BUFFALO, N.Y. (WWTI) — A new tug boat will greet the waters of the Great Lakes this summer.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Buffalo District has confirmed that it has leased a tugboat through Great Lakes Towing in Cleveland, which will serve the waterway system for five years. This was leased through an $8.4 million contract that was awarded to the towing company by USACE on April 20.
The boat, named “Don Raul,” is a 74-foot, 2,800-horsepower, twin-screw seagoing tugboat. It was built by Great Lakes Shipyard in 2008. The boat will be leased for one year with an initial contract award of $3 million and options to renew for up to four additional years.
“Don Raul” will be used to tow the Buffalo District’s repair fleet, which is strategically located across the Great Lakes. The tugboat will primarily be used on Lake Erie between Buffalo, New York and Toledo, Ohio but may serve up through Massena, New York as needed.
According to USACE, the boat will be a short-term replacement for the tugboat Cheraw while the Buffalo District develops and implements a longer replacement plan. Cheraw is a former U.S. Navy seagoing tug that was transferred to the District in 1998.
“Maintaining safe navigation is a critical mission for the Corps of Engineers. We’re proud to play our part in supporting commerce and strengthening the nation,” Buffalo District Commander Lieutenant Colonel Eli Adams said in a press release. “The tugboat Don Raul will greatly enhance our ability to safely and effectively support the residents of New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, and ensure the economic viability of their waterways.”
USACE stated that the Don Raul is expected to depart its current port in San Juan, Puerto Rico and arrive in Cleveland for maintenance before final delivery to the Buffalo District’s repair fleet crew on August 1, 2022.