April 1, 2017

The following guidelines have been developed to determine adequate tug assistance for docking and undocking in the Port of Houston. Similar docks have been grouped and coupled with vessel size and draft information. Assist tugs are then designated by the circumstances of the docking or undocking maneuver. Tugs are categorized by “bollard pull” as provided by area operators. Bollard pull is used rather than horsepower to rate tugs effectiveness. Additionally, the tug’s design type, tractor or conventional has a definite bearing on effectiveness and desirability.




Vessel LOA Thruster Horsepower
More than 900’ 2,500
More than 900' (Bayport and Barbours Cut Only) 2,400
751' - 900' 2,000
551' - 750' 980
501' - 550' 730
451' - 500' 565
350' - 450' 400
Less than 350' 200



Big ZTECH can substitute for any class except small
Mini ZTECH can substitue for T, L, T can substitute for S, M or L
L can substitute for S or M
M can substitute for S except arrivals less than 30’

Bow thruster substitutes for smallest tug

A Widebody is defined as any vessel with a beam of 120' or greater

All vessels requiring tug escort will be of tractor tug design (T, C, or Z).

All vessels with drafts of over 40’-00” will be provided with a Big ZTECH tug as an extended assist tug from Morgan’s Point to destination dock and from departure dock to Morgan’s Point.

Thrusters must meet the following minimum requirement of available horsepower to substitute for a tug. (1 KW equals 1.35 HP)




Class Ahead Astern
S (Small; compact) 35,000 20,000
M (Medium; diamond class) 60,000 45,000
L (Large; twin-screws) 85,000 55,000
T (Tractor) 100,000 90,000
C (Mini ZTECH) 125,000 112,500
Z (Big ZTECH) 160,000 150,000



As always any vessel specific concerns should be discussed with the Houston Pilots because the ultimate decision falls to the pilot. Ships and the waters in which they operate represent a dynamic, ever-changing environment. Firm rules addressing every possible scenario are not possible. The individual pilot on board is best situated to evaluate the specific docking and/or undocking evolution contemplated by the vessel and the prevailing weather, current, and traffic situation affecting the vessel. These guidelines are recommendations only. It is recognized that the on-scene discretion of the pilot and master should not be hindered. The following guidelines regarding tug assistance for docking and undocking are in no way intended to limit, hinder, or override the on-scene discretion of the pilot. We realize that there will be situations where actions that conflict with these recommendations may be necessary to address specific situations or special circumstances that confront a specific vessel. Further, it is recognized that the vessel, tug design, and terminal configuration may change requiring a departure from the current tug assistance for docking and undocking guidelines.




Vessel size Draft Arrival Departure Notes
<400’ Any S S
<500’ <30’ - S *Head out sailing
>550' and <650' Any LL LL *ETMP - LPG only
>650' Any TT TT *ETMP - LPG only
<600’ <30’ LL MM
<600’ ≥30’ LL MM
601’-750’ <30’ LL LL
601’-750’ ≥30’ LL LL
750’-900’ <30’ LL LL
750’-900’ ≥30’ TL TL/LL
750’-900’ ≥30’ TL TL/LL
>900’ <30’ TL TL/LL
>900’ ≥30’ ZT/TT TT/TL
>949’ any ZT/TT ZT/TT
<900’ (widebody) <35' TT TT *ETMP = EM 7 + 8
<900’ (widebody) ≥35' TT TT *ETMP = EM 7 + 8
>900’ (widebody) any ZZ/ZTT ZT/TT *no thruster substitute
>1000’ any ZZZ ZZ *no thruster substitute **Bayport only
>1100’ any ZZZZ ZZZ *no thruster substitute **Bayport only
NOTICE: Thruster substitution exception for Barbours Cut/ Bayport Container Terminal: Container vessels with 35' draft or more and more than 120' beam must have at least two tugs. Container vessels of 750’ LOA or more must have at least two tugs if turning.



Vessel size Draft Arrival Departure Notes
<400’ Any S S
<500’ <30’ SS SS
<500’ ≥30’ MS SS
<550’ <30’ - S *head out sailing
501’-650’ <30’ LS LS
501’-650’ ≥30’ LM LM
>650’ <30’ LL LL
>650’ ≥30’ LL LL
NOTICE: No minimum tug requirement for LBC docks.



