Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) recently awarded Damen Shipyards Cape Town (DSCT) preferred bidder status to build a pilot boat and a tug boat for the Port of Saldanha in the Western Cape. The vessels, customized for the South African market, includes a state of the art ship-handling Stan Tug 2006 and a Pilot Cutter 2706.
The Port of Saldanha - South Africa's largest natural port with the deepest water – is one of the world's larger iron ore ports, having handled a total of 58.263 million tons of cargo, of which the major share was iron ore for export. With the terminal operating at its maximum, the port is continuing the expansion of its operations to meet the capacity needs ahead of demand.
This infrastructural programme falls under Transnet SOC Ltd’s Market Demand Strategy (MDS) – a R300 billion, seven year capital expenditure programme, of which R 86.6 billion is set towards port development. Tau Morwe, Chief Executive of TNPA said: “To ensure the success of the MDS, we are strategically implementing significant port expansion projects nationally to create appropriate capacity ahead of demand.
“Ships are getting bigger and the challenge is for the ports to keep up and remain globally competitive. However, through the MDS we can now invest at the right level to cater for the increasing demands from our customers.”
The new tug, which forms part of the expansion project, will be used for general port services and pilot duties in the Saldanha port. Due to Saldanha's narrow entrance channel, the new Pilot Cutter 2706, developed by DSCT and its partner Triton Naval Architects, has been customized with a specific hull shape to maintain its speed in rough weather. It also has an increased stern gear protection while handling submerged equipment.
According the Damen Shipyard, the vessels' interior design, including bridge, propulsion, and HVAC, is based on its advanced pilot boat technology. TNPA already operates four Damen STu 2006 Tugs in South Africa that are based on the STu 1906. The Stan Tug 2006 is scheduled to be delivered in March 2013, while the Pilot Cutter 2706 is scheduled for May 2013. Both vessels will be built at the Damen Shipyards newly built vessel construction shed and office/workshop building in Cape Town.