'Afon Braint' - the Latest of a Successful Breed

Afon Braint is the latest new tug delivered to Holyhead Towing by Hepworth Shipyard. Afon Braint is the latest new tug delivered to Holyhead Towing by Hepworth Shipyard.
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Once again the Holyhead Towing Company Ltd has gone back to Hepworth Shipyard Ltd at Paull for their next new tug.

This latest vessel, Afon Braint , was delivered in April, just over a year since the company completed sister ship Afon Alaw . Both tugs are based on the slightly smaller and highly successful Afon Cefni built by Hepworth in 2002.

Afon Braint is the fourth multi-purpose shallow draft tug/ work vessel to be constructed by the Humberside yard. The shallow draft vessel is in most respects identical to the earlier vessel now in service in the Caspian Sea working on terminal construction projects. Key features of the design, conceived by Hepworth working closely with the owner's technical staff, are versatility and the ability to support a wide range of marine activities. These include, dredging, coastal improvement, marine civil engineering and a wide variety of other offshore projects.

Like its predecessor Afon Braint is classed by Lloyds +100 Tug, has a full load-line certificate and complies with the UK MCA Code of Practice - Category 1 for operation 150 miles from a safe haven. The tug has an overall length of 25.5m, a beam of 9.0m and depth of 3.6m and most important of all a shallow working draft of 2.4m. A single chine hull design gives the shallow draft hull the buoyancy necessary for lifting over the stern using the powerful deck crane, and good sea-keeping characteristics. The hull is heavily fendered and features a semi-raised foredeck and bulwarks 'stepped in' significantly to prevent damage and provide safer access for personnel. A single 'push-knee', incorporating cylindrical rubber fendering, is fitted to the bow to facilitate the handling of barges and similar floating objects. Openings in the bulwarks on either side give access of the working deck aft when dealing with dredge hoses and similar pipelines. The openings may be closed when underway at sea by means of wooden shutters.

Two Cummins KTA 38M2 main engines produce a total of 2,600 brake horsepower at 1,800 rev/min and power is transmitted through a pair of ZF-Masson reverse reduction gearboxes with a 4.96:1 ratio to fixed pitch propellers, rotating within Kort nozzles. Twin rudders, of Hepworth's own semi-balanced, high lift, 'fishtail' design are fitted and controlled by Servi electro-hydraulic steering gear from 'jog levers' in the wheelhouse. A Kort KT-150 bow thruster is powered by the diesel driven deck hydraulic system and produces 1,600kg of thrust.

Afon Braint has a bollard pull of approximately 35 tonnes towing ahead and a free running speed of over 11 knots.

Electrical power is supplied by two Cummins powered 50kVA generator sets, one with closed circuit radiator cooling to ensure that power is available under any circumstances. Two additional Cummins diesels (one more that in the previous vessel) power the hydraulic pumps for the deck machinery and bow thruster systems and afford some redundancy.

The tug has a fuel capacity of 100m 3in tanks located forward of the engineroom. Domestic fresh water tanks have a capacity of 12m 3and additional tanks for ballast and transfer to other vessels have a total capacity of 60m 3. The provision of domestic fresh water is enhanced by the installation of a SeaFresh H208AF Desalinator. Electrically operated high capacity pumps enable fuel and water to be transferred to other vessels and plant at high flow rates.

Afon Braint has a very large clear work-space protected by hardwood cladding and well sited deck machinery. A 'reverse waterfall' type towing and anchor-handling winch, with the lower drum at the forward end, has been supplied by North Sea Winches. The hydraulically powered winch has two drums, one capable of accommodating 500m of 44mm diameter steel wire towline for towing and a second with a 200m work-wire for dredging with a towed plough or anchor-handling. A maximum brake load of 90 tonnes is specified and a line pull of 45 tonnes. Hydraulically actuated spooling gear serves the main drum and is configured to allow shackles and other connectors to pass through. A hydraulically powered rope storage drum carries one spare towline and a small single-drum, 10 tonne, tugger winch is fitted on deck.

The open-stern is provided for anchor-handling and towing and fitted with a 3.5m wide stern roller. Line handling gear from Canadian manufacturer Western Machinery Works includes hydraulically operated tow pins and a 'hold-down' hook. A quick release towing hook by Van der Graaf, with a 35 tonnes safe working load, is mounted on a Dutch style towing bollard and fairlead. The deck crane fitted to Afon Braint is a 120/metre Palfinger PK120000ME, long reach 'knuckle-boom' incorporating a lifting winch, wire and hook.

The superstructure, wheelhouse and accommodation aboard Afon Braint is spacious and virtually identical to the earlier Afon Alaw . A navigational and communications package includes magnetic and GPS compasses, an auto-pilot, two daylight viewing radars, a Navtex receiver, GPS navigator and chart display. The central control position gives the tug-master access to a series of large integrated visual display units, allowing multiple display options for overlaying of charts, radar, GPS and other information.

Communications equipment installed includes two VHF radios, a medium frequency DSC radio, and GSM telephone and fax. Both wheelhouse and accommodation can be air-conditioned and are fitted out to a very high standard for a maximum compliment of 12, including contractor's staff and passengers.

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