Master Boat Builders and Sterling Shipyard to Build Four Tugboats for Gulf LNG Tugs of Brownsville

HOUSTON--()--Gulf LNG Tugs of Brownsville, LLC (Gulf LNG Tugs) today announced the signing of two construction contracts with Master Boat Builders, Inc. (Master Boat) and Sterling Shipyard, LLC (Sterling) for each shipyard to construct two tugs to serve the Rio Grande LNG export facility (RGLNG), which has commenced construction in Brownsville, Texas.

Execution of the construction contracts represents an important milestone for Gulf LNG Tugs’ commitment to provide dedicated tug services to RGLNG. In consultation with RGLNG, Gulf LNG Tugs selected Master Boat and Sterling after a rigorous bid process. “Both shipyards stood out for their experience, capabilities, and price competitiveness, and we’re excited to continue our partnership with these shipyards,” said Kirk Jackson, Gulf LNG Tugs’ partnership representative.

Each shipyard will construct two Z-Tech® 30-80 tugboats designed by naval architect Robert Allan Ltd. These 30-80s represent a proven workhorse in Gulf Coast ports, where affiliates of Gulf LNG Tugs already operate 10 of the same hull design. The tugboats will meet U.S. Coast Guard Sub-M regulations and will be classed through the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS). The main propulsion engines are Caterpillar 3516 E, complying with EPA Tier-4 emission standards, and the tugs will receive ABS low emission vessel notation. Main engines are connected to Schottel SRP 510 FP-Z drives fitted with 2.8-meter propellers. The tugs are fitted with a Markey DEPSF-48-100 HP Electric Class III hawser winch, providing full bollard pull performance Render-Recover feature.

The new tugboats will have an overall length of 98.5 feet, beam of 42.7 feet, and a bollard pull of 80 metric tonnes. Additionally, each tug will be equipped with firefighting capabilities to meet the ABS Fire Fighting Class 1 (FiFi 1) classification.

We are immensely proud to continue our partnership with Gulf LNG Tugs’ owners, and we look forward to delivering the Z-Tech® 30-80’s to provide years of reliable escort service for RGLNG,” said Garrett Rice, President of Master Boat.

Sterling Shipyard is excited to commence construction of the Z-Tech® 30-80’s. Gulf LNG Tugs and its owners are premier tug service providers, and we’re honored to support their growth,” said Harry Murdock, CEO of Sterling.

About Gulf LNG Tugs

Gulf LNG Tugs of Brownsville, LLC, is a joint venture formed to provide tug services for RGLNG under a long-term Tug Services Agreement. It is owned by:

  • Bay-Houston Towing Co., in Houston, Texas;
  • Moran Towing Corporation, in New Canaan, Connecticut; and
  • Suderman & Young Towing Company, in Houston, Texas.

Gulf LNG Tugs represents the third joint venture formed by the ownership team to provide safe, environmentally sensitive, and reliable tug services to a Gulf Coast LNG project.

About Master Boat Builders

Master Boat Builders, Inc. has provided marine construction services for over 40 years. Based in Coden, Alabama, the shipyard has delivered more than 430 vessels to customers over the world. It benefits from a long-term management team that is committed customer loyalty by ensuring every boat delivered is BUILT TO LAST.

About Sterling Shipyard

Sterling Shipyard, LLC, located in Port Neches, Texas, has provided marine construction and repair services since 2009. In 2022 and 2023 it has invested to expand its infrastructure to continue serving as a premier Gulf Coast shipyard. The owners are committed to forging long-term partnerships with customers based on integrity and trust.


Gulf LNG Tugs

Master Boat Builders

Sterling Shipyard