Someone once described a tug as “an engine surrounded by fuel tanks and sprinkled with crew”. It is true that a tug’s engines are its power, its push and pull. When we talk about tugboats we refer to horsepower as the defining yardstick.
The Pacific Maritime Group J.M HIDALGO is in the process of re-powering. Note that we don’t refer to it as re-engining. This venerable 80-foot Ocean towing vessel has been performing with 1100 hp Caterpillar 3508 engines. With this power package the tug has been a fixture on the West Coast. Join us in taking a peek at this job.
Those engines were installed in 2006. As part of the State of California effort to curb air pollution, the new engines are rated by the California Air Resources Board as Tier 3 compliant. These 49 liter Mitsubishi S12R engines are rated at 1100 horsepower.
Changing engines is not like swapping batteries in a flashlight. The engines literally weigh tons. In the case of the HIDALGO we elected to cut a hole in the side to allow access to the engine space.
The exhaust stacks, mufflers and piping were removed, followed by the Caterpillar 3508 engines. The Marine Engineers in charge of this project, Peter Walding and Mario Piras, know that at that point, an empty engine room, means the real work is just beginning. Structural members of the tug frame must be modified to accept the new engines. The old wiring and instrumentation must be removed and new ones installed. Careful planning must be made to accept all the changes.
Technological advancements necessitate room for exhaust emission equipment that make for cleaner exhaust output. Careful planning is needed to fit all that is needed plus allow full access to the equipment so PMG used CAD drawings to make sure it all fit.
Shiny and new, this 49 liter Mitsubishi S12R engine is ready for work. Soon this engine and its twin will bring the HIDALGO back to life.
Here PMG crew place a Mitsubishi main engine onto its bed. Note the carefully constructed engine bed and how the Marine Gear is ready to be mated with the engine.
Outboard of the Port Main engine a new generator is being installed. We are upgrading the auxiliary engines as part of the entire re-power project.
There is still a lot of work to be done. PMG is using the opportunity to upgrade other systems of the tug and to service other equipment. Check back in for another post where we will gladly show you the rest.