The new escort tugs were built by ASL Shipyard to bolster ship handling in the Port of Geraldton, Western Australia
Svitzer has expanded its ship assistance and towage capabilities in Western Australia with three new escort tugs built in Singapore.
These tugs were designed by Robert Allan and constructed by ASL Shipyard to assist bulk carriers into the Port of Geraldton.
The first of these 30-m tugs, Svitzer North, entered service in December 2020. Its sister tugboat Svitzer Abrolhos joined the fleet in January 2021 and Svitzer Wilu was scheduled to begin operations in February.
The three tugs will help large bulkers navigate the iron ore export port. Mid West Ports Authority acting chief executive Damian Tully says these tugs will be officially named once Svitzer Wilu has arrived.
“The three new tugs will provide an extra level of capability for the port, assisting ships in heightened weather conditions and in the event of an emergency,” Mr Tully says.
The tugs will improve safety at Geraldton Port, providing emergency standby and fire-fighting capabilities.
Geraldton Port is expanding in response to the region’s mining efforts. It handles around 400 annual ship visits, exporting more than 10M tonnes per year.
Australia’s minister of ports Alannah MacTiernan says the arrival of these new tugs would “extend a level of confidence to trade partners in our commitment to the Port of Geraldton, its continued development and economic contribution to the region.”
She explains why capital was assigned to these newbuildings. “With Geraldton Port rapidly expanding, it is vital we continue to invest in infrastructure and services at the port to facilitate trade. Tugs provide a critical service to ports, enabling the safe manoeuvring of vessels into and out of the harbour.”
When Svitzer ordered these tugs, it had to consider the sensitive environmental area they would be operating in, the safety and reliability requirements and power needed to ensure the safety of all ships entering and leaving the port.
“We are pleased to be boosting our capabilities within the port to provide safe and efficient towage services into the future,” says Svitzer Australia West general manager Jodie Ransom.
“The arrival of Svitzer North signifies the strong collaboration between Svitzer and Mid West Ports Authority.
The escort tugs were built to Robert Allan’s RAstar 3000-W design with around 70 tonnes of bollard pull. Robert Allan says they were designed “for maximum efficiency and value in the performance of escort and ship handling duties of large tankers, bulk carriers, and container ships.”
They have moulded beams of 13.2 m, hull depth of 5.63 m and a maximum navigational draught of 5.50 m.
ASL constructed these tugs to satisfy all applicable rules and regulations of Lloyd’s Register and the Australian National Standard for Commercial Vessels for an escort tug. They have unrestricted navigation, unmanned machinery spaces and in-water survey notation.
Propulsion for these tugs comes from a pair of Caterpillar 3516C main diesel engines. These are certified to IMO Tier II and each rated at 2,240 kW at 1,800 rpm and drive a Schottel SRP 460FP Z-drive with fixed-pitch propeller. Combined, these generate a free running speed ahead of up to 13.6 knots. During sea trials, Svitzer North achieved 71 tonnes of bollard pull ahead and 68 tonnes astern.
Part of the requirements was providing the highest standards of outfitting for an operating crew of up to 10. These tugs have master and chief engineer single cabins, along with the galley and mess on the main deck. There are four double crew cabins on the lower accommodation deck and a laundry room.
These tugs are outfitted for safe and efficient ship handling, vessel escorting and harbour towing. Their deck machinery consists of an Ibercisa-supplied hydraulic, double-drum escort winch and two hydraulic vertical anchor windlasses on the bow. The escort winch is spooled with a high-performance soft line on each drum. In addition, a towing hook is provided on the aft deck.
These systems are driven from electrical plant in the engineroom comprising two identical Caterpillar C4.4 generator sets, each with a power output of 86 ekW at 50 Hz.
Svitzer’s new tugs have ship-handling fenders at the bow consisting of one tier of cylindrical fender at the forecastle deck level and W-block fenders below main deck level.
The same type of W-shaped fender is installed at the stern and a D-fender runs along the sheer lines of the main deck.
These tugs have tank capacity for 155 m3 of fuel oil and 20 m3 of potable water. TOS Ship Delivery is responsible for sailing these tugs from Singapore to Western Australia.
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