Svitzer has bolstered its fleet of ship-handling tugs in the Middle East in readiness for arrival of ultra-large container ships
The Maersk Group subsidiary has completed its tug fleet regeneration programme in Oman with the delivery of vessels to support ships in the Port of Sohar.
Sanmar Shipyards built Bigacay and Sirapinar-class tugs for Svitzer’s requirements in this growing port after Svitzer secured a 15-year extension to its concession to provide towage and berthing services, including in the container terminal, in the Port of Sohar.
Sanmar’s latest delivery is Svitzer Saham. This is a Bigacay-class tug, built as a variant to Robert Allan’s RAstar 2900SX design. It is joining two sister tugs, Svitzer Sohar and Svitzer Shinas, also built by Sanmar, in Oman. These tugs have around 80 tonnes of bollard pull.
Sanmar has already delivered two Sirapinar class tugs, Svitzer Liwa and Svitzer Barka, to Svitzer’s Omani operations in Sohar. These were built to RAmparts 2200 design with 50 tonnes of bollard pull.
The five tugs will together deliver 340 tonnes of bollard pull across the new fleet providing the Sohar port authority with the confidence and assurance these tugs can handle the ever-increasing safe towing demands of modern shipping well into the future.
Port of Sohar deputy harbour master Jacob Bac said Sanmar’s new tugs bring better handling and towage services to the port.
Sanmar sales director for Middle East and Africa Gary Dockerty explained why this was achieved through design. “The Bigaçay series was developed with our design partners Robert Allan for Sanmar exclusively and is a variant of the RAstar range,” he said.
“RAstar 2900SX are compact tugs aimed at ensuring efficient construction while still meeting the customisation requirements of discerning clients,” said Mr Dockerty.
The design has a sponsoned hullform, which is proven to provide significantly enhanced escort towing and seakeeping performance.
Concerning the Sirapinar-series tugs, Mr Bac said “Svitzer Liwa and Svitzer Barka bring a whole new level of towage to Sohar Port.” He added “With their sharp handling and manoeuvrability along with their instant power, they are a force to be reckoned with.”
Svitzer has placed orders for 25 tugs with Sanmar Shipyards in recent years.
Sohar Port and freezone is managed by Sohar Industrial Port Co, a 50:50 joint venture between the Port of Rotterdam and the Sultanate of Oman. This is one of the world’s fastest-growing ports and lies at the centre of global trade routes between Asia and Europe.
It includes terminals for containers, dry bulk, liquid, gas and general cargo, operated by Hutchison Ports Oman, Vale Oman, Oiltanking & Co Terminals, and C Steinweg Oman.
Future expansion includes a second-phase extension of the freezone and construction of Sohar Port South which will add 250 hectares to the land area and new deepwater berths to provide additional cargo capacity.