The new Shoalbuster 2208 Baloe has been delivered to Dutch tug owner Sleepvaartbedrijf Herman SR BV of Zwijndrecht by Damen Shipyards of Hardinxveldt.

Named after the Jungle Book character Baloe (Baloo in English), the new vessel completed trials just in time to join the ITS 2006 Tug Parade in Rotterdam, under the command of proprietor Jack van Dodewaard on 26 April.

Baloe replaces the Herman, a Shoalbuster of the same basic type and size recently reported in Maritime Journal as sold to the Holyhead Towing Company Ltd.

The new vessel does however have several enhancements resulting from experience gained with the earlier tug and changes in demand in the market place. Herman BV specialise in providing support to marine civil engineering and dredging projects in Europe and even further from home.

This requires a powerful, shallow draft, multi-purpose vessel capable of coastal towing and supporting floating plant on site.

Herman SR BV has worked closely with Damen in the development of Shoalbusters and this is the third such vessel to be owned by the company. They continue to operate the larger Shoalbuster 2609, Tarka, on contract work in Dubai. This latest addition to the family fleet is ideally suited to its first assignment due to commence shortly. Baloe will be working with marine contractors Van Oord on a project to lay a pipeline across the Ijsselmeer in northern Holland, where shallow draft, manoeuvrability and versatility will be of paramount importance.

Baloe complies with Bureau Veritas 1 3/3 (E) + Tug Coastal Waters 30 miles from shore MACH, and meets the requirements of Dutch Shipping Inspection for 30 nm coastal/ continuous service. With an overall length of 23.35m, the twin screw tug has a beam of 8.64m, a draft (aft) of 2.10m and measures 123 gross tons.

Construction of the hull and all major steelwork was carried out in Poland, after which it was towed to the Damen yard at Hardinxveld to have the machinery installed and fitting out completed. The rugged all steel hull is designed to combine a shallow draft with a high bollard pull and good handling characteristics. A double chine underwater design with good buoyancy and rounded bow results in good sea keeping qualities and course stability. The propellers and fixed nozzles are housed in shallow tunnels, and a bow thruster is housed in a substantial push knee on the stem. A good level of protection is provided by heavy moulded rubber fendering all round the vessel and four additional diagonal strakes fitted at the sides.

Internal tanks have the following capacities; fuel oil 45m 3; fresh water 13m 3; lubricating oils 2.0m 3. Electrically operated transfer pumps with meters and deck connections are installed to enable fuel and fresh water to be transferred to other vessels or plant at 25m 3per hour via hose reels located on the superstructure.

Baloe is powered by two Caterpillar 3412 D main engines, running at 1,800 rpm to generate a total of 1,720bhp (1,260kW), significantly more than its predecessor. The engines selected are mechanically managed and not the electronic versions.

Power is transmitted to a pair of Promarin four blade, fixed pitch propellers via Reintjes WAF 464L/5.042:1 reverse/ reduction gearboxes. The propellers are 1,600mm in diameter and rotate within fixed van der Giessen Optima high performance nozzles. On trials this propulsion system gave the vessel a bollard pull of 22.0 tons and a free running speed of 10.5 knots.

The pair of fishtail rudders installed have a total helm angle of 650 and to enhance the manoeuvrability of this already agile vessel even further a Kalkman 120hp, hydraulically operated bow thruster is fitted.

Hydraulic pressure for the bow thruster is supplied by a large pump coupled to a dedicated Caterpillar C9 auxiliary diesel of 187kW that also drives a similar hydraulic pump for the deck machinery. Electrical power aboard Baloe is supplied by a pair of Hatz 4L41 auxiliary generators. Both units are rated at 30kVA, 230/400 volt 50Hz and mounted in 'Silent Pack' housings.

A Ridderinkhof double drum hydraulic towing and anchor handling winch has independently powered drums carrying a 32mm diameter towline and a shorter, similar size anchor handling wire that may also be used to operate the towed plough. The winch has a maximum line pull of 30 tons at 6 metres per minute. Aft of the winch is located the usual heavy 'Dutch style' towing bollards that also act as an effective fairlead for the towline and anchor handling wires. A small 'tugger'winch is installed on the starboard side of the main winch mounting to assist in handling heavy gear on the after deck. Hydraulically operated towing pins and line handling gear are located just forward of the stern roller.

An integral part of the Dutch bollard is a heavy cylindrical mounting for the large, hydraulically operated knuckleboom crane. The HS Marine 4SL crane, rated at 80 tons/metre, has a long retractable jib and is capable of lifting 4.4 tons at a radius of 15.5m. A wire hoist is also provided for smaller loads.

In common with all of the tugs in the range, Baloe has a large clear working deck aft armoured with steel plate in the centre and surrounded forward and at the sides with protective hardwood cladding. The open stern is fitted with a stern roller with a diameter of 0.8m and width of 4m. A demountable 25 ton 'A' frame can be attached to fittings on deck for dredging and bed levelling with a purpose built 8m wide plough. A small Ridderinkhof hydraulic windlass is provided on the foredeck to handle the 270kg and 200kg Pool high holding power anchors. Located on the centreline, adjacent to the windlass, is a 600mm x 400mm 'moonpool' for a 'clear view' echosounder.

The standard of fitting out and interior layout in the wheelhouse and accommodation is to a very high standard and of a highly individual style to suit the owner's preferences. This is particularly evident in the spacious wheelhouse, which has a 'wrap-around'main console that places all of the main propulsion, navigational and communications equipment controls in easy reach from the centrally located 'skipper's' chair. Combined main engine and gearbox control levers, steering, bow thruster and winch controls are all located neatly to hand on either side of the tugmaster at a convenient height.

Located around the console are the controls and large VDU screens for the vessel's Furuno 2117 ARPA radar, Transas electronic plotter and integrated displays that can also include computer generated survey information. The autopilot installed is a Radio Zeeland Sea/river pilot 75 and an ECO 300 'rate of turn indicator' is also from the same manufacturer.

An additional control position, containing duplicate propulsion and steering controls, is provided in the after end of the wheelhouse overlooking the winch and after deck.

The radio equipment meets the requirements of GMDSS Area 3 and includes three Sailor RT 4822, 25W VHF radios with DSC, and a Sailor Single Sideband HT 4610/HC-4500B radio. A Fleet 33 Satellite telephone enables worldwide coverage essential to an owner/ captain. Navigational equipment installed includes a Plath gyro compass with a Lehmkuhil repeater, a Kotter type magnetic compass also with an electronic repeater, a Furuno MX42 GPS and AIS, Furuno FC-720 echosounder and a Furuno Navtex NX-500. Four large VDU screens mounted around the footwell of the main control console are used as displays for (from left to right), digital charts from a Tresco ECDIS electronic chart system, the river radar, the ARPA sea radar, and a fourth screen displaying information from a survey computer.

Provision is made in the wheelhouse for additional electronic survey equipment, with19 inch Rittal racks with 24v and 240v electrical supplies. As previously mentioned, a small moonpool is available on the foredeck and there is easy access to the wheelhouse roof and mast for additional antenna.

Fully air conditioned and heated accommodation is provided for up to five persons and comprises single cabins for the captain and chief engineer plus one single and one double cabin for the crew, all with washing facilities. A well equipped galley and sanitary spaces are also provided.