There are no fewer than 16 deliveries to report this month, eight of which are a series of Rotortugs for the same owner from two yards in Vietnam and China.

Starting with the Rotortug deliveries, six of the Robert Allan Ltd designed, 85tbp ART 85-32W class vessels were built at Damen’s Song Cam shipyard in Vietnam, the remaining two coming from Cheoy Lee Shipyards in Hong Kong. All eight are now operating at Port Hedland, Western Australia for Pilbara Marine Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of Fortescue Metals Group (FMG). Kotug is contract holder for the operation on behalf of FMG.

Following delivery of Odin in 2010 and Nero in 2013, S.T. Marine Support has taken delivery of Auxilia, its third Multi Cat from Damen Hardinxveld and the first example of Damen’s Multi Cat 3513, providing an increased deck and winch capacity to meet the client’s requirements. Damen’s ability to provide service support globally was a factor in the choice, the detail of this new model of Multi Cat based around the specific requirements of S.T. Marine Support.

Another owner returning to tugs designed by Damen is Wilson Sons Group who recently took delivery of the WS Aries from Wilson Sone Estaleiros joining the earlier delivered WS Sirius with the claim of being the most powerful escort tugs in Brazil. With a length of 32m and bollard pull of 90t WS Aries has a render recovery winch and Adalberto Souza, executive director at Wilson Sons Estaleiros states: “With more technology and power available, the number of options to assist decision making during operations is increased, making it overall safer.”

When Caspian Offshore Construction required rapid delivery of a small ice-classed tug Damen was a natural choice with its business model of building vessels for stock which allowed delivery of the Stan Tug 1606 ICE Caspian Flora from its Changde facility in China just six weeks after contract signing. Over 80 of this class have been sold in the last 15 years alone and despite the level of standardisation, a degree of customisation included: extra air-conditioning, a crane, capstan and GMDSS A2 capabilities, some of this work was carried out following delivery to Kazakhstan.

Turkey’s Uzmar Shipyards recently delivered two RAL-designed 80tbp escort tugs for Svitzer Australia. Svitzer Ruby is now supporting LNG import operations at Port Kembla while Svitzer Redhead is operating in Fremantle. The former features a render recovery winch, fifi1 notation, an LNG operational protection package and an aft-deck winch for conventional towing duties.

Progress with the development of so called ‘Green’ tugs, be they dual-fuel, pure LNG or various mechanical/hybrid combinations is somewhat patchy, influenced among other things by the availability of (at times) relatively inexpensive conventional fuel. South East Asia is seeing interest of late, delivery of the dual-fuel shiphandling tug PSA Aspen by PaxOcean Shipyard Pte Ltd for PSA Marine of Singapore being an example.

The 56tbp, Niigata-powered tug is an RAL RAmparts 2800-DF design and continues a relationship between RAL and PSA Marine that dates back to 2002 with currently more than two dozen Z-Tech, RAmparts and RAstar tugs operating for PSA Marine. PSA Aspen is the first dual-fuel tug for the company and the first such RAL-designed tug in service in Asia.

Further success for RAL in the region with the RAmparts 2800 (conventional fuel) is evidenced with delivery of Cao Gang 27 by Jiangsu Zhenjiang Shipyard to Caofeidian Tugging Services, Tangshan Port. The Chinese Classification Society classed tug is a customised version with a shallow draught and ice-strengthened hull.

Swapping continents now but continuing the theme of fuel-efficient tugs, Eastern Shipbuilding has delivered the Capt. Jim McAllister to US-based McAllister Towing for operation at Charleston. The Tier IV, Caterpillar-powered tug is last in a series of four and offers an impressive bollard pull of 83.7 tons with Markey winches forward and aft providing both shiphandling and conventional towing capabilities.

Finally, on the order front Med Marine and Abu Dhabi Ports have signed a contract for a MED-A2360 series tug to meet expanding activities at Khalifa Port. The 50tbp vessel is another RAL design, on this occasion a RAmparts 2300-MM Med Marine exclusive model and follows delivery of a sister-vessel for operation at Puerto Quetzal for Saam’s Guatemala operation.

By Peter Barker