JonRie’s very first Tri-Winch set has made its debut onboard Seabulk Towing’s new Rotortug, ‘Trident’.

The first of three, this capable Robert Allan Tri-Z-Drive Tug (built by US yard Master Boat) has 5,750 HP giving it a bollard pull of 78 tonnes.

The 33m by 14.5m tug is going into service around Port Everglades in the US, where it will be used for a number of towage, escort duties and ship assistance. It’s a timely move as the Florida port is expecting to attract the larger container vessels coming through the Panama Canal; it’s already looking likely as recently a 13,000teu COSCO vessel made headlines with its first trip to the US’ East Coast. Further, the port is involved in developing its own main navigational channel and fairway, completion due sometime between 2021 and 2024.

Usefully, the JonRie Tri-Winch set has been designed to take on a number of hefty duties. It comprises a Series 230 winch on the bow for escort work and ship assistance while on the stern on is a Series 500 double drum winch with a brake capacity of 300 tonnes plus a line speed of 35m per minute. Just like the bow unit, the starboard mooring and towing drum has a level wind with enough capacity to spool 165m of 20mm line while the port-side drum is set up to work aft during ship assistance and for emergency tows.

The three winches all have a side-lit, dimmable tension read-out system and, most importantly, an independent, Hagglunds motor driving each drum directly rather than via a clutch – this even includes the level wind and the capstan - making for a very fast response. It’s a particularly useful characteristic for the fast-loading inertia typical of escort operations.

It’s also flexible: the dual 75 HP Hydraulic Power Units (HPU) can be cross connected to run one winch at faster line speed as well as for independent operation of both bow and stern drums.

The winches also have other, specially designed features such as a foot control which allows for hands free use. It’s a fairly simple, intuitive action; press down on the control to payout and heel back to haul in the rope.

Finally, all operations are performed from the wheel house, a safer option as no one is needed on deck once the lines are hooked up.

By Stevie Knight