More long-distance tug deliveries for Redwise

'RT Blackbeard' and 'RT Raptor' prepare for departure (Redwise) 'RT Blackbeard' and 'RT Raptor' prepare for departure (Redwise)

Dutch global ship delivery and crewing services provider Redwise has completed the delivery of five tugs to new owners in the Americas.

It is now a well-established practice for tugs to be built in regions with lower labour costs than in what may be considered the home nation of the builder. Similarly, over a long period the number of small independent shipbuilders providing vessels for what may be considered local clients has declined. Tug construction is now more of a global business, it not unusual for vessels to be built for customers the other side of the world.

This raises new issues when considering delivery of the vessel to its new owners especially when being delivered on its own keel. It may not be possible for various reasons, for the crew who are to man it once in service to complete what could be a long transoceanic voyage, for example if a single-tug operation there may not be enough left to ‘man the shop’ while they are away. Other considerations when planning long delivery voyages could include for example equipping the accommodation for passages of many days or weeks and ensuring navigational and communication equipment along with regulatory formalities are adequate for the journey.

This is where companies such as Redwise come in. The ship delivery and crewing company has been delivering ships for third parties since 1906 and been an independent company since a management buy-out in 2004. Redwise also operates a vessel crewing and recruitment service both for immediate periods following delivery of new vessels and on a longer-term basis if required.

Looking now at the recent quintet of deliveries to the Americas, the first two concerns the Robert Allan Ltd designed stern drive tugs CMM Jarocho and CMM Maguey from the Cheoy Lee Shipyard in Hong Kong to their new home in Manzanillo Mexico. The pair sailed under the Mexican flag with a full Mexican crew supported by Redwise’s own Dutch master and chief engineer together with the owners' second engineers.

The passage was via the Pacific Ocean with the Mexican flag and crew a requirement of contract principles Boluda and with the mix of the local personnel and Redwise’s senior officers a matching cost effective solution was achieved.

Following on from delivery of the two CMM tugs, Cheoy Lee Shipyards was once again the starting point for delivery of a pair of ART 80-32 Rotortugs. The delivery contract was on behalf of the Netherland-based Kotug and US-based Seabulk Towing and covered delivery of RT Blackbird and RT Raptor from Cheoy Lee’s Hong Kong facility to their new home in the Caribbean.

The voyage for both vessels covered a total of 11,400 nautical miles adding well over a thousand running hours to the tugs’ engine logs. Redwise pointed out that while this may seem a lot of hours it actually represented less than 5% of the running hours such a tug would normally achieve during its lifetime.

The final tug delivery in this series of five concerns another Robert Allan Ltd design, in this instance the RAstar 2800-E Svitzer Chirripo (see elsewhere in this issue). Built by Sanmar, a shipyard regularly referred to in this column, this new addition to the Svitzer Caribbean fleet required delivering from its birthplace in Turkey to its new home in the West Indies.

Svitzer Chirripo was manned by Redwise’s permanently employed senior officers, complimented by its Indonesian junior officers and ratings, a similar arrangement to that of the delivery of the two Rotortugs mentioned above.

Redwise points out that it is able to accommodate a large variety of tug types with varying propulsion arrangements, providing a turnkey service in ensuring they reach their destination safely in what they describe as: ‘… a niche market where seamanship and professional management are still highly valued, whereby neither trade nor skills have been commoditized.’

By Peter Barker

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