AAPA Seaports Advisory

Strategic Cargo: San Diego

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San Diego Port Helps Deliver Navy Tugboats

Tugboat manufactured in San Diego for delivery to U.S. Navy in Sasebo, Japan, via the port’s  Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal
Photo / Stephen Whalen Photography

Four tugboats built for the U.S. Navy by Port of San Diego tenant Maxine Group Boat Works were shipped overseas by Yowell International from the port’s Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal on December 17, 2016.

The 37-ton, 49-foot twin-screw steel-hull boats were disassembled and secured to special 62-foot mobile trailers and loaded onto U.S.-flagged ro/ro M/V Green Bay for delivery to the South Korean Port of Busan, a 20-day voyage of 8,000 nautical miles.

Upon arrival in Korea, Sanritsu America, Inc., commissioned by Marine Group Boat Works and Yowell International, placed the tugs under an international transit customs bond, re-assembled the pilothouses to the hulls, fueled the boats, and placed them in the water. Finally, Marine Group Boat Works tugboat operators piloted the workboats from Busan to a U.S. Navy base in Sasebo, Japan, that provides logistic support to the United States Pacific Fleet.

The Navy will use the tugboats to assist in mooring and moving support equipment within Japanese harbors.
Sasebo and San Diego have been sister ports since 1982.

Marine Group Boat Works has shipyards in National City and Chula Vista (CA) and Los Cabos, Mexico. Yowell International, a Veteran-owned small business, routes project import and export cargo across Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal.

"The fulfillment of Marine Group Boat Works’ contract to provide Navy support vessels, and the use of the Port of San Diego to ship them out, illustrates the importance of our port to the U.S. military," said San Diego Port Commission Chair Robert "Dukie" Valderrama. "As a federally designated Strategic Port, we continue to play a special role in national security as well as our region’s military presence."


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