Triple Screw Lugger for Estuary Waters


Cummins Vessel Reference #754

The Captain Nedo C ready to leave the shipyard.

Some great rivers, like and Amazon and Columbia, empty into swift ocean currents so their sediment load is swept away. Others, like the Nile and the Mississippi, empty into enclosed waters like the Mediterranean or Gulf of Mexico. Their sediment load settles rapidly to form many square miles of delta and shallow waters. Each estuary develops its own types of vessels.

On the section of the Gulf Coast where the Mississippi meets the Gulf, shallow draft Lugger tugs have been earning their keep suppling the near shore oil industry. But their size has been limited by their draft which is, of course subject to the prop size as much as the hull depth. Over the years innovative tug designers and operators have found that three smaller engines, turning smaller props can deliver as much power with significantly less draft than a twin-prop boat with bigger engines. An additional advantage of the triple-screw arrangement is that, in the event of loss of power from one engine, the operator can still rely on two engines for maneuvering and safety.

Triple-screw shallow-draft boats come in a variety of forms including pushboats and model bow tugs. Although he builds vessels of those classes, Joseph Rodriguez of Rodrigues Shipbuilding is perhaps best known for his in-house designed Lugger-type tugs. Their aft mounted deckhouse provides a convenient foreword deck space for cargo. A single drum aft mounted towing winch allows towing or, with blocks, the boat can be rigged as a pusher.


Triple Cummins QSK19-M mains

Rodriguez recently delivered the Captain Nedo C. The vessel is a triple-engine Lugger powered by three Cummins QSK19-M engines each producing 660 HP at 1800 RPM. The 70 by 29-foot tug has a molded depth of 9.5 feet and is equipped with a M50 Pullmaster stern towing winch.

Even though the tug has a hefty 1,980 HP, when light loaded with fuel and water, she only draws 6.5 feet. Even with full capacities or 17,000 US gallons of fuel and 26,000 US gallons of water she is able to access most of the necessary sites along the shallow estuary of the Mississippi River.

Photo courtesy of Rodriguez Shipbuilding

For further information:

Mr. Joseph Rodriguez
Rodriguez Boat Builders
14843 Alba Ave.
Coden, AL 36523
Phone: 251 824 4067
E-mail: [email protected]

Mr. Larry Neff
Cummins Mid-South Inc.
1924 E I-65 Rd N
Mobile AL 36617
Phone: 251 895 1590
E-mail: [email protected]

Alan Haig-Brown

Alan Haig-Brown

Over 30 years as an author for global commercial marine and fishing publications backed with hands-on experience on commercial fishing boats and coastal freighters makes Alan Haig-Brown uniquely qualified to provide vessel reference articles for Cummins Marine. You can find him in shipyards around the world, and on his own website,

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