The cargo ship Astoria Bay takes on a load of logs at the Port of Port Angeles Terminal 3 in Port Angeles on Saturday. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

ON THE WATERFRONT: Some ships may get an assist in Port Angeles Harbor

ON THURSDAY MORNING, the cargo ship Astoria Bay moored to the Port of Port Angeles’ Terminal 3 to take on a load of debarked logs that will be taken to China for use in the construction industry.

I was asked recently whether all tankers are required to have a tug alongside when they come into the harbor.

Tugs are required to provide a tethered assist — their tow line affixed to bitts on the tanker’s bow or stern in a procedure that is otherwise known as a ship assist.

The rule is that laden tankers exceeding 40,000 DWT (deadweight tons) are required to have a ship assist when arriving and departing the harbor. Another requirement for laden tankers is that those that exceed 90,000 DWT must anchor in the central or eastern portion of the harbor.

Brian S, the 98-foot tug that tows the Tesoro fuel barge to bunker the ships in the harbor, also provides ship assist services to tankers.

I understand the 98-foot tug is able to assist tankers that do not exceed 90,000 DWT. Vessels exceeding that tonnage would typically be assisted by one of the Foss or Crowley tractor tugs that were specifically designed and built to provide tug-related services to larger ships.

Full-on production

I stopped at the Lee Shore Boats facility on Edgewood Drive in Port Angeles last week and spoke with the owner, Eric Schneider.

His production floor is full of a number of projects including a 32-foot monohull landing craft, powered by twin 300-horsepower Suzuki outboard motors, that was built for the fisheries division of the Suquamish Tribe; a 26-foot “T” Top Commercial shellfish vessel for Salish Seafoods of Shelton; a 36-foot asymmetric catamaran landing craft powered by twin Volvo diesels coupled to Volvo stern drives that will be used as a salmon tender in Cold Bay, Alaska; and a 33-foot high-speed planning catamaran with twin 300-horsepower Suzuki outboard motors that was designed by Noah Thompson of New Zealand and will be used as a patrol boat for Makah fisheries enforcement.

Taking on fuel

One of the questions I’m asked with some frequency is how much fuel do the cargo ships and tankers take on when they are being refueled by Tesoro Petroleum.

The short answer is sometimes a little and sometimes a lot.

Typically, Tesoro Petroleum offloads two types of fuel to the various vessels it services: marine fuel, which is known by a number of monikers, the most common of which is bunkers or bunker oil, and marine gas oil, which is better known to the likes of you and me as diesel fuel.

With few exceptions, both types of fuel are sold by the metric ton. Each metric ton is equivalent to approximately 6½ barrels of oil, with each barrel holding 42 gallons.

The exact conversion of metric tons to barrels is dependent upon a lot of science that exceeds any knowledge I retained from my high school chemistry class many decades ago.

The amount of fuel a vessel requires can range from a few hundred metric tons to a few thousand.

A ship that is in transit between two distant ports may occasionally come to Port Angeles for just enough fuel to get to its destination, perhaps as little as a couple of hundred metric tons.

In other instances, ships heading out across the globe may take on a few thousand metric tons.

For the most part, bunkers are used for a ship’s propulsion and diesel is the fuel consumed by the auxiliary equipment aboard ship such as the generators and many of the hydraulic pumps.

Harbor happenings

On Friday, Tesoro Petroleum in Port Angeles Harbor provided 7,300 barrels of bunkers to the 655-foot Hong Kong-flagged cargo ship Great Comfort.

Today, Tesoro is scheduled to provide 8,300 barrels of bunkers to the 623-foot Panamanian-flagged cargo ship Glorious Hope.


David G. Sellars is a Port Angeles resident and former Navy boatswain’s mate who enjoys boats and strolling the area’s waterfronts and boat yards.

Items and questions involving boating, marina and industrial activities and the North Olympic Peninsula waterfronts are always welcome. News announcements about boating groups, including yacht clubs and squadrons, are welcome as well.

Email [email protected] or phone him at 360-808-3202.

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