A new tug designed specifically for Port Taranaki’s needs will be built and on the water in 2018.
A contract with Turkish tug-building company Sanmar Shipyards was signed late last month after months of investigation by Port Taranaki staff.
“We had a number of proposals from shipyards on specifications we had developed,” said Port Taranaki marine engineering supervisor Grant Squire. “We shortlisted three in China, Singapore and Turkey and made yard visits of each. This solution is a standard design with limited modification to meet our operating needs.”
The tug will replace the Kupe, which at 45 years is the oldest of Port Taranaki’s three tugs and was bought second hand from the Wellington port company, CentrePort. The Kupe will be put up for sale and released after the new tug is in operation.
“The Kupe has served us well but the design is now obsolete and the vessel was getting quite old,” Mr Squire said.
The new 25m in-harbour tractor tug will be the first build of a new line of tugs by Sanmar Shipyards, and based on a design by leading tug designer Robert Allan, of Canada. The state-of-the-art tug will include Caterpillar engines, Rolls-Royce propellers, and an electric towing winch by DMT. It will boast three two-berth cabins and will be operated by three people.
“A tractor tug has the propellers at the front,” said Mr Squire. “It allows for better handling for the type of rugged conditions we have on the west coast.”
The tug has a maximum bollard pull in excess of 65 tonnes, which is now the industry norm as larger vessels dominate. Port Taranaki’s other tugs, the Tuakana and Rupe, have a bollard pull of 40 tonnes and 29 tonnes respectively.
Mr Squire, who led the project, was impressed with the quality of Sanmar’s work – the company has built more than 170 tugs in 40 years of operation – and said their quality management and health and safety standards stood out.
Port Taranaki chief executive Guy Roper said the company was looking forward to having a new tug with greater power and state-of-the-art equipment join the fleet.
“A number of staff have worked very hard investigating the best design and manufacturer for the tug we require. We are very pleased with the result and are looking forward to having the tug on the water. It is a significant investment with a project budget of $12m.”
The new tug is expected to be completed by February 2018 and in operation at Port Taranaki in May 2018. Mr Squire will make regular visits to Turkey to oversee the build. The tug has a lifespan of 25-30 years.
A name for the tug will be decided closer to the time of its completion.