A few months ago, Telstar Logistics received a priority call on our top-secret red phone: "Rendez-vous with your contact in the parking lot on the corner of Third and 22nd Street!" We did as instructed, connected with our man at the designated location, and together proceeded to a gritty industrial pier on San Francisco's southern waterfront, where a high-tech tugboat was waiting at idle. We climbed aboard, and as the boat prepared to depart, took a look around.
The Marshall Foss was equipped with twin diesel motors that delivered power to two Rolls-Royce Z-drive thrusters. (What's a Z-drive? They're propeller pods, basically, that can each rotate independently on a 360-degree axis. We've got a good photo of a Z-drive thruster here.) On the bow, a huge, self-tensioning winch enabled the Marshall Foss to maintain constant tension on its tow rope without active management from the tug's captain. The attractive galley kitchen was more Martha Stewart than Jack Sparrow, From the outside, the bridge of the Marshall Foss looked like an air traffic control tower. From the inside, it looked like a wood-trimmed Apollo space capsule:
Once we were settled in, it was time to go to work. Our mission: Collaborate with our sister tug, the Arthur Foss, to pull the bulk freighter Sophie Oldendorff off the pier and into the deeper waters of San Francisco Bay. And so we got to it. Ropes were secured, the diesels were brought up to speed. First we pushed, and then we pulled. Hard. We delivered 33 tons worth of tugging force, according to the captain's computer display:
From there it wasn't long until our work was done. The ropes were released, and as the Sophie Oldendorff got underway, we got a big thumbs-up from her departing crew.
Mission Accomplished! Or Miller Time, depending on your leanings. Either way, we had a great time watching the crew of the Marshall Foss at work, and they were kind enough to indulge all of our silly questions. We also took lots of photos, so check the link below to see more images from our tugboat day on the San Francisco Bay.
Tugboat Marshall Foss (Flickr photoset by Telstar Logistics)