Vessel size Draft Arrival Departure Notes
<500’ <30’ SS S * no thruster substitute
<500’ ≥30’ MS M * no thruster substitute
501’-650’ <30’ LM MS * no thruster substitute
501’-650’ ≥30’ LL LM * no thruster substitute
>650’ <30’ LL LM * no thruster substitute
>650’ ≥30’ LL LL * no thruster substitute



Vessel size Draft Arrival Departure Notes
<500’ <30’ SS SS * no thruster substitute
<500’ ≥30’ MM MS * no thruster substitute
501’-650’ <30’ LM MS * no thruster substitute
501’-650’ ≥30’ LL LM * no thruster substitute
>650’ <30’ LL LM * no thruster substitute
>650’ ≥30’ TLL LL * no thruster substitute
Widebody (Berth 6) <34’ TLL/LLL LL * no thruster substitute
Widebody (Berth 6) ≥34’ TLL/LLLM LL * no thruster substitute
Widebody (Berth 4 & 5) <34’ ZZT LL * no thruster substitute
Widebody (Berth 4 & 5) ≥34’ ZZT TL/LL * no thruster substitute



Vessel size Draft Arrival Departure Notes
<400’ Any SS SS * no thruster substitute
<500’ <30’ SS SS
<500’ ≥30’ MS SS
501’-650’ <30’ LL LL
501’-650’ ≥30’ LL LL
>650’ <30’ TL LL
>650’ ≥30’ TZ LL
Widebody <34’ CZ CZ *aft tug 2400 series
Widebody ≥34’ CCZ CCZ *aft tug 2400 series
Non Widebodies ≥40’ CZ CZ



Vessel size Draft Arrival Departure Notes
<400’ Any S S
<500’ <30’ SS SS
<500’ ≥30’ SS SS
501’-650’ <30’ LS MS
501’-650’ ≥30’ LM LM
>650’ <30’ LL LM
>650’ ≥30’ LL LL



Vessel size Draft Arrival Departure Notes
<400’ Any S S * no thruster substitute
<500’ <30’ SS SS
<500’ ≥30’ MS SS
501’-650’ <30’ LS LS
501’-650’ ≥30’ LL LM
>650’ <30’ LL LL
>650’ ≥30’ LL LL
Widebody (VoPak #3) <34’ LL LL
Widebody (VoPak #3) ≥34’ TL/LLL LL
NOTICE: Vopak docks have one tug minimum.



ITC

Vessel size Draft Arrival Departure Notes
<400’ Any S S
<400’ (Berth 3) Any SS SS
<400’ (Berth 7 & 8) Any SS SS * boat men safety
<500’ <30’ SS SS
<500’ ≥30’ MS SS
<550’ (Berth 1 & 2) <30’ S *head out sailing
501’-650’ <30’ LS MS
501’-650’ ≥30’ TL LL
>650’ <30’ TL LL
>650’ ≥30’ TT LL
Widebody <34’ TT LL
Widebody ≥34’ TT TL
NOTICE: ITC berth 3 restricted to (S) compact tugs per tow company



Vessel size Draft Arrival Departure Notes
<400’ Any S S
<500’ <30’ SS SS
<500’ ≥30’ SS SS
<550’ <30’ S * head out sailing
501’-650’ <30’ LM LS
501’-650’ ≥30’ LL LL
>650’ <30’ TL TL
>650’ ≥30’ TT TL
>700’ ≥35’ TT TT



Vessel size Draft Arrival Departure Notes
<500’ <30’ SS SS
<500’ ≥30’ MS SS
501’-650’ <30’ LL LM
501’-650’ ≥30’ LL LL
>650’ <30’ LL LL
>650’ ≥30’ TL LL
Widebody (Dock 1 & 3) <34’ TT TL
Widebody (Dock 1 & 3) ≥34’ TT TL
Widebody (Dock 1 & 3) ≥40’ ZT ZT
Widebody (Dock 2) <34’ TT TL
Widebody (Dock 2) ≥34’ TT TL



