Vasiliko Terminal Services added another Damen-built tug to service Cyprus’ main oil storage port
Increasing vessel calls at Cyprus ports led Vasiliko Terminal Services (VTS) to expand its tugboat fleet in 2018. Plans to develop an offshore LNG import facility could lead to a further new vessel.
VTS is the leading marine services company in Cyprus, providing coastal and offshore towage and emergency response in the eastern Mediterranean and oil spill response services all around the Republic of Cyprus
“We provide towage, mooring, pilotage and salvage services,” says VTS chief executive Yiannos Lakkotrypis.
“Most of our operations are performed at the Vasiliko port, where our tug base is located, but we also operate at Larnaca and Limassol ports,” Mr Lakkotrypis tells Tug Technology & Business in Cyprus.
VTS assists ships berthing at VTTV’s jetty at the clean product oil storage terminal, at the oil terminal of Electricity Authority of Cyprus, the Vassiliko cement works and general cargo port.
“We assist all types of ships – oil tankers, bulk carriers, roro, ro-containers, general cargo vessels and cement carriers,” says Mr Lakkotrypis.
VTS owns two tugs – VTS Ammochostos and VTS Keryneia – with 80 tonnes of bollard pull and FiFi1 fire-fighting capabilities. These Damen-designed and built ASD 3212 design tugs have Caterpillar main engines, Rolls-Royce azimuthing propellers and entered service in 2014.
In 2018, VTS ordered a third tug “after observing a rapid expansion on operation numbers and noticing that the 80-tonne bollard pull tugs were not always cost-effective for Cyprus harbour services,” says Mr Lakkotrypis.
“We needed one more agile and cost-effective tug in our fleet.” Thus, VTS took delivery of Damen ASD 2310 tug VTS Ayia Marina, with a bollard pull of around 45 tonnes, in December 2018.
“VTS Ayia Marina is used for operations with smaller vessels coming to Vassiliko port,” says Mr Lakkotrypis.
VTS increased crew training when it received this new tug. “We have more than 30 people that are well-trained and on stand-by 24/7 to serve our customers,” says Mr Lakkotrypis.
“We are investing in training our people either using simulators or on board our tugs. We have also invested in high technology equipment, so we have the most up-to-date equipment adhering to industry standard safety requirements.”
This includes producing and following a solid risk assessment programme, says VTS chief operations officer and marine manager Captain Stelios Christoforou, assessing the meteorological and ocean conditions for tug operations. “We do not operate in weather conditions that are considered unsafe,” says Capt Christoforou.
“We are looking for innovative solutions to reduce our fuel costs"
Another challenge is the price of fuel for VTS tugs. “Our biggest challenge is fuel consumption as this is our biggest direct operating cost,” Capt Christoforou explains. “We are looking for innovative solutions to reduce our fuel costs. We are participating in an EU-funded project to do that.”
Adverse weather can also generate opportunities for VTS tugs as it provides salvage services around Cyprus. In December 2018, VTS’ vessels responded to the Athlos maritime accident. There was an explosion and a fire on this 2010-built, 7,000-dwt product tanker three nautical miles south west of Cyprus on 29 December. VTS Keryneia responded to the emergency, where two tanker crew members were injured.
“We provided fire-fighting services and then towage services to move the tanker to the Vassiliko anchorage area,” says Capt Christoforou.
“In 2017, there was a huge fire outside a factory on the coast. We were engaged for fire-fighting services and used one of our Damen tugs.”
The group’s sister organisation VSS Environmental Protection Services is the official provider of oil spill response services and training to the port authorities in Cyprus, including DP World, Electricity Authority of Cyprus and VTTV Terminals.
It is appointed to provide oil spill response equipment, services and training to oil companies ENI, ExxonMobil, Total and Energean. It also supports Energean in Israel’s economic zone.
“We provide fire-fighting services in co-operation with VTS and standby services at a single buoy mooring, for tankers unloading heavy oil for the power station, and standby services for offshore drilling rigs and pipelayers,” says Mr Lakkotrypis.
“We have two vessels for oil spill recovery – one skimmer vessel and a fast response vessel. Our large antipollution base is in Vasiliko Port, where we have oil spill booms and skimmer equipment for our operations.
VTS is the main provider of marine services in Cyprus. In the near term, VTS should benefit from plans to install an LNG storage and regasification ship near Vasiliko as Electricity Authority of Cyprus intends to convert the power station from oil to gas. Tenders for this LNG import facility opened in June 2019, but there is a rival idea from Energean to pipe Israeli gas into Cyprus.
In the longer term, Cyprus could become an LNG exporter if offshore deepwater gas fields are developed in the eastern Mediterranean. Whatever happens in gas, VTS will remain the key marine services provider to the Vasiliko oil terminal in Cyprus.
VTS Ayia Marina enters service
VTS Ayia Marina has FiFi half fire-fighting capabilities. This 406-gt ASD tug achieved 48.8 tonnes of bollard pull ahead and 46.6 tonnes astern during sea trials. It also reached a top speed of 12.6 knots ahead and 12.1 knots astern.
Its propulsion system includes two Caterpillar 3512C main engines developing 3,000 kW of power at 1,600 rpm driving two Rolls Royce US 205 MK1 azimuth thrusters with 220-cm diameter propellers.
VTS Ayia Marina’s deck is equipped with a hydraulically driven, split drum, anchor and towing winch with 130-tonne brake. It can pull 18 tonnes at 11 m/min and has a slack rope speed up to 33 m/min.
There is an electrically driven capstan, an Heila HLM deck crane and Mampaey SWL 650 kN towing hook aft.
VTS Ayia Marina’s fendering includes cylindrical rubber at the bow above W-fendering, plus rubber fenders at the side, cylindrical fender aft and tyre fendering.
VTS Ayia Marina particulars
Owner: Vasiliko Terminal Services
Builder: Damen Shipyards
Design: ASD 2310
Class: Lloyd’s Register
Operations: Vasiliko terminal, Cyprus
Bollard pull: 48.1 tonnes ahead
Length, oa: 22.73 m
Beam, oa: 10.43 m
Draught: 4.75 m
Top speed: 12.6 knots ahead
Main engines: 2 x Cat 3512C TA HD+/C
Propulsion: 2 x Rolls Royce US 205 MK1