An Italian tug operator has invested €7M (US$8M) to enhance its fleet in response to the arrival of ultra-large container ships (ULCS) to the largest container terminal in Italy
Some of the world’s largest container ships have started berthing at the Medcenter Container Terminal in the port of Gioia Tauro, near the southern tip of Italy.
This led to the operator of ship assistance tugs in the port purchasing a new vessel from Damen Shipyards, which builds tugs for its own stock in yards in Europe and south east Asia.
Con.Tug, a joint venture between Medcenter Container and tug owner Scafi, purchased the tugboat newbuilding from Damen following a request from the port.
This azimuth stern drive (ASD) tug was built in Vietnam to a Damen design and transported to Gioia Tauro on a Sal Terminal multipurpose, heavy-lift ship.
Gioia Star was registered under the Italian flag and prepared to work in the terminal.
It will be assisting container ships of up to 24,000 TEU to berth and undock from the terminal, which is a major transportation hub in the Mediterranean.
These ULCS are arriving with more frequency as operators improve profitability by transporting more containers on larger vessels. They then use container terminals to load feeder ships for intra-regional trade.
As these container ships use the Medcenter Container terminal during all environmental conditions, the harbour master requested Con.Tug enhance the tugboat fleet with the addition of a more powerful vessel.
Gioia Star is that tug, with 80 tonnes of bollard pull. It will replace ageing tug Angelo Ravano in the port.
According to Damen Shipyards this tug is built to an ASD Tug 2813 design with 5,050 kW of power.
Its propulsion includes two Caterpillar 3516C main engines, each with 2,525 kW at 1,800 rpm.
These give Gioia Star a top speed of 13.4 knots ahead and 13.1 knots astern.
Gioia Star has bollard pull ahead of 84.7 tonnes and 78.8 tonnes astern. It has an overall length of 27.6 m, beam of 12.9 m and draught of 5.9 m.
Damen added features for emergency response including a fire-fighting system to FiFi1 class and oil pollution control equipment.
Gioia Tauro is the largest port in Italy for container throughput. It has the sixth largest container terminal in the Mediterranean region and the ninth in the whole of Europe.
The port serves as a transshipment hub along the East-West trade route in the Mediterranean and its 3.4-km long quayside can berth four ULCS simultaneously.
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