SMS Towage will be the largest independent tug operator in the UK when both newbuildings enter service
SMS Towage is defying the highly competitive UK towage market by investing in two more azimuth stern drive (ASD) tugs.
It will become the largest independent operator of tugs in the UK when the second of these ASD 2411 design tugs enter service in June.
SMS Towage contracted Damen Shipyards to deliver the tugs when it gained more harbour and terminal service work in the Humber area of eastern England.
The first tug, Manxman, entered service in April and the second, ordered on 1 May and to be named Marksman, is scheduled for delivery on 7 June.
This will increase SMS’ fleet to 18 tugs operating in the Humber Estuary, Bristol Channel, Belfast, South Wales and Portsmouth.
Since 12 April, Manxman has performed harbour assistance work in the Humber Estuary and was towing a 292-m, 178,000-dwt bulk carrier on 17 May, said SMS Towage chairman Paul Escreet.
“From Hull on the north bank to Immingham on the south bank, these two new vessels will play an integral role in our work on the Humber Estuary,” said Mr Escreet.
SMS services the ports of Hull, Grimsby and Immingham in the Humber. It also supports petroleum and bulk terminals at Immingham and smaller terminals at Saltend and North Killingholme.
SMS supports the import of raw materials into the Humber terminals for British Steel and Drax power station, and imports and exports at oil and chemical plants.
Mr Escreet said the two newbuild tugs were ordered from Damen’s available stock after receiving positive requirements from clients in the Humber.
“We listen carefully to our customers in order to meet their needs and expectations,” he said. “This philosophy has never let us down and we work hard to pursue new opportunities.”
Manxman and Marksman are 24-m ASD tugs with beams of 11.3 m, 70 tonnes of bollard pull and top speeds of 13 knots. These are the first tugs SMS has ordered from Damen Shipyards.
In the last three years, SMS has taken delivery of new ASD tugs from Turkish shipbuilder Sanmar, including Pullman and Nobleman in 2018. The UK operator also started operating Sanmar-built, 72-tonne bollard pull Superman in 2017.
Damen builds tugs in Vietnam, United Arab Emirates and Europe for its own stock. These tugs can be rapidly outfitted for swift delivery to meet vessel operators requirements.