Marine Towing of Tampa, LLC was founded in October 1999 by a group of local towing professionals - ending a monopoly on harbor tug services that existed for several decades in the Tampa Bay area.
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One partner, James C. Brantner, began operating tugboats on the Tampa waterfront in 1957 and has served at every level within the industry. He also had the honor of being named Maritime Person of the Year for the Port of Tampa in February 2000.
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Operations Manager Dwayne Keith dispatched the harbor tugs as a college student and has worked continuously in the local maritime community ever since, including a stint as a local steamship agent and served as president of the Port of Tampa Propeller Club in 2011- 2012. Along with seasoned shore-side personnel, Marine Towing’s tug Masters and crewmembers have many years of experience — assisting in the movement of thousands of vessels.
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Another partner, James S. Kimbrell, came to Tampa in 1965 as one of the early employees of the St. Philip Towing Company and remained to serve in just about every onshore position imaginable with the firm (and successor companies) until ultimately serving as its president.
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Controller Lori Palmer attended college in Colorado; earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting, a Masters of Business Administration, and became a Certified Public Accountant. She moved to Tampa in 1992, and began her career in the tug boat business in 1997. Lori is responsible for the company’s administrative and accounting functions.
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Director of Operations, Norman Atkins, began working on the harbor tugs during summer break while still a high school student over thirty years ago. He spent his college years in the harbor operations department and has been involved with ship docking on Tampa Bay ever since. Along with
his current senior management position, he is also responsible for the company’s marketing activity.
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Captain James R. Brantner's career on Tugboats commenced in 1983 as a deckhand and in 1986 was promoted to Captain. His early experience in the industry included various harbor assignments including ship assist and fuel barge movements in Tampa Bay. He was the Master of the very first Tractor Tug to enter service in Tampa and has been the first to command the majority of the new Tractor Tugs introduced to the Port. His expertise in operating Tractor Tugs spanned to Kingsbay Navy Submarine Base docking Trident Class Submarines, Sao Luis, Brazil docking the largest bulk carriers in the world, San Francisco Bay and performed full-scale tanker escort trials that were used to create and implement guidelines and procedures that are still in effect today. He Participated in a full scale tanker escort study for Chevron Corporation in the Gulf of Mexico to establish Tractor Tug escort requirements for Prince William Sound Alaska. Was contracted to work with Turecamo and Evergreen and the Port of Charleston, S.C. to maneuver the largest container ships ever to call on Charleston and to demonstrate indirect towing and transverse arrest maneuvers. Capt. Brantner was in charge of many short-term offshore towing operations; most noteworthy was an assignment in 1989 providing tug assist to the MILITARY SEALIFT COMMAND/Dept. of Defense. Currently he is serving as Port Captain for Marine Towing Tampa, LLC and is responsible for training and day-to-day operations.

In short, Marine Towing is proud to have the most seasoned and knowledgeable
group of harbor towing professionals on Tampa Bay.