City operation required a flotilla of Suderman and Young Towing Company Z-Tech tugs, two Z-Tech 30-75 (Thor and Lamar) and three Z-Tech 24-60 escort tugs (Neptune, Oceanus and Poseidon), operated by G & H Towing of Galveston Texas.
The Z-Tech 24 design tugs are 24.4 m long, with a beam of 11.6 m. They are powered by two Caterpillar 3516C Tier 3 engines, producing 5,150 hp driving two Schottel Model SRP 1215FP with nozzle Z-Drives. They are classed by ABS for towing and escort services.
Additional power is produced from two John Deere 4145AFM85 diesel gen sets. Other key equipment includes a Markey Machinery Fairleader 50HP electric hawser winch, with a brake holding capacity of 136 tonnes.
The relationship between G & H Towing and Robert Allan Ltd started back in 2004, with design and construction of the first two Z-Tech 30-75 tugs, which where the first in the US and for G & H Towing.
Since then G & H Towing’s fleet of Z-Tech tugs has grown to 18 in operation and will soon grow to 26 Z-Tech tugs with the introduction of the new series of Z-Tech 30-80 series starting late 2018. These were ordered from Gulf Islands Shipyard in May 2017. When delivered, these will make G & H Towing the largest operator of Z-Tech series tugs in the world.