Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) recently launched its penultimate tug as part of its R1.4 billion, nine-tug construction contract.
The tugs, which are being built by Southern African Shipyards in Durban, will be deployed to ports around the country. The newly launched UMKHOMAZI, which is named after the river on the KwaZulu Natal South Coast, will serve at the Port of Durban.
The launch event also saw the handover to TNPA of the seventh tug, USIBA, which was named and launched in August. TNPA GM: Commercial and Marketing and Lady Sponsor of UMKHOMAZI, Lauriette Sesoko, revealed that USIBA would now be delivered to the Port of Cape Town.
“One of the benefits of being a multi-port authority running a complementary port system, is that we are able to pool our resources between our ports and to adjust plans where necessary. Originally, tugs in this order were planned for the Ports of Durban, Richards Bay, Saldanha and Port Elizabeth, where the needs at the time were assessed as being the greatest.
“However, we have since taken the decision to redeploy the seventh tug, USIBA, from Richards Bay to Cape Town instead,” she said.
An upsurge in larger vessels in CT
Sesoko said the Port of Cape Town had recently experienced an upsurge in larger vessels requiring tugs with a more powerful bollard pull. Meanwhile, the Port of Richards Bay had already received three new tugs in recent years.
“TNPA has assessed and mitigated this risk to ensure that Richards Bay’s port operations are not compromised. In future orders where Cape Town is catered for, a tug will be reimbursed to the Port of Richards Bay,” she said.
Sesoko gave the assurance that TNPA would continue to roll out its fleet replacement programme to best serve all its ports and their customers.
The nine tugs are being built for TNPA over three and a half years, with five under construction at any given time, as part of a wider fleet replacement programme that also includes new dredging vessels and new marine aviation helicopters.