The Great Lakes Group


Great Lakes Shipyard Achieves Major Milestone with Commissioning Ceremony of NYPA Tug “JONCAIRE II” and Keel Laying Ceremony of Harbor Tug for Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala


Tug “JONCAIRE II” the first of two tugboats to be built for New York Power Authority – Niagara Project was commissioned during a ceremony hosted by Great Lakes Shipyard and attended by more than 200 on Tuesday, October 20, 2015. The sponsor of the Commissioning Ceremony was Karen W. Penale, Real Estate Administrator – Western Region, New York Power Authority – Niagara Project. “With the traditional breaking of the bottle of Champaign, she declared “I name this tugboat ‘JONCAIRE II.’ May God bless here and all who will sail on her.”


“Today we celebrate the completion of one project and the beginning of another,” said Joseph P. Starck, Jr., President, The Great Lakes Towing Company & Great Lakes Shipyard, as he described the commissioning ceremony of the NYPA Tug JONCAIRE II and the subsequent keel laying of the new tugboat for Regimen de Pensiones y Jubilaciones del Personal de la Empresa Portuaria Quetzal, Guatemala, Central America.


Left to Right: Sponsor, Karen W. Penale, Real Estate Administrator, Western Region, New York, Power Authority – Niagara Project, commissioning the completed New York Power Authority Tug JONCAIRE II, and Gregg A. Thauvette, Vice President, Operations, The Great Lakes Towing Company

Great Lakes Shipyard was 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. Construction for the first tug began last April. The second tug is scheduled for delivery in late-2017.


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 tug construction contract is the Company’s second major order from NYPA. In 2010, Great Lakes Shipyard built the agency’s new 80’ x 34’ Ice Boom Operations Barge, which incorporates a Terex 80-ton pedestal mounted lattice boom crane.


A separate ceremony followed marking the keel laying of a new 3,400 H.P. tugboat to be built for Regimen de Pensiones y Jubilaciones del Personal de la Empresa Portuaria Quetzal, Guatemala, Central America (“Regimen”). Representing the owner at the ceremony was Eduardo De Jesus Paiz Lemus, Presidente Junta Administrador.


Congresswoman Marcy C. Kaptur, US Representative of the 9th District of Ohio, the principal speaker, commended the Company indicating that “We are fortunate to have a company like Great Lakes – their industry is the gift that keeps on giving. They are [through their education programs] passing on skills to the next generation, who will keep this country great.”

Kaptur also paid compliments to The Company’s team – as well as special recognition to Ronald C. Rasmus, President of the Great Lakes Group. She highlighted the significance of the achievement, “To create here, in the heart of America, a Shipyard; a place that faces global competition every day, is no small achievement. It is extraordinary. Look at all of the suppliers that benefit from your efforts.”


As part of the ceremony, Sheldon B. Guren, Chairman, The Great Lakes Group, shared a company timeline that illustrated The Towing Company’s longevity in and commitment to the region. He stated that while the company is experiencing exponential success, it’s important not to lose sight of the impact it has had on the lives on Clevelanders: “It’s a wonderful place to work – it’s been good to our staff, myself included. Over 28 employees have been here for a decade or more…we do business with over 365 suppliers in Northeast Ohio alone. In general, I’m totally optimistic. Look at what’s happening in Cleveland – there is much to be grateful for here.”


In his remarks Rasmus thanked the employees of the Shipyard and indicated that “We have established a firm core of experienced employees, but we need more to accommodate the exciting work as we expand the Shipyard. We now have the most advanced training school [Max S. Hayes High School] as well as partnerships with St. Martin de Porres School and Cuyahoga Community College to train the next generation of employees in shipyard career.”


Matt Zone, City of Cleveland Councilman, Ward 15 explained the important role Great Lakes Shipyard has played in the Cleveland community and Northeast Ohio for over 116 years, “Great Lakes is such an important part of what we do in our city. They buy local, they support local, they hire local. I cannot tell you how many individuals I know who have been employed here or trained here. I want to recognize the students of Max S. Hayes High School for the work they do here.” Both Director, Economic Development, City of Cleveland, Tracey Nichols, and Councilman Zone presented Proclamations from the City and Mayor Jackson recognizing the Company’s contributions to the City.


On August 19, 2015, the Company signed a construction contract to build another of its HandySize Class, 3,400 HP twin-screw tugboat for harbor towing operations in Puerto Quetzal; a growing principal commercial cargo, container, and cruise port located on the Pacific coast of Guatemala in Central America. The buyer, Regimen de Pensiones y Jubilaciones del Personal de la Empresa Portuaria (“Regimen”), is a Pension Benefits Plan for Port employees and retirees who operate a commercial tugboat service in the port under a Port Authority franchise for the purpose of ensuring future retirement benefits.

The HandySize Class tug was designed by Jensen Naval Architects & Marine Engineers, Seattle, Washington. The new tug will be built by Great Lakes Shipyard with delivery next year. It is specifically designed for harbor work and coastal towing. It is 74-feet long with a beam of 30 feet, and a design draft of 11.5 feet. It is to be built to American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) standards and its Cummins QSK-50 main diesel propulsion engines, each rated at 1700 BHP@ 1600 rpm meet US EPA Tier III emission regulations delivering superior fuel economy, durability, and reliability.


Great Lakes Shipyard laid the keel for the Harbor Tug for the Regimen. Representing the Regimen at the ceremony was Eduardo De Jesus Paiz Lemus, Presidente Junta Administrador, who inscribed his signature on the keel plate declaring that “The keel has been truly and fairly laid.”


In recognition of the significant achievement for a U.S. domestic shipyard to competitively conclude a foreign sale, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration and the U.S. Embassy, Guatemala City, was represented by Antonio Prieto, Sr. Trade Specialist, who was credited by the Company with facilitating the transparent negotiations and sale.


About – Past Sponsors

Top row left: The Honorable Ann Castle, Assistant Secretary for Water and Science, christening the USGS R/V KAHO (August 2011); Top row center: Dr. Marcia McNutt, Director of the USGS, christening the USGS R/V MUSKIE (August 2011); Top row right: Rebecca Starck, M.D., Cleveland Clinic Regional Obstetrics and Gynecology Department Chair and wife of The Great Lakes Towing Company and Great Lakes Shipyard President, Joseph P. Starck, Jr., christening the Great Lakes Shipyard Travelift AMERICA (July 2011); Bottom row left: Ms. Julene Market, owner/operator of Miller Boat Line, christening the Miller Boat Line Ferry M/V Put-In-Bay; Bottom row center: Congresswoman Marcy C. Kaptur, US Representative, Ohio 9th District; christening the Puerto Rico Towing and Barge Co. Tug HANDY-THREE. Bottom row right: Patricia Anne Lombardi, Assistant Engineer of Power Supply-Project Management Hydro/Transmission Group, christening the New York Power Authority Pedestal Crane Barge, HAVASU II (September 2010).


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