Grand naming for Østensjø’s dual-fuel trio
Three of the more notable tugs deliveries in recent times have now completed the process of their entry into service with the traditional name-giving ceremony at Hammerfest in Norway.
MJ has been following progress with Østensjø Rederi’s three new dual-fuel, LNG/diesel escort tugs Dux, Pax and Audax since first news of the order surfaced and the roll-call of guests present at the name-giving, which was held in perhaps not entirely unusual late summer Norwegian weather conditions of a temperature of 6’C and driving rain, indicates the significance of the project in the world of terminal escort and shiphandling towage.
Sponsors of the trio were Ms Unni M.S. Fjær, Ms Inger Vik Framnes and Ms Siv Halvorsen who each named the vessels. Also in attendance, on behalf of owner Østensjø were chairman of the board Johannes Østensjø, chief executive officer Kenneth Walland and project manager Carl-Johan Amunsden. Astilleros Gondán SA, Spanish builder of the trio was represented by company president Álvaro Platero and financial director Luis Cotarelo. Last but by no means least designer of the tugs, Robert Allan Ltd was represented by executive chairman of the board Rob Allan.
The adoption of LNG in ships (typically in a dual-fuel arrangement) is often geographically linked to easy availability of the fuel within the area of operation. Norwegian fjord ferries on fixed routes can benefit from established bunkering infrastructure and have used LNG for many years now. Similarly, Norwegian-based offshore support vessels can benefit from easy availability of the fuel when employed on long-term fixed-route charters. Recently Cardissa, the world’s first sea-going LNG-bunkering vessel with the ability to load for example from the new breakbulk facility at Rotterdam’s GATE LNG terminal was named in Rotterdam. How such developments may, if at all affect the thinking surrounding alternative-fuelled shiphandling tugs remains to be seen but that is another subject.
Dux, Pax and Audax will receive their fuel from Statoil’s Melkøya LNG terminal at Hammerfest where they will be operating and feedback from the crews after the first few months of operation has been ‘exceptionally positive’ with ‘rave reviews’ for vessel performance, seakeeping and overall handling and stability. They represent the culmination of over two decades of research and development by Robert Allan Ltd in particular ‘proving that properly-designed ASD tugs can perform this arduous service at the highest levels of capability.’
The RAstar 4000-DF ASD-configured tugs are capable of high steering and braking forces in escort mode along with a high free-running speed for when connecting with tankers underway. Additional duties include emergency towing, off-ship firefighting and oil spill containment and recovery with accommodation described as generous in size including a large gym and spacious ship’s office provided for a crew of up to eight.
By Peter Barker
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