New tugs are likely to be ordered for a major UK port expanding its freight, ferry and cruise ship activities
The Port of Dover may order new tugs as part of a huge investment programme expanding its freight, ferry and cruise ship activities.
The operator of Europe’s busiest ferry port is building a new quayside and cargo terminal on the site of an old hovercraft area.
Port of Dover chief executive Doug Bannister told Tug Technology & Business during a visit to the harbour’s cruise terminals, that tug requirements will increase once the revival project is completed.
“Our Western Dock revival is our biggest investment,” he said. “It means we will be able to handle more freight and we will free up more capacity at the Eastern Docks for ferry traffic.”
Co-funded by the European Union, the Western Docks revival involves relocating and further developing Dover’s cargo business with a new cargo terminal and distribution centre. Ships coming into the port will require berthing assistance from harbour tugs.
“Tugs are a core part of our operations, particularly during adverse weather,” said Mr Bannister. Port of Dover owns two tugs – DHB Dauntless and DHB Doughty – that assist the docking of ferries, cruise ships and cargo vessels.
“Tugs are our insurance policy – ensuring operations remain functional year-round, including during winter,” said Mr Bannister.
“Tugs are long-term assets and renewal for our core equipment is part of our investment plans,” he continued. “No decision has been made yet, but we are developing requirements for more push-pull operations.”
Port of Dover also operates harbour pilot vessels, Dovorian and Director and dredger David Church.
DHB Dauntless and DHB Doughty were built in 2000 by the PO SevMash Predpriyatiye shipyard in Severodvinsk, Russia, then completed by Damen Shipyards at Gorinchem, the Netherlands.
These 304-gt azimuth stern drive tugs each have a bollard pull of up to 55 tonnes and total power of 3,600 kW.
The Western Docks revival project involves building a 300-m berth for container ships, reefers and general cargo ships.
“It will also expand our cruise ship capacity,” said Mr Bannister. “We already have three dedicated cruise berths and this will become the fourth.”
Port of Dover provides berths for 24/7 ferry services by P&O and DFDS to Calais and Dunkirk, both in France.
“We have created an efficient transportation service with our operations geared towards the pace of intensity of 24/7 ferry operations,” said Mr Bannister.
To increase that intensity of ferry and freight services, with increased cruise ship visits, the Port of Dover would need to invest in marine services and vessel tracking.
The port operator has contracted Marico Marine to upgrade safety systems, who turned to Cambridge Pixel to supply radar trackers and display technology for a new vessel traffic service (VTS) system in Dover.
This is a low-cost, open, software-based radar tracker that will integrate with the VTS.
It needed to work seamlessly with a range of proprietary radars and have plot merging capabilities to combine multiple echoes from large ship reflections into single plots.
The port handled 1,760 commercial ships, 36,331 ferries and around 9,500 leisure craft movements last year.