Wijsmuller Marine has accepted the first of two azimuthing stern drive (ASD) tractor tugs from the Spanish shipbuilder Astilleros Zamacona. Following a crew familiarization period, the Ayton Cross is expected to be in full service by the middle of the month. The second tug, Ormesby Cross, is to be delivered by Zamacona before the end of the year. Both tugs will be based on the River Tees from where the Wijsmuller tug fleet covers
both the Tees and the port of Hartlepool.
With a bollard pull of 60 tons each, the two new tugs will be the most powerful units in the fleet and will allow Wijsmuller to transfer one of its existing Tees tractor tugs, Yarm Cross, to its Tyne operation. Until now, the largest tugs on the fleet have been Fiery Cross and Phoenix Cross both of 3,890-bhp units with a 41-ton bollard pull. The 3,400bhp/37-ton bollard pull Cleveland Cross and Roseberry Cross have supported them and the 2,640 bhp/35-ton bollard pull Yarm Cross and Coatham Cross.
According to Iain Buchanan, Regional Director for Wijsmuller Marine in North East England, the design of the new tugs has been developed through consultation with various parties, including the Tees Harbor Master
, Tees Bay pilots and tug masters.
"The specifications reflects the growth in the size of vessel now entering the Tees. In tonnage terms, the Tees & Hartlepool Port Authority now ranks as the U.K.'s second largest port.
The New tugs are ideally suited to complement the Voith tractor tugs on the Tees which handle deep drafted vessels at both the Corus Redcar Ore Terminal and Phillips Oil Terminal," said Buchanan.
Ayton Cross and Ormesby Cross have a greater displacement than the existing vessels and have been designed with improved sea-keeping qualities, as the Tees tugs regularly make fast to vessels in Tees Bay and respond to salvage incidents off the north cast coast.
Wijsmuller Marine is part of the Wijsmuller Group, which operates some 140 vessels in more than 20 countries, towage, terminal and offshore support, maritime services, salvage and ocean towage.