Oil wells in the North Sea and the North Atlantic are still bubbling with Black Gold. With two new high-performance Voith Water Tractors, the harbor authority of the Shetland Isles (Shetland Island Council) is set to widen its opportunities and will soon be able to unload even larger oil tankers in the harbor of Sullom Voe at affordable cost. In spring 2010, the two new vessels will enter service at the most northern point of Scotland.
The two escort vessels will be built in Spain by Union Naval Valencia. With 77 tons bollard pull ahead and 71 tons bollard pull astern, they are in the highest output class for this type of Escort Voith Water Tractors. Each of the two Voith Water Tractors is fitted with two electronically controlled Voith Schneider Propellers size 36R6/255-2.
The new escort vessels will replace the 25-year-old Voith Water Tractors Shalder, Tirrick and Stanechakker. According to the Managing Director of the port authority, Jim Dickson, this acquisition will make it possible to escort even large oil tankers into the port of Sullom Voe on the Shetlands and unload them there. Up to now, tankers size Suez Max carrying one million barrels of crude oil on board need three escort vessels. If the cargo consists of " Ultra Large Crude Oil (ULC Carriers)" as many as four such vessels are required.
Due to the capacity of the Voith Water Tractors, which will enter service in Sullom Voe in 2010, the required number of escort vessels per tanker will drop. This means that the new vessels not only reduce day-to-day operating costs but also secure the existence of a line of industry in the North of Scotland. Although the amount of oil extracted outside the coast of Shetland declines year after year, the new investment of the harbor authority will be worthwhile. Jim Dickson compares the new escort vessels to luxury limousines. "