The fleet of tug assets in Thunder Bay has increased, due to a recent acquisition by locally owned and operated Lakehead Tug Boats Inc. The company operates a fleet of four harbour tugs, including the latest addition, Teclutsa, at the Port of Thunder Bay and surrounding areas. Recently formed, Lakehead Tug Boats Inc. (Lakehead) owes its beginnings to its founding parent company Gravel & Lakes Services Ltd. which has been servicing the Port of Thunder Bay since 1933.

Lakehead has performed a large variety of marine work in the industry over the years, including ship assist, ice breaking, construction, diving, towing and salvage operations, as well as conducting operations with various forest industry companies. Lakehead Tug Boats, “continues the tradition providing safe, reliable ship assist to domestic and International vessels,” says company President J.P. LeCuyer.

Lakehead Tug Boats Inc. was officially established in the spring of 2016, with the purchase of the longstanding Gravel & Lakes Services Ltd. company assets, taking over operations at the Port of Thunder Bay. Those assets include three tugboats: George N. Carlton; Robert John; and Peninsula, all actively conducting ship docking and ice management operations as well as other services in the Port of Thunder Bay.

Lakehead purchased the harbour tug Teclutsa which was built as a ship assist and firefighting tug, and now serves the Port as the newest tug in the harbour. According to LeCuyer, the 101 foot by 30 foot tug features, “all-round fendering for ship handling operations, and state-of-the-art electronics and navigation equipment.” The vessel is powered by a 10 cylinder Fairbanks Morse diesel engine, “with a continued rating producing 2000 horsepower, propelling a 12-foot stainless steel wheel with a partial tunnel producing close to 30 tons bollard pull,” says LuCuyer.

The tug is also equipped with a 500 horsepower bow thruster and a deflector rudder for additional maneuverability when conducting ship docking operations. “These features effectively make the tug Teclutsa the most powerful & maneuverable ship assist tug currently working in the port of Thunder Bay,” states LuCuyer. The vessel is also equipped with its own diesel engine firefighting pump, and a liquid foam system to extinguish oil-based marine or shore fires. Drawing water from the harbour, the tug has two firefighting monitors and two hydrants. Each hydrant has four 2½” hose connections to provide water for marine- or shore-based firefighting, effectively offering an unlimited supply of water.

While the primary function of the Tug is towing and harbour ship assistance, it is also readily available for towing vessels in distress. With a large aft deck there is enough space to accommodate two 8 x 20 foot seacans to be set on the deck with additional equipment for multiple support roles. This also provides a stable working platform in adverse conditions, allowing for diving, recovery, and salvage operations and can assist with the containment of marine pollution such as oil spills, or other services as requested.

Mr. LeCuyer is upbeat about the future of tug operations in the Port of Thunder Bay: “Lakehead Tugboats Inc. is looking forward to continuing its commitment to uphold the values and traditions of professional service, environmental safety, and safety in the marine industry,” he says, “providing our clients and customers the flexibility and confidence to conduct operations in the Port of Thunder Bay.”