GSS Marine Services has increased its Damen tug fleet with the recent christening of the Shoalbuster 3209 ''Wil S'' at the builder’s yard at Hardinxveld, the Netherlands.

UK-headquartered GSS Marine Services is an expanding company providing marine construction and support services globally. Involved in a number of sectors including diving support and the offshore renewables industry it was founded with the aim of providing high-quality plant and labour to the Royal Navy. Its continuing relationship with the Ministry of Defence includes as a prime contractor at the Faslane Facility (nuclear submarine base).

Based at Rosneath, Argyll & Bute in Scotland GSS also has a presence in mainland Europe with an office at Maassluis the Netherlands, a historic small port close to Rotterdam and regarded as a spiritual home of the Dutch towing industry. The company has a mixed fleet of over 20 vessels, mainly tug/workboats but also including a variety of other plant from RIBs to pontoons and this latest addition to its family adds to the Dutch connection which also includes a number of Eurocarriers in its fleet.

So it was a typically grand Dutch christening ceremony at Hardinxveld where Wil S was handed over by Damen’s new building manager Mr Peter Baas to GSS Marine Services managing director Mr Jan Peute. Sponsor lady for the vessel was Miss Leanne Peute, daughter of Mr Peute.

Shoalbusters are now firmly established as popular and proven multipurpose tug/workboats which as their name suggested are designed around the requirement for working in shallow waters. Dredging support and anchor-handling for cable-layers operating close inshore are typical situations suited to the design.

Wil S is classed by Bureau Veritas with the notation: 1+ Hull, Mach, Unrestricted Navigation, AUT-UMS, Dutch Shipping Inspectorate continuous service and flies the Dutch flag, homeported in Maassluis. Its roles include: towing, mooring, pushing, anchor-handling and dredging support. Main dimensions include: length 32.27m, beam 9.35m, depth at half-length at sides 4.4m and shallow draft aft 3.3m.

The main engines are two Caterpillar 3512C TA/HD each developing 1,305bkW (1,750bhp) at 1,600rpm and power is transmitted to twin Promarin fixed-pitch propellers turning in 2,250mm V.d. Giessen Optima nozzles via Reintjes WAF773 gearboxes with reduction ratios of 6.44:1. Manoeuvrability is enhanced by a 257kW (350bhp) hydraulically driven bow thruster. Performance figures following trials showed an average and maximum bollard pull ahead of 50.2 tonnes and 50.7 tonnes respectively with free-running speed coming in at 11.6 knots.

Auxiliary machinery equipment is extensive and headlined by two Caterpillar C-4.4TA gensets. The fuel separator is a Westfalia type OTC-2 and transfer pumps for water and fuel are VWSI type 8020 with capacity 50m3/hr at 4.8bar. Power for the hydraulics is via a Caterpillar C-18 TA-B engine producing 357kW at 1,800rpm and compressor capacity is 950l/min along with two at 175l/min.

Additional auxiliary equipment includes a Hamman Super Mini sewage treatment plant (sufficient for a complement of 12 persons) and a bilge water separator supplied by Facet (type CPS-2.5MkIII) with capacity of 0.5m3/hr. A freshwater manufacturing plant is also included with capacity of 4.5m3/day at sea temperature of 25’C.

As is to be expected with Damen’s Shoalbusters the deck machinery is comprehensive and reflects the multipurpose roles Wil S will be asked to carry out. DMT Marine Equipment is a Dutch-based deck equipment specialist who in just 15 years has become a global supplier with representation in: Ukraine, China, Turkey and Brazil and its equipment features on the latest tug.

On the foredeck a double-drum DMT type AW200-H19K2 hydraulic anchor winch is fitted, rated at 15.3m at 10m/min. Two Pool (HHP) anchors of 360kg each with 220m of 19mm stud-link anchor chain are provided. The afterdeck is provided with a DMT type WATW-H1000KN double-drum towing/anchor-handling winch. The towing drum has 50 ton pull and 150 ton brake holding power with capacity for 800m of 44mm wire (10m/min). The anchor-handling drum has 100 ton pull and 150 ton brake holding power and this drum holds 600m of 40/50mm wire with capacity of 5m/min.

HS-Marine supplied an AKC 210 16HE4 deck crane aft (mounted atop the towing guide bracket) with lifting capacity of 6,440kg at 17.07m. Also on the afterdeck, to port is a Dromec HPV-12000 tugger winch, capacity 12t at 12m/min. WK-Hydraulic towing pins are included with SWLs of 50 tons and 75 tons.

Tank capacities for Wil S include: 220m3 fuel oil, 40.8m3 fresh water, 7.3m3 lube oil, 3.1m3 hydraulic oil, 4.3m3 dirty oil, 3.3m3 sewage and 4.3m3 bilge water. Damen’s usual high standard is evident throughout the accommodation with space for eight persons in two single and three double cabins. Galley, mess room and sanitary facilities comply with ILO regulations.

Modern wheelhouses on vessels of this type have come a long way and a typical horseshoe-shaped console with two centre-line seats is provided along with duplicate manoeuvring controls overlooking the aft deck. Starboard side forward is home to a chart table. Furuno features extensively in the navigation equipment fit including: FAR-2117 radar, GP-150D GPS, FE700 echo sounder, NX700 Navtex, BR-500 bridge watch alarm and FA-150 AIS. Communications provision meets GMDSS Area A3 requirements and includes: two Sailor RT6222 VHFs, two Jotron TR20 handheld VHFs, a Sailor 6210 SSB/DSC set, Two Inmarsat C Sailor 6110 sets, a Thrane model 6310 SSB, a Sigma 700 intercom system and finally a Globesurfer III GSM telephone.

By Peter Barker