1. Cocle arrived in Halifax as a "dry tow" - note the escort skeg, and large cooler inlets.
2. Colon on trials, was launched without incident and arrived in Halifax three days later. The low profile allows her to get under ships' sterns in tight quarters.
3. Atlantic Salvor's Alcos clear their throats as the tug moves its crane away from the dock in Georgetown, PE.
4. The massive Chesapeake 1000 did its work in good time.
5. Atlantic Teak towed the barge carrying Cocle from Georgetown to Halifax.
On July 1, 2001 the new tug Cocle toppled off its launching cradle at the East Isle Shipyard in PEI. What might have proven to be a disaster turned out all right in the end.
East Isle was in the midst of building a four tug order for the Panama Canal Commission. These tugs were based on the original Robert Allan design, but were modified for the Canal with more power, lower wheelhouse, and a large escort skeg. The latter was a new development for this class of tug, but had been proven in retrofits of earlier tugs.
A speedy response to the tip over was made by Donjon Marine of Hillside, NJ, who dispatched their crane Chesapeake 1000 (named for its capacity) in tow of the tug Atlantic Salvor. By July 12 the tug was righted and repairs were underway.
The East Isle tugs usually did their sea trails on the way to Halifax where they received final fitting out and acceptance trials. However Cocle arrived in style on the barge ATL 2402 in tow of the tug Atlantic Teak. This was the first and only "dry tow" of an East Isle tug to Halifax, arriving September 24. Sister Colon arrived September 30 on its own (it had been launched without incident September 27.)
After trials the pair set off for Panama November 3 on their own hulls.
The final two tugs in the order, Herrera and Los Santos were delivered in August and November of 2002.
Since that time The Panama canal has acquired eight (with five more to come) Robert Allan design Z-Tech tugs form Cheoy Lee shipyard in China. The Canal Authority now has 37 tugs in its fleet.
They have also now ordered fourteen more tugs to work ships following the expansion of the canal, to be completed in 2014. The new locks will use only tugs to assist ships, they will not have the typical shoreside rail mules of the old locks.
All the tugs shown are still in service for the same owners:
- Cocle and Colon 4,486 bhp Deutz, 2 ASD
- Atlantic Teak ex Irving Teak built in Singapore in 1973 as Essar, 2,300 bhp Deutz, 2 screw.
- Atlantic Salvor ex Mister Darby, built in 1976 by Halter Marine, New Orleans, 6480 bhp Alco, 2 screw.