Vessel size Draft Arrival Departure Notes
<400’ Any S S * no thruster substitute (Shell)
<500’ <30’ SS SS
<500’ ≥30’ MS SS
<550’ <30’ S * head out sailing
* no thruster substitute (Shell)
501’-650’ <30’ LM LM
501’-650’ ≥30’ LL LM
>650’ <30’ LL LM
>650’ ≥30’ LL LM
Widebody <34’ TT TL
Widebody ≥34’ TT TL
Widebody ≥40’ ZT ZT
Widebody (Crude Dock) <34’ TT TL * no thruster substitute (Shell)
Widebody (Crude Dock) ≥34’ TT TL * no thruster substitute (Shell)
Widebody (Crude Dock) ≥40’ ZT ZT * no thruster substitute (Shell)
*Vessels going to/from ET3 when there is a vessel at ET4 require a tug combination of LLL/TT for arrivals and TT for sailings.
*Vessels going to/from ET5 when there is a vessel at ET6 require a tug combination of LLL/TT for arrivals and TT for sailings.
*Vessels going to/from ET1 or ET4-8 must have two tugs minimum. No thruster substitution for tug arrangements of two or less.
*Tug/Tow vessels going to/from ET1 or ET4-8 require one large (L) tug.



Vessel size Draft Arrival Departure Notes
<400’ Any S S * no thruster substitute
<500’ <30’ SS SS
<500’ ≥30’ LM MM
501’-650’ <30’ LL LM
501’-650’ ≥30’ TL TL
>650’ <30’ TT TL
>650’ ≥30’ TT TL *no thruster substitute



Vessel size Draft Arrival Departure Notes
<400’ Any S S
<500’ <30’ SS SS
<500’ ≥30’ SS SS
<550’ <30’ S * head out sailing
501’-650’ <30’ LM LS
501’-650’ ≥30’ LM LM
>650’ <30’ LL LM
>650’ ≥30’ LL LL



Vessel size Draft Arrival Departure Notes
<400’ Any S S * no thruster substitute (Targa)
<500’ <30’ SS SS
<500’ ≥30’ MM MS
<550’ <30’ S * head out sailing (Ex. Targa)
501’-650’ <30’ LS LS * no thruster substitute (Targa)
501’-650’ ≥30’ LL LL * no thruster substitute (Targa)
>650’ Any TT TT * no thruster substitute (Targa)



Vessel size Draft Arrival Departure Notes
<400’ Any S S
<500’ <30’ SS SS
<500’ ≥30’ MS SS
501’-650’ <30’ LS MS
501’-650’ ≥30’ LM MM
>650’ <30’ LM LM
>650’ ≥30’ LL LL
Any (Berths D, E, F) Any S S * mandatory thruster + tug
*Woodhouse Slip 3 & Sims Bayou restricted to (S) compact tugs. Per tow company.
*Woodhouse Slip 2 restricted to (S) compact tugs or (L) twin screw tugs depending on vessel size. Per tow company.



Vessel size Draft Arrival Departure Notes
<400’ Any S S
<500’ <30’ SS SS
<500’ ≥30’ LM MM
501’-650’ <30’ TL TL
501’-650’ ≥30’ TT TL
>650’ Any TT TT *no thruster substitute



Vessel size Draft Arrival Departure Notes
<400’ Any S S * no thruster substitute
<500’ <30’ SS SS * no thruster substitute
<500’ ≥30’ LM MM * no thruster substitute
501’-600’ <30’ TL TL * no thruster substitute
501’-600’ ≥30’ TT TL * no thruster substitute
>600’ <30’ TL TL * no thruster substitute
>600’ ≥30’ TT TT * no thruster substitute
>700’ Any TT TT * no thruster substitute



Vessel size Draft Arrival Departure Notes
<400’ Any S S
<500’ <30’ SS SS
<500’ ≥30’ MS SS
<550’ <30’ S * head out sailing
501’-650’ <30’ LS MS
501’-650’ ≥30’ LM MM
>650’ <30’ LM LM
>650’ ≥30’ TL LL



Vessel size Draft Arrival Departure Notes
<500’ <30’ LS SS
<500’ ≥30’ LM LS
>500’ <30’ L LS
>500’ ≥30’ LL LM



Vessel size Draft Arrival Departure Notes
All Car Carriers Any TL TL *with thruster
All Car Carriers Any TT TT *without thruster
Bahri Ships Any TL TL *without thruster



Vessel size Draft Arrival Departure Notes
<400’ <20’ S S
<400’ ≥20’ M S
401’-600’ <20’ L M
401’-600’ ≥20’ L L
>600’ <20’ L L
>600’ ≥20’ L L
NOTICE: Matrix does not apply to oceangoing tug barge units going to the following docks: Exxon #1-6, Shell Crude, Targa #1 & #2, Westway Terminal #2, Intercontinental #7, Intercontinental #8.