Svitzer started began this powerful azimuth tractor drive tug from Sanmar in November to enhance its ship handling capabilities in south east England
Svitzer Meridian, now operating in the Port of London, is one of the most powerful tugs operating on the Thames and Medway rivers in south east England.
It is a UK-flagged tug with 71.5 tonnes of bollard pull and combined engine power of 4,200 kW. This gives it a maximum speed of 12.5 knots ahead and 12 knots astern, as proven during its sea trials.
Svitzer Meridian was constructed at Sanmar’s shipyard in Turkey as part of a two-vessel Delicay series. It joined Svitzer’s fleet of nine tugs in the Port of London which assist a diverse pool of vessels, including container liners, cruise ships, tankers and LNG carriers at the Grain terminal in the river Medway, in Kent.
Svitzer Europe needed more capacity in London because of growing volumes of ship traffic in one of the busiest ports in Europe, said managing director Kasper Friis Nilaus. “Svitzer Meridian is a versatile tug and will prove useful both at London Gateway [container terminal] and in the [river] Medway,” he said.
The first job for Svitzer Meridian was to assist container ship MSC Iris on its arrival in London in early November. Svitzer Meridian is a sister vessel of Danish-flagged Svitzer Vale, which worked in London during Q3 2018, and in Germany in September and October. According to AIS records, Svitzer Vale returned to the Port of London in late November.
Svitzer Meridian was built to an adapted Robert Allan TRAktor 2500-SX design and constructed to ABS class requirements for towing and fire-fighting (FiFi1) operations. This design of tug has a raised half foc’sle above the waterline “to provide an enhanced standard of seakeeping when working in exposed waters,” said Robert Allan.
The designer selected the hullform and appendage configuration below the waterline using computational fluid dynamics simulations and physical model testing. “To achieve an optimal balance between controllability, manoeuvrability, fuel efficiency and roll dampening.”
Svitzer Meridian also has StRAke stabilisers on the stern of the hull. These were developed by Voith and Robert Allan “to improve tractor tug directional stability allowing for a reduced size skeg and thereby improving manoeuvrability and fuel efficiency”.
Inside the engineroom, Svitzer Meridian has two Caterpillar 3516C HD main engines that each produce 2,100 kW of power. It also has a pair of CAT C4.4 diesel generator sets, each with a power output of 99 kW at 1,500 rpm, for auxiliary power requirements.
Svitzer Meridian’s propulsion comes from two Rolls-Royce US 255 FP Z-drive units, each with 2.6-m diameter fixed pitch propellers. The tug’s FiFi1 system can deliver 10,569 gallons of water per minute from two fire monitors to cater for emergencies in the port.
On the aft working deck there is a DMT-type TW-021-E electric, double-drum towing winch with a force of 250 kN at a low speed of 9 m/min or 80 kN at a high speed of 28 m/min. It also has a brake holding load of 190 tonnes.
Svitzer Meridian’s fenders consist of an 800-mm diameter cylindrical fender that extends well towards midships. Below this is a row of 300-mm W-type fenders. Its sheer strakes are protected by 300-mm hollow D-type fenders and its bow has a 300-mm W-type fender.
Living quarters on this tug can accommodate up to six crew in a pair of single cabins on the main deck and two double cabins on the lower deck. It also has a mess, lounge, galley and wet room on the main deck.
Svitzer Meridian particulars
Owner: Svitzer Europe
Designer: Robert Allan
Design: TRAktor 2500-SX
Operating port: London, UK
Bollard pull: 71.5 tonnes
Length, oa: 25.3 m
Beam, moulded: 12 m
Hull depth, moulded: 4.55 m
Draught: 5.74 m
Gross: 339 gt
Main Engines: 2 x CAT 3516C
Propulsion: 2 x US255 FP Z-drives
Winch: DMT type TW-021-E
Fuel oil: 84 m3
Potable water: 12 m3
FiFi foam: 4.8 m3
Sewage tank: 6.8 m3