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Tulalip, other NW Tribes call for Navy Support of Regional Green Tug Program

Published on Fri, Dec 2, 2011 by Journal Staff

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TULALIP RESERVATION, Wash. – December 2, 2011 – The Tulalip Tribes are joining other Northwest Tribes in calling on the Navy to support a Tacoma shipyard construction of additional new Navy tugboats for the region.  The J.M. Martinac Shipbuilding Corporation employs about 100 shipbuilders, has an industry-leading veteran and Tribal journeyman program, and employs 30% of its workforce from Native American tribes.

MEDIA NOTE:   Saturday, December 3  (10:30 AM) Christening Ceremony and Launch of the Menominee Navy YT Tug:  J.M. Martinac Shipbuilding Yard, 401 East 15th Street, Tacoma, Washington.

“The construction of these tugs will allow us to continue critically needed jobs for about 100 people here in the Northwest, said Mel Sheldon, Chairman of the Tulalip Tribes.  “Further, J.M. Martinac’s operations serve as a springboard for Native American and Veteran apprenticeship programs and perpetuates an 87 year tradition of providing a steady workforce in the community,” said Sheldon.

The U.S. Navy Region Northwest has requested additional YT class ASD tugs to replace 5 older tugs now servicing aircraft carriers, submarines, and other Navy assets in the Northwest.  Navy Region Northwest cites increasing repair costs and scarce availability of parts for the existing 1970’s fleet that has exceeded its service life.

If the Tacoma shipyard receives the green light to build the boats, they are capable of deploying the Navy’s first green tugs in support of President Obama’s directive to meet or exceed a 50% fossil fuel reduction of the Navy’s fleet by 2020.

The J.M. Martinac shipyard will have built 6 YT class tugs for the Navy delivering the last tug in the contract by February 2012. These tugs have been and will be deployed to ship assist/escort Naval vessels in the N.W. Region and Yokosuka, Japan.  Most recently, the yard launched the “Puyallup” YT-806 tug in September and today the “Menominee” YT-806 class tug – named for the Menominee Indian Tribe in Wisconson.  The Puyallup and Menominee’s first port of assignment is expected to be Yokosuka, Japan .

Should the President’s budget include the Navy tug funding, and the Navy gives the green light to the Tacoma shipyard, the program will include the YT- “TULALIP”, the first battery powered service craft in the fleet. The vessel will be able to meet mission requirements using electrical power created by batteries.  

Teri Gobin, Director of Tulalip’s Tribal Employment Rights Office (T.E.R.O.) is heading up the appeal from the Tulalip Tribes.  “Our work has been to help with J.M. Martinac’s effort to make our local legislative and Congressional Delegation aware of the petition, so Congressman Dicks, Congressman Smith and Senator Murray can push to get the tug funding into the President’s budget,” said Ms. Gobin.   “J.M. Martinac Shipbuilding has supported the Native American and local economy with a family business for 87 years.  We look forward to working with them to continue to provide a Tribal workforce to meet their needs in the coming years,” said Gobin.

About the Tulalip Tribes

The Tulalip Tribes of Washington is a federally recognized Indian Tribe and the successors in interest to the Snohomish, Snoqualmie, Skykomish and other allied Tribes and bands who were signatory to the Treaty of Point Elliott.  The 22,000 acre Tulalip Indian Reservation is located north of Everett and the Snohomish River, and west of Marysville, Washington.  Tribal government provides Tribal membership with health and dental clinics, family and senior housing, human services, utilities, cultural and history activities, schools, childcare, higher education assistance and recreation.  The Tribes maintain an aggressive environmental preservation program, both on and off of the Reservation, to protect the Snohomish region’s natural resources: marine waters, tidelands, fresh water rivers and lakes, wetlands, and forests.  Developable land and an economic development zone along the I-5 corridor provide revenue and services for these efforts and for Tribal members.  This economic development is managed through Quil Ceda Village, the first tribally chartered city in the United States.  The Tribes have approximately 4,100 members, with 2,600 members living on or near the Reservation.  The governing body is the seven-member Tulalip Board of Directors.  For more information, visit