From their early beginnings, and first patent in 1926, the original white gill thrusters were groundbreaking in design.
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Major James Herbert Gill, a British Army engineer, develops a range of axial flow pumps, the first 5" units of which are adapted into jet propulsion units utilizing Major Gill's idea of a rotating thrust deflector.
Patents are obtained in most European countries by the newly founded Gill Propeller Company, for the application this axial flow pump assembly and deflector into marine propulsion units.
The first large 25" propulsion units were built under license by Vickers Armstrong Engineers, UK for a small car ferry in Fredriksstad, Norway. The units continued to operate continuously until 1972, when the ferry was finally scrapped and replaced by a bridge. From this year onward, large numbers of small jet units, from 5" up to 20" diameter, are supplied to many areas of the world, for applications such as small river ferries in Africa and Far East, tug and barge units in Central and South America and river barges in the U.K. and Europe.
Death of Major Gill.
The Gill Pump and Propulsion Company is formed to continue sales of the Gill Pump Jet, with manufacture being undertaken under license by the Rowhedge Iron Works in U.K.
Special 27 1/2" units are built to power float barges used for carrying battle tanks for the British Army in Germany. The last of these float barges is retired in 1986.
The rights to manufacture and sell the Gill Thruster are bought by J. Samuel White and Company, a major naval shipyard in Cowes, Isle of Wight, U.K.
Following an extensive development programme, the first, classification society approved, seagoing unit 24/11 White Gill thruster was fitted in "TOPMAST 20" salvage vessel.
A sister ship "TOPMAST 16" is fitted with a smaller 20/I unit. In 1989, this vessel is scrapped, but after reconditioning, is refitted into a Greek trawler.
Cable & Wireless fit their first White Gill thruster 40VST in cable ship "RECORDER"
U.K. Government Agency, the Natural Environment Research Council, fit their first White Gill thruster 32VST in their research vessel "CHALLENGER".
The Elliott Company, of Jeannette, Penn. U.S.A., purchase J. Samuel White shipyard, as a facility for the manufacture of large compressors and turbines for the North Sea.
Elliott take advantage of a major building program for North Sea oil supply vessels, over an 5 year period supplying more than 80% of all 360° bow thrusters fitted to such vessels. In one year, 1973, at the height of the building boom, Elliott supply 38 thruster units, 19 units of type 40/I and 40 VST for North Sea supply vessels alone.
In a reversion to the original application, Elliott White Gill supply two 20" pump units for flood relief and land drainage at World's End Pumping Station in U.K. Operating automatically for 2 hours in every 12 hour tidal period, units were overhauled in 1982 and 1993, the units remain in continuous daily operation (11/95).
Elliott design and patent the White Gill vertical shaft T3 thruster, with the first 3 units sold to a oilfield diving support vessel, before even detail design work had been completed.
Elliott White Gill establish a U.S. sales office and additional manufacturing facility in Springfield, Ohio.
Elliott design and patent a lightweight fabricated cross shaft thruster unit type CS, intended for retrofit projects as an easy to fit unit, with the first units being sold into the North Sea for conversion of fishing vessels into oil rig safety vessels.
Elliott close the Cowes manufacturing facility but White Gill operation continues from a new Isle of Wight location, with sub assembly and final assembly under sub-contract to Husbands Shipyard, Southampton.
Tees Components, an established engineering firm in the North East of England, begins manufacturing thruster components as principle heavy machinist to Elliott.
The largest unit built in the Springfield facility, a 60T3, is delivered to the State of Alaska Marine Highway for the car ferry "Columbia".
Production is halted in the U.S. and responsibility for total world sales and manufacturing reverts to the U.K. sales operation in Basingstoke.
The U.S Navy orders an uprated 50T3S for the first of a new class of AGOR research vessels built at Halter Marine, Moss Point. At present time (11/95), Elliott has supplied further 3 units for additional vessels in class, including vessel for operation by NOAA.
U.K. Government Agency, the Natural Environment Research Council, fit Elliott White Gill bow and stem thrusters 50T3S and 40/I in their new Antarctic logistics 1 research vessel "JAMES CLARK ROSS", bringing to total of 8 thrusters fitted in their fleet of vessels since 1970.
The U.K. Government Agency, Northern Lighthouse Board, order a new lighthouse tender with a Elliott White Gill bow thruster 40T3S, to replace an existing 30 year old vessel, also fitted with a White Gill unit. The replaced vessel is sold to Windjammer Cruises in the U.S.A. and continues in service as a specialty cruise vessel / supply vessel for their West Indies operations.
Elliott receives order for 3 of their largest 70 T3S bow thruster units, for fitting into new cable ships under construction in Finland for Cable & Wireless Marine and their associate company in Singapore. This order brings to 22 total number of units supplied to Cable & Wireless since 1969, with one or more units fitted on every vessel they have built since 1976.
Husbands shipyard closes and complete production and assembly of thrusters is transferred to Tees Components, an established engineering firm based in the North East of England.
