Musketeer Fury

Musketeer Fury – Tender Panther – Margarita – Vortice – Norfolk – Samuel de Champlain


Articulated Tugboat, Bludworth Coupler; Paired with Barge Innovation

Samuel de Champlain in the notch of Innovation, on the St. Marys River, July 20, 2017. Photo by Roger LeLievre


Build Information

Year Built: 1975

Builder: Mangone Shipyard, Houston, TX

Hull #120

Registry: U.S. 1077852

IMO #7433799

Laid Down: 1975

Launch Date: 1975

Commissioned: 1976

Paired Barges:


The Samuel de Champlain was built in 1975 by Mangone Shipyard of Houston, Texas, as the large harbor tugboat Musketeer Fury for Bernhard Hansen AS of Norway.

She was later rebuilt in 2006 and equipped with a Bludworth-Style Articulated Tug-Barge Connection system and paired with the cement barge Innovation.


  • Rebuilt, Sea Force Marine, Norfolk, Virginia, 1998.
  • Upper pilothouse added, Bay Shipbuilding, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, 2005.
  • Bludworth ATB connection system installed, Bay Shipbuilding, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, 2005.

General Stats

Length Overall [Combined Tug & Barge]: 544′

Length Overall [Tug]: 140’02”

Breadth: 39’02”

Depth: 20′

Vessel Type: Articulated Tugboat

Propellers: 2

Rudders: 2

Engineering Equipment



Engine Type: Diesel Engine

Engine Manufacturer: General Motors Electro-Motive Division, Chicago, IL

Engine Model: EMD 20-645-E5

Number of Engines: 2

Rated HP: 7,200 BHP



Musketeer Fury – 1976-1978

Owner: Bernhard Hansen AS, Norway

Operator: Bernhard Hansen AS

Flag: Norway

Home Port: —

Tender Panther – 1978-1979

Owner: —

Operator: —

Flag: —

Home Port: —

Margarita – 1979-1983

Owner: —

Operator: —

Flag: —

Home Port: —

Vortice – 1983-1996

Owner: —

Operator: —

Flag: Italy

Home Port: —

Vortice – 1996-1998

Owner: McKeil Marine LTD., Burlington, ON

Operator: —

Flag: Canada

Home Port: —

Norfolk – 1998-2005

Owner: Sea Force Marine, Norfolk, VA

Operator: —

Flag: United States

Home Port: Norfolk, VA

Samuel de Champlain – 2006-Present

Owner: American Transport Leasing, Muskegon, MI [Under cargo charter to Holcim]

Operator: Andrie, Inc., Muskegon, MI

Flag: United States

Home Port: Cleveland, OH


The Samuel de Champlain remains in service today, pushing the barge Innovation.

Her Story

The Samuel de Champlain was built in 1975 by Mangone Shipyard of Houston, Texas, as the large harbor tugboat Musketeer Fury for Bernhard Hansen AS of Norway. She was completed and entered service in 1976.

In 1978, Bernhard Hansen sold the tug, and she was renamed Tender Panther. She was sold again in 1979, being renamed Margarita. In 1983, Margarita was sold Italian and renamed Vortice.

Vortice suffered a major fire while off of the Azores in 1993. The burnt out hull was laid up at Trieste, Italy, until 1996 when it was sold to McKeil Marine of Burlington, Ontario. The hull was towed across the Atlantic to McKeil’s facilities in Hamilton, Ontario. She remained in layup. In 1998, the tug was sold once again to Sea Force Marine of Norfolk, Virginia, who took her down to Norfolk where she was rebuilt and renamed Norfolk. She never saw service under that name, remaining in layup until 2005 when she was sold to American Transport Leasing.

Norfolk was brought back to the Great Lakes in July 2005 and taken to Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, where an upper pilothouse was added and she was fitted with a Bludworth style articulated tug-barge system to be paired with the new cement barge Innovation, being constructed at the shipyard at the time. Norfolk was renamed Samuel de Champlain in early 2006, and was paired with her barge in May 2006. The pair entered service on June 3, 2006, departing Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, for Alpena, Michigan, to load cement.

The Innovation / Samuel de Champlain continue to serve Holcim cement, being operated and managed by Andrie, Inc. of Muskegon, Michigan.

Compiled By Brendan Falkowski

Updated on November 3, 2020



Greenwood’s Guide to Great Lakes Shipping 2016, Harbor House Publishers, 2016. Pp. 6.9.

Pennock, Isaac. “Samuel de Champlain”. Great Lakes Tugs & Workboats. N.d. Accessed 6 October 2020. <>