This month’s round-up includes three items of news concerning orders of note with further signs of the popularity of Turkish-built tugs for UK operators.

Starting with news from France, Boluda France a subsidiary of Boluda Corporacion Maritime (Spain) enjoys a productive relationship with French shipbuilder Piriou stretching back 20 years and involving a growing list of series-built tugs. New additions have now been announced with confirmation of an order for two vessels, to be built at Piriou’s Vietnam facilities for delivery in May 2020.

The pair will be significant vessels with increased power compared to the previous generation and based on Piriou’s OST 30 (Omni Stern Tug) design including notation for escort duties. Multipurpose vessels capable of deepsea as well as ship-assist work the ASD-configured tugs will offer 77tbp on a hull length of 30.3m. A towing winch aft and double-drum forward winch (with escort function) have been specified for the pair along with fifi1 capability.

Turning to two orders of interest from UK owners with Turkish shipyards, the Northern Isles archipelagos of Orkney and Shetland to the north of Scotland have been making the news regarding their local council owned shiphandling tug provision. Last year, Shetland Islands Council finally brought to a close the long-running story of resolving problems with two Spanish-built tugs by first chartering, then purchasing the Damen ASD 3212s Multratug 29 and Multratug 30 from Multraship, now renamed Tirrick and Shalder respectively.

Shetland’s southerly neighbour Orkney Islands Council is now in the news with announcement of an agreement with Turkey’s Sanmar Shipyards for construction of two Robert Allan Ltd designed RAstar 3200-SX tugs. Described as “… the first two in a new series of extremely cost-effective RAstar 3200-SX tugs” they are designated the Kocacay series by Sanmar and modified to meet the customers specific local needs.

They are designed with a shallower draught than comparable high-performance escort tugs, the maximum draught being 5.47m. The pair will clearly be significant additions offering multifunctional capabilities and an impressive bollard pull of up to 84t ahead, 77t astern and braking force almost 120t via 2,350kW Caterpillar engines powering Rolls-Royce CP azimuth thrusters. Full fire-fighting capability and forward and aft winches will make them more capable than Orkney Islands Council’s present tugs.

Brian Archibald, head of marine services and the Council’s harbour master said: “The current tugs have served us very well indeed for over 30 years and the three vessels, with their highly skilled crews, have provided an excellent service to the highest standards. However, in order for Scapa Flow to maintain its faultless safety record and to continue to thrive as an income generator for Orkney, the new tugs are essential.”

While perhaps not to the same scale as the Orkney Islands order, another contract awarded by a UK operator to a Turkish shipyard is of interest with Burntisland, Fife-based Briggs Marine & Environmental Services’ order for a 10tbp line-handling boat from Med Marine. The vessel is designed by Istanbul-based Tomay Ship Design, a company particularly active in the design of chemical and product tankers.

With a length (including fenders) of 14m on a maximum beam of 5.5m and draught of 2m, the new vessel will be powered by two Volvo Penta D13 main engines with total output 736kW. Power is transmitted to two 900mm four-bladed aluminium bronze propellers in fixed nozzles via ZF W350-1 gearboxes. Vulkan will provide the flexible couplings with Data Hidrolik supplying the steering gear.

Carrying the general notation RINA C+, HULL, MACH the line-handler is due to be delivered by Med Marine’s Ereğli Shipyard to Briggs Marine in October 2019.

Finally, Robert Allan Ltd’s Z-Tech design tugs have been enjoying a regular mention in this column recently and an item of interest from the Far East is the delivery of the Z-Tech 5000 Guilin to South China Towing Co Ltd. Built by Cheoy Lee Shipyards and classed by BV, Guilin has a distinctive appearance thanks to a new deckhouse design.

Niigata supply both the main engines and Z-drive units with 6L26HLX diesels each rated 1,41kW at 750rpm powering ZP31 thrusters producing a bollard pull of 52.7t and free running speed 12.5kn. Yanmar provide two diesel gensets and a Yamax hydraulic towing winch is fitted forward with accommodation provided for a crew of six persons.

By Peter Barker