Maersk subsidiary Svitzer has ramped up its towage capabilities in one of the UK’s busiest ports to provide escort and ship handling services to larger container ships
Svitzer has expanded its fleet of tugs capable of ship escort and handling in Southampton harbour, UK with a 447 gt tug renamed Svitzer Mercurius and reflagged to the UK.
The Maersk group company has purchased and mobilised the 2014-built, azimuth stern drive (ASD) tugboat to the key port on England’s south coast.
The new tug increases Svitzer’s fleet of tugs in Southampton to six vessels with a collective bollard pull of 415 tons.
Svitzer Mercurius is a multifunctional tugboat with a wide range of applications including escort capabilities, ship manoeuvring, harbour towage, emergency response and salvage.
Svitzer Europe managing director Kasper Nilaus said this fleet addition was required because of rising demand for escort services in Southampton and waters between southern England and the Isle of Wight.
“Due to the challenging waters of the Solent and the size of vessels calling at the port, the demand for escort towage in Southampton is increasing,” he said. Larger container ships are berthing at DP World’s terminal and bigger cruise ships are calling into Southampton, which is the main embarking point for passengers in the UK.
“The great advantage of buying a second-hand tug is the possibility to quickly deploy the vessel into the existing fleet and immediately realise benefits for our customers,” Mr Nilaus added.
Svitzer Mercurius was designed and built by Damen Shipyards in 2014 to an ASD 3212 design with an overall length of 32.7 m, a12.82 m beam and 82 tons of bollard pull.
Svitzer Mercurius’ main propulsion comes from two Caterpillar 3516C HD+ diesel engines powering two Rolls Royce US 255 P30 fixed pitch thrusters. These give this tug a top speed of 14 knots. Inside the engineroom there are also two Caterpillar C6.6 TA generator sets producing 230/400 kVA at 50 Hz.
Another tug operator in Southampton is also interested in adding more towage and escort capabilities in the port.
Boluda Towage Europe indicated to Tug Technology & Business in November 2019 it was considering boosting escort capabilities on the UK’s south coast.
Under its previous corporation name, Kotug Smit Towage, 2018-built tugboat Buffalo was added to the Southampton fleet to raise towage capabilities in the port.
Svitzer’s addition this month comes as it celebrated the milestone of taking delivery of the 50th tug designed by Canadian naval architects Robert Allan.
Over the past 15 years Robert Allan and Svitzer have collaborated on a variety of projects including design and operation of compact and efficient harbour tugs, such as the RApport 2400 design vessels, constructed in Brazil. Collaborations have also included TundRA 3400 icebreaking tugs built in Russia and the largest and most powerful escort tugs in the world – RAstar 3900 class that were built in Spain.
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