New Asterix and Ibex for Solent Towage

Ibex represents to latest version of the STu 1606 customised for line handling and towing
Ibex represents to latest version of the STu 1606 customised for line handling and towing
The new and more powerful Asterix, an STu 1205, makes an ideal working partner for the Ibex at Fawley
The new and more powerful Asterix, an STu 1205, makes an ideal working partner for the Ibex at Fawley
Industry Database

Two brand new tug/workboats are now in service with the fleet of Solent Towage Ltd, a subsidiary of Norwegian company Ostenjo Rederi, based at the Fawley Oil Terminal on Southampton Water in the UK.

Both vessels are from the Damen Stan Tug range and operate alongside three sophisticated Voith propelled escort tugs. The new Ibex is a Damen STu 1606 and Asterix is an STu 1205. They are replace a pair of existing vessels bearing the same names.

Both are the latest versions of two well established designs, ordered from ‘stock’ and fitted out specifically for line-handling and towage at the Fawley terminal. That customisation included a reduction in air draft to 5m to facilitate working under jetties and the installation of rope guards for overhead protection whilst line-handling.

The new Asterix is a rugged and deceptively powerful little vessel of 13.08m in length overall with a beam of 5.28m and a draft (aft) of only 1.87m. The construction and outfitting complies with the class requirements of Bureau Veritas 1+Hull *MACH, Seagoing launch.

A well fendered hull incorporates a single push knee in the bow and enclosed bulwarks forward, giving additional strength and simplifying maintenance. Deck equipment includes a 1.3 tonnes capacity capstan and a Mampaey disc type towhook with a 15 tonne SWL.

Two Volvo D9 MH electronically controlled diesel main engines generate a total of 442bkW (601bhp) at 1,800 rpm. The engines have electric starting and a closed circuit keel cooling system. Power is transmitted to a pair of 1,050mm diameter Kaplan fixed pitch propellers via TwinDisc MG 5091 gearboxes with a reduction ratio of 3.82:1. The propellers rotate within Van der Giessen ‘Optima’ nozzles lined with stainless steel. A pair of ‘double plate’ rudders are operated by powered hydraulic steering gear giving 50˚ of movement in either direction. The result is a highly manoeverable vessel with a bollard pull of 8.3 tonnes and a free running speed of 9.5 knots.

Electrical power is supplied by an Onan MDKBR-eQD diesel driven generator rated at 17.5kvA 50 hz. Two 24v battery banks, one of 2 x 200Ahr and one of 200Ahr, provide power for engine starting, the anchor windlass and 24v instrumentaion. The batteries are charged by an alternator on each engine.

The wheelhouse is air conditioned, resiliently mounted and, along with the below deck accommodation, is completely insulated with modern linings and a synthetic rubber floor. All of the foregoing results in an extremely quiet wheelhouse when the vessel is underway.

Intended for operation as a‘day boat’, the wheelhouse is fitted with a Captain’s chair,  a table and comfortable seating, and below deck there is a small galley, sanitary facilities and a store.

In addition to the normal controls and engine instrumentation, Asterix has an outfit of predominantly Furuno navigational and communications equipment, with the exception of a Sailor VHF radio and AIS CTRX CARBON+ (class B), in keeping with its employment.

The larger vessel, Ibex, is a Damen Stan Tug 1606 and is the latest version of a well established ‘breed’, with a history traceable back to the original iconic Stan 1 which started life in the 1970’s. Although retaining some characteristics of the earlier designs, the ST 1606 is a totally different vessel in terms of performance. The Stan Tug 1606 is very much the larger sister to the Stan Tug 1205 but the two have many features in common.

Measuring 16.6m in length overall, the tug has a beam of 5.54m and a draft (aft) of 2.24m and a displacement of 90.6 tonnes (with 95% consumables). Ibex also conforms with Bureau Veritas class rules with the notations; 1+HULL *MACH, Tug Coastal Area.

Ibex is powered by a pair of Caterpillar C16 TA/B keel cooled diesels, delivering a total of 896 bkW (1,216 bhp) at 1,800 rpm coupled, via Reintjes WAF 264L 4.5:1 gearboxes to Kaplan II propellers of 1,350mm diameter. The nozzles and steering gear fitted are larger versions of those installed in the smaller sister. On trials that propulsion system gave the tug a healthy bollard pull of 14.9 tonnes and maximum free running speed of 11 knots.

A Caterpillar C2.2 NA auxiliary generator rated at 20.3 kVA 230/400v 50Hz supplies the main electrical system. The 24v supply is similar to that of the Asterix, fed from alternators on the main engines.

In addition to line handling both tugs are used to give towage assistance to smaller ships using some of the less accessible berths at Fawley. With a bollard pull of almost 15 tonnes, Ibex is ideally suited to the task, supported when necessary by the Asterix.

In order to carry out shiphandling operations safely and efficiently, a 25 tonne SWL Mampaey towing hook is fitted, along with a substantial ‘gob eye’ on the after deck. The ‘gob rope’ is handled by a remotely controlled MB Hydraulikk AS MV-5.0-AHB ‘gob winch’.

In most other respects, wheelhouse, accommodation, noise reduction and instrumentation, Ibex is fitted out to the same standard as its smaller sister and upgraded where necessary.

The original Ibex was a Damen StanTug 1405 and a great favourite among the crews, having given sterling service for 18 years and clocking-up over 36,000 engine-hours. It is destined to remain in service in the UK with a company operating on the river Thames and Medway. The first Asterix was built in Norway and will return to its country of origin to be used in another role.


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