The US ocean towing business is largely dependent on government work, or at least government funded work, that requires the use of US flag tugs. Generally, US flag tugs are not competitive in the international market for obvious reasons, such as US tax laws, much higher crew costs, etc.
Government funded work is a very important portion of what many tug companies do.
Normally, the US oil patch also provides a lot of very profitable towing work, but it does not look like there will be much of that for the next few years.
I'm hearing a very bleak outlook for the next few years from most managers and owners at tug companies. It seems like more and more tugs are for sale at falling prices. Obviously, well established and well managed tug companies of some size with reasonable overhead and without too much leverage are going to continue to do ok. Some companies are not going to survive.