SLEP is a major mid-life overhaul which is expected to extend the cutter’s service life 15 years.
Morro Bay is one of nine 140-foot WTGB icebreaking tugs built between the late 1970s and early 1980s in Tacoma, Washington. Having served on the Great Lakes, mid-Atlantic and New England waterways for more than three decades, the WTGBs were due for a mid-life overhaul. Morro Bay is the first of the class to undergo SLEP.
Major SLEP work items included renewal of the crew’s berthing and messdeck, comprehensive navigation and steering systems upgrades, main propulsion motor overhaul, and installation of a new engine room water-mist fire fighting system and a modern small boat davit system.
Additionally, the icebreaking bubbler system located on the fantail was decommissioned, and a new bubbler system was installed in the engine room. This large diesel engine and its compressor required plenty of space, so the ship’s service diesel generators were moved to make room. The cutter was also sandblasted and painted top to bottom, stem to stern.
With the cutter in SLEP, Morro Bay’s crew maintained icebreaking proficiency by crew-swapping with the cutter’s sister ship Neah Bay, also homeported in Cleveland, during the 2014-2015 icebreaking season.