Port Nelson, New Zealand has taken delivery of its first new tug for 32 years to manoeuvre larger ships using the port. Tōia is a Damen azimuth stern drive (ASD) tug with 50 tonnes bollard pull. The ASD Tug 2310 design, 23m vessel was built at Damen Shipyards Changde in China.
Tōia will operate at Port Nelson, which is located at the head of Tasman Bay on the northern section of New Zealand’s South Island. The port is jointly owned by the Nelson City Council and the Tasman District Council. The vessel is the first new tug there for 32 years and represents a significant upgrade of capability over existing tugboats Huria Matenga and WH Parr.
The update in tug capabilities was required because of the increasing size in ships visiting the port, which has a 4.5m tidal range and strong currents. The port needed a tug with more bollard pull to cope with strong currents and winds, said harbour master Dave Duncan. He added: “With 50 tonnes of bollard pull the new tug will see our safety margins being much improved on the bigger ships. Now we have the power we need to slow or stop even the larger vessels moving forward, and to pull or push them against strong winds and tides.” Tōia is named after the Maori word for ‘to pull’ and is part of a batch of tugs that Damen has built of a similar design at the Chinese shipyard.