Some basic numbers on Orion: LOA 95′, beam 30′. What’s remarkable to me is that afloat and moving forward, this vessel might not seem significantly different from all the other tugs along the coast. Notice the greenish floor of the dry dock. More on that later.

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Below is a view of the starboard VSP from the engine room. Given the location of the drive unit midships, the engines are mounted with reduction gear forward. Notice the two vertical rods coupled onto different points of the disc cover. Those rods mechanically connect to the helm and levers to control orientation of the “props,” thereby the direction of the vessel. The disc cover is about 4′ diameter.

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The shaft projecting downward through the deck is connected to the helm; one arm goes to each VSP unit.

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For a little more sense of scale, the door in the drydock left side of the foto is 6′ tall. From floor of dry dock to top is about 18 feet.

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Here’s another shot of the VSP. Each blade is about 4′ long.

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Orion operates out of Boston with Constellation Maritime (out of date fotos), a subsidiary of Foss Maritime. Here’s a link to the Thea Foss story. The vessel below is tractor tug Leo, a Constellation Maritime tug with mostly similar lines. Many thanks, Ted, for the tour and the foto below.  Scroll all through this link for great fotos of this type of tug.

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