SAAM Towage has expanded its fleet in Latin America with the delivery of an azimuth stern drive (ASD) tug from a Turkish shipyard
Sanmar Shipyards delivered SAAM Valparaiso, a 2018-built harbour tug to SAAM Towage’s operations in Panama.
This 24.4-m ASD tug was built as Bogacay XXXI by Sanmar to an adapted Robert Allan design, RAmparts 2400-SX, initially for Sanmar’s own fleet operating in Turkey.
SAAM Valparaiso will operate in the Colon and Manzanillo port areas in Panama as SAAM Towage enhances its ship support capabilities in the nation.
This is part of SAAM Towage’s strategy to build its fleet in key Central American markets after spending US$194M in 2019 to purchase Boskalis’ share of the joint venture SAAM Smit Towage.
SAAM Towage technical director Pablo Caceres said SAAM Valparaiso was configured and repainted at Sanmar’s floating dock in Turkey prior to delivery, for specific requirements of operating in these ports in Panama.
“SAAM Valparaiso was chosen because of its high power and versatility on a tugboat of reduced length,” he said.
“It was specially adapted for our operations in ports with restricted spaces where merchant vessels are becoming larger,” Mr Caceres commented.
SAAM Valparaiso has a moulded beam of 11.25 m and around 70 tonnes of bollard pull. This comes from a pair of Caterpillar CAT 3516C diesel engines, which generate a total of 4,200 kW of power driving two Kongsberg US 255 FP thrusters.
Sanmar commercial director Ruchan Civgin said this was the first tug delivered by the company to SAAM Towage.
“This deal, we trust, will be a start of a new and successful partnership for many years to come,” he commented. “SAAM Valparaiso will be the first Sanmar tug operating in Panama.”
Mr Civgin explained the importance of its Bogacay series. “It is our flagship class ASD tug design, having built and delivered more than 40 units in the last five years, to 21 clients in over 12 countries worldwide.”
SAAM Towage has expanded its operations in South and Central America with acquisitions and new deliveries. In January 2020, it agreed to purchase a 70% stake in Intertug Investment Holding from shareholders to enter the Colombia’s towage industry and gain more business in Mexico.
Intertug operates a 25-vessel fleet that logs more than 18,000 manoeuvres a year. This generates around US$44M in towage service revenue annually.
After acquiring Intertug’s business, SAAM Towage will operate a fleet of more than 170 tugs in 11 countries.
In September 2019, SAAM Towage purchased an ASD tug newbuilding from Damen Shipyards for ship handling operations in the port of Veracruz, Mexico. Damen will supply an ASD 2813 design tug with an overall length of 28 m. SAAM Huasteca will have a bollard pull of 85 tonnes and a top speed of 13 knots when it arrives in Varacruz in a few weeks.
In January 2020, SAAM Towage took delivery of SAAM Itza from Turkish owner and shipbuilder Med Marine. This 23-m tug has started operations in Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala.