In its first major move after its buyout of partner Boskalis, SAAM Towage announced its first expansion in tug services would be in El Salvador
Three tugs will be required to support a new LNG floating storage and regasification platform. Two of these will be newbuildings and one will be from the existing Latin American fleet.
SAAM Towage managing director Felipe Rioja said these tugs will operate in El Salvador from Q2 2021.
“We will provide services for the Energía del Pacífico (EDP) project at the Port of Acajutla, which reinforces our presence in Central America and our commitment to the region,” he commented.
EDP intends to import LNG into El Salvador to feed a 378-MW power plant from the end of 2021. This will supply around 30% of El Salvador’s energy demand, helping to diversify the country’s energy matrix and reduce its environmental impact.
SAAM Towage tugs will support LNG ships berthing and undocking at the terminal and provide emergency standby services.
These will be 32-m long tugs with azimuth stern drive propulsion. They will be “specifically designed to meet the requirements of offshore operations and escort vessels,” said Mr Rioja. “The project will begin to inject energy into the grid by the end of 2021, but our tugs will begin to operate in May 2021.”
In December 2019, Mr Rioja exclusively explained to Tug Technology & Business SAAM Towage’s expansion plans. During that interview, he said, “The Caribbean area is a potential growth opportunity for us,” including Central America in that. “We are actively mapping the market for the right opportunity to expand,” he said.
He highlighted how plans to open new terminals for container ships, tankers and gas carriers in Latin America will drive towage demand in the 2020s.
“We have a special eye for terminal towage in this region as it demands renewal to its current available fleet,” he said.
SAAM Towage’s expansion plans into El Salvador were announced just days after it introduced a new harbour tug in Guatemala.
SAAM Itzá was welcomed to Puerto Quetzal on 23 December 2019 to replace older harbour tug, Amazonas I. It is part of SAAM Towage’s services to Empresa Portuaria Quetzal.
During a reception ceremony, SAAM Towage chief executive in Guatemala Harry Nadle said, “This high-power vessel has great manoeuvrability and was purchased from the Med Marine shipyard [in Turkey]. It is ready to begin assisting ships with berthing and deberthing operations at the port of Quetzal and the San José terminals.”
SAAM Itzá was purchased in Q3 2019, has a bollard pull of 60 tonnes and free running speed of 12 knots. It joins two other azimuth stern drive tugs operating at Puerto Quetzal.
SAAM Towage has operations in Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama and Uruguay. It operates at more than 60 ports in the Americas, servicing over 25,000 ships a year.
It provides berthing and deberthing services for ships, assistance, salvage and towage for barges and civil construction projects. It also provides specialised services for ships at offshore terminals and anchoring oil and gas drilling rigs.
Offshore and terminal support services will be discussed during Riviera Maritime Media’s Annual Offshore Support Journal Conference, Awards & Exhibition in London on 5-6 February 2020.