Cheoy Lee start Z-Tech deliveries for Panama

Calovebora, the first new Z-Tech for Panama, sails fully loaded from Hong Kong on its 10,000 mile delivery voyage.
Calovebora, the first new Z-Tech for Panama, sails fully loaded from Hong Kong on its 10,000 mile delivery voyage.
This view of Changuinola I clearly depicts the two winches on the foredeck and high   visibility wheelhouse.
This view of Changuinola I clearly depicts the two winches on the foredeck and high visibility wheelhouse.

Cheoy Lee Shipyards, based in Hong Kong, has handed over the second of thirteen ‘Z-Tech’ tugs ordered by the Panama Canal Authority.

The first vessel, Calovebora,  was delivered in August 2010 followed more recently by the Changuinola I. The delivery in Hong Kong of Changuinola I coincided almost to the same day that Calovebora completed the 10,000 nautical mile trans-Pacific crossing under its own power and arrived in Panama.

All thirteen vessels specified in this latest order are almost identical in configuration to the eight vessels previously constructed for the Panama Canal Authority (ACP). This new batch, currently under construction, are however more powerful vessels, fitted with larger General Electric (GE)12V228 engines.

This increases the power available to a total 5,930bhp, resulting in an increase in bollard pull from 60 to 65 tons when towing both ahead and astern. The GE engines drive two Schottel SRP1515FP fully azimuthing propulsion units, with 2.6m diameter four bladed fixed pitch propellers. This configuration produces a free running speed of 12.5 knots going ahead and astern.

Two Caterpillar C4.4 - 99kW diesel generating sets maintain all onboard electrical loads. The starboard main engine drives an FFS 1136 cu/m/hour fire pump to supply a single fire monitor mounted on the superstructure just forward of the wheelhouse.

Two separate MacGregor Plimsoll single drum towing winches are installed, one on either side of the towing deck, in a configuration designed specifically to suit the working practices on the Panama Canal.

 Z-Tech series tugs are generally operated by a captain and crew of eight but the layout and facilities can vary slightly, depending on the owner’s manning regime. This second generation of Z-Tech tugs for Panama each provide accommodation for a crew of four. A single berth cabin is provided for the captain and a combined cabin and office for the engineer in the superstructure, along with the galley and dinette. Two crew members are accommodated in a double berth cabin on the lower deck.

The wheelhouse has excellent all round vision through a series of full height windows.

Cheoy Lee Z-Tech 6500 tugs for Panama are built to Lloyds Register of Shipping class, with the class notation LR +100AN Tug, +LMC UMS for service in the Panama Canal and approaches. The design originates from a joint project initiated by Cheoy Lee, Robert Allan Ltd and PSA of Singapore. The Z-Tech 6500 series measure 27.40m in length overall, with a 11.50m beam and 5.83m draft.


The first two vessels have been delivered right on schedule, with the remaining 11 tugs set to follow at regular intervals. One more delivery will be made before the end of 2010, followed by nine more in 2011 The final vessel in the order is due for completion in February 2012.

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