Modifications made to 50T3S unit onboard RV Roger Revelle to reduce noise including a new quiet rotor developed by Dr Neal Brown.
First T3S- QR “Quiet Rotor” unit sold to NOAA for install in the first of their Fisheries Research Vessels. Four more FRVs follow up to 2011 with many other research vessels also opting for the QR version.
Elliott transfer ownership of White Gill Thruster product line to Tees Components. Tees Components relocate, recruit, and train an engineering team to support existing installations.
First order for Tees White Gill for two 32HJP units for installation in Island Home, a double ended ferry for Woods Hole Steamship Authority.
Tees receive order for four 60T3S QR thrusters to be installed onboard NERCs Polar Research Vessel, Sir David Attenborough. This is the largest number of units ever installed on one vessel. This order brings a total of 13 thrusters fitted in NERCs fleet of vessels since 1970.
Taking over the business in 2005, after over 20 years as subcontractors, we have built on our excellent international reputation, evolving and adapting to establish Tees White Gill’s 360° pump jet thrusters at the forefront of design and application.Our Products
When you choose a Tees White Gill thruster, you are choosing decades of globally approved, quality British craftsmanship, expert design features and peace of mind.
British Antarctic Survey has operated a 50T3 Vertical Shaft Unit and a 40 HJP Horizontal Shaft Unit on our Research Vessel, the RRS James Clark Ross for over 27 years.
The design of the thrusters is unique for scientific research vessels. Being flush with the hull plating, the thrusters greatly reduce turbulence, which enables a suite of acoustic equipment to survey Antarctic marine life accurately. Our new vessel the ‘RRS Sir David Attenborough’ will be fitted with four TWG 60T3 Vertical Shaft Units. This will help achieve a smooth hull shape, greatly improving the accuracy of the data the vessel will collect whilst still meeting the Class requirements of Lloyds DP2.Andrew Webb, Marine Engineer, British Antarctic Survey
Byron Marine Ltd have exclusively used Tees White Gill Thrusters to service and support the 40T3S bowthruster on our multi-purpose support vessel ‘Pharos SG’ which has been operating continuously in the South Atlantic for the past 11 years. We have received excellent service and support at a reasonable cost on all aspects including quoting for and providing spare parts, service engineers during dry dockings and providing technical advice when requested.
We are satisfied with the work done, as usual the job was done with great professionalism and in a short time. Thank you very much for your support.Manuel Ramos Galan, Chief Engineer - CS Teneo
We recently did a 5 year overhaul in our unit onboard CS TENEO, during her dry docking in Dominican Republic. Tech rep attendance and job was quick, smooth and done with professionalism. The unit worked great during sea trials and is working well in current operations. We’re glad to have Tees assistance in all our overhauls.Fernando Garcia-Ruperez, Port Engineer - CS Teneo
Our vessel ‘Granuaile’ is fitted with a White Gill Bow Thruster Model 50T3S which was installed when the vessel was built back in 1999. We have had no issue with the unit whilst in service that required assistance. Tees White Gill engineers attend at our intermediate dockings to assess the unit condition and make recommendations for maintenance required at special docking (every 5 years). Tees White Gill engineers also supervise dockyard workers during all maintenance and they have always carried out required maintenance within the allotted docking timeframe thanks to their experience and planning. We have always been very happy with the service provided and never had any issues following the maintenance being carried out. Very happy with the overall service provided by Tees White Gill.Aidan O Regan, Chief Engineer - ILV Granuaile
Marine Systems Corporation has worked with the Woods Hole, Martha’s Vineyard, & Nantucket Steamship Authority’s (SSA) installation of Tees White Gill thrusters since 1993. To date Tees White Gill thrusters have been installed in the 71.6M LOA M/V MARTHA’S VINEYARD (1993 Atlantic Marine, Jacksonville, FL); the 77.7M LOA M/V ISLAND HOME (2006 VT Halter, Moss Point, MS); and the 71.6M LOA M/V WOODS HOLE (2016 Conrad Shipyard, Morgan City, LA). The Tees White Gill thruster is particularly well suited to the operational parameters of the SSA fleet of high windage and relatively shallow draft passenger vehicle ferries servicing the Massachusetts, USA islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket 365 days a year.
With full discharge capability of 360 degrees at keel depth, the Tees White Gill units provide a maneuvering reserve which is very much appreciated by the SSA fleet Captains. An added emergency bonus is a reserve “take home” capability in the event of main propulsion failure. MARTHA’S VINEYARD sea trials proved a 4.0 knot speed under thruster power alone. Significant steering capability using thruster power is experienced at vessel speeds up to 6 knots.
The installation of a Tees White Gill thruster in WOODS HOLE was a direct result of SSA Captains’ experience on MARTHA’S VINDYARD over a 23 year span of time. Frequent maneuvering in strong winter winds and year round current conditions, which are common in the SSA service area, can be challenging indeed, and these thrusters have proved their value in providing an additional margin of safety.Ed Jackson, Capt. Edward B. Jackson, Commercial Projects Manager, Retired 30 year Captain with the SSA