Serco took delivery of its 27th Damen vessel in the Port of Amsterdam as a three-year contract for 29 vessels nears completion. In 2007, Serco placed the multi-vessel order with the Damen Shipyards Gorinchem to enable the international services to support the British Royal Navy at its bases in Portsmouth, Devonport and the Clyde.
The order included pilot boats, supply boats, tugboats, high-speed craft and barges. All of the vessels are specifically built for the naval contract. The very latest delivery, the SD Christina, is the third of four sister ASD tugs. In keeping with naval tradition, these four smaller tugboats are given female names.
Amid colorful bunting and glasses of champagne, the SD Christina was officially launched by Christina Ross, the wife of Iain Ross, the former technical director of Serco Marine Services.
Once the Serco and Damen flags were raised, SD Christina took her first journey around the Dutch port and the next day she set sail for her Portsmouth home base.
The SD Christina will be followed by the fourth in the series, the SD Deborah, in December. This delivery will mark the conclusion of the huge order. Serco operates and owns 110 vessels over the three naval ports under a 15-year contract.
SD Christina, at 65.6 ft with a 29.5 ft beam, (hence the Damen type ASD Tug 2009), is designed to be a highly maneuverable vessel in a relatively small operating area and at slow speeds. The ASD Tug 2009 is the smallest ASD tug built by Damen and even though it is small it is capable of assisting both surface vessels and submarines. Built in Damen Shipyard Gdynia, the vessel took around a year to build.
With a Bollard Pull of 24 tonnes, the tug has two Rolls Royce US 155CP fully steerable propulsion units and the vessel is fitted with a bow thruster. Thrusters of this type, in combination with controllable pitch propellers, make the SD Christina highly maneuverable during all towing and pushing operations.
Two Caterpillar 3508B diesel main engines generate 2,000bhp. The tugboat has a speed of 11.5 knots and can transport up to 12 passengers and cargo. The four sister tugs can also transfer fresh water and provide fire fighting and water spraying facilities.
Other details include special grey fendering rather than the traditional black and the tug is fitted with underwater fendering for when she has to work alongside submarines.