The Great Lakes Group


Great Lakes Shipyard to Build Two New Tugs for New York Power Authority

Great Lakes Shipyard, Cleveland, Ohio, has been contracted by New York Power Authority (NYPA) to build and deliver two (2) new tugboats for the Niagara Power Plant’s winter operations in Buffalo, NY. The new tugs will augment and replace aging vessels that are used for the installation, removal, and maintenance of the Lake Erie-Niagara River Ice Boom and various associated marine construction projects.


Computer rendering of one of two tugboats recently ordered by the New York Power Authority (NYPA) to replace two aging vessels—the Daniel Joncaire and the Breaker—that support the winter operations of NYPA’s Niagara Hydroelectric Power Plant and the Sir Adam Beck Pumped Generating Station, owned by Ontario Power Generation. (Credit: NYPA)

The new tugs will be specially reinforced with heavy stems and shell reinforcement for operations in seasonal ice. The design of the conventional drive tugs includes elevated pilothouses for improved visibility when maneuvering, as well as a spacious work deck aft to facilitate ice boom connections. The tugs are designed to comply with proposed Subchapter M of Title 46 of the Code of Federal Regulations for inspected towing vessels.

Delivery of the first tug is scheduled for September 2015.

The tug construction contract, valued at nearly $5 million, is the company’s second major order from the Power Authority. In 2010, Great Lakes Shipyard built the agency’s new 80’ x 34’ Ice Boom Operations Barge, including the supply and installation of a new Terex 80-ton pedestal mounted lattice boom crane.

Like the barge, the naval architecture and marine engineering firm of Bristol Harbor Group, Inc., Bristol, RI, (BHGI) was contracted by NYPA to develop the contract design documents for the vessels and provide consultation during both the bid and construction phases. BHGI assisted NYPA during the bid process, and will be acting as NYPA’s on-site representative during the fabrication process, performing quality assurance and certification functions.

NYPA is the nation’s largest state power organization, operating 16 power generation plants in various locations in New York State. Among those facilities are the Niagara Power Project’s Robert Moses Niagara Power Plant and the Lewiston Pump-Generating Plant. These plants utilize water diverted from the upper Niagara River to produce electrical power for NYPA customers. In a joint effort with the Ontario Power Generation utility, NYPA is responsible for installation and removal of an 8,800-foot-long floating ice boom designed to accelerate the formation of the natural ice arch that forms most winters near the head of the Niagara River and also stabilize the arch once it has formed. The ice boom reduces the severity and duration of ice runs into the Niagara River, thereby lessening the probability of large scale ice blocking in the river and ensuring continued hydropower generation. In addition, it reduces the probability of ice damage to docks and other shore structures.

To learn more about The Great Lakes Towing Company and its Shipyard, visit their website at: or contact: Joe Starck, 216-367-8126.