Double ship delivery tow
Rotterdam-based, family-owned Transport & Offshore Services (TOS) include ship delivery in its range of services, recently delivering three tugs from Nigeria to Greece in one towing operation.
Professional tug masters often shy away from talking about what they consider routine, but TOS recently revealed background to such (so called) routine tasks through the eyes of one of its masters.
Captain Jan was tasked with towing the tug Afrik Magpie along with Afrik Eagle and Afrik Eider from Lagos, Nigeria to Astakos, Greece employing a double-tow arrangement. Captain Jan said: “A double-tow is so unique that the departure and arrival always require extra attention. In this case, we had to depart from Lagos with the help of only a small assisting boat. Then you need to have a good plan before the departure and setting the length of the towing wires.”
The same situation accompanied their arrival in Astakos, a small assisting boat keeping the second tow going while they brought the first tow around to one side: “Then we were able to take over the second tow to bring it around to the other side. Simply a matter of coordination!” The towline lengths had to be carefully adjusted when bunkering and provisioning off Mauretania and Las Palmas, Captain Jan explaining: “The double-tow did create extra work as the towing wires need to be made either shorter or longer. It’s important to do it in the right order to maintain a steady distance between the tows (125-150 metres). When you want to let out the lines you first have to let out the last tow, and when you want to reel them in you have to first shorten the first tow.”
Complications fitting protective towline sleeves in Lagos were soon overcome involving cutting the socket loose from the wire, sliding the sleeve over the wire and fitting a new socket to the wire, a task requiring services of a certified company. Captain Jan stoically summed up the voyage saying: “The delivery went very well. We had a good crew with the right mentality. Personally, I found the voyage to be a bit too long: ten weeks, of which we spent seven consecutive weeks out at sea. Now, the first thing on the agenda is to enjoy my vacation on solid ground!”
By Peter Barker
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