The UK’s third largest port group has spent £6M (US$8M) in a tug and a pilot boat to enhance ship handling operations. These will be deployed in the Firth of Forth to support tankers, container ships, gas carriers and cruise ships visting the area's terminals.
Both the ship handling tug Craigleith and pilot boat Forth Puma were named in a ceremony at the Leith Cruise Terminal, near Edinburgh on 27 July. Craigleith is an azimuthing stern drive tug built by Sanmar Shipyards in Turkey to a Robert Allan RAstar 2800 design.
It will be operated by Forth Estuary Towage, a subsidiary of Forth Ports. This 28.2-m tug has a bollard pull of 70 tonnes and a free running speed of 12.5 knots.
It has Rolls-Royce supplied MTU main engines, which each develop 2,000 kW of power and drive a pair of Schottel Rudderpropellers.
This new tug demonstrates the latest technology and significantly enhances the overall towage capability across the Forth Estuary
Forth Puma is a 16-m pilot boat designed in Scotland by Carmac Design and built in Wales by Holyhead Marine. Forth Ports said it was one of the most advanced boats in operation.
Craigleith joins the Fidra, Seal Carr and Oxcar tugs already in service. Forth Puma joins the fleet with Forth Leopard and Forth Tiger.
Forth Ports chief operating office Stuart Wallace said this £6M investment in vessels demonstrates the group’s “commitment to maintaining safe operations on the Forth.”
He added it is “part of our ongoing investment programme in Scotland” which includes expenditure to support key Scottish industries ranging from oil and gas and chemicals to agriculture and tourism.
Forth Ports’ chief harbour master for Scottish operations Alan McPherson said more than 3,000 vessels navigate the Forth Estuary each year, which is why this investment was needed.
“The River Forth is one of the largest and busiest waterways in the UK,” he said. Very large crude carriers go to Hound Point, container vessels into Scotland’s busiest container terminal at Grangemouth, cruise liners call at Leith, Rosyth and at anchorages in Queensferry and Newhaven and gas carriers use the Braefoot Bay terminal. “It is therefore important that we provide an excellent service and Craigleith and Forth Puma will further enhance this.”
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