Seaspan International announced the largest tug build commitment of a single class of vessels in over 35 years. The company signed a contract with Sanmar Denizcilik Shipyard, of Istanbul Turkey; to build four state-of-the-art ship assist tugs. The prime duties for these tugs will be to dock, undock and escort ships in Vancouver Harbor and Roberts Bank. The RAstar 28 m tugs will feature full fire fighting capability and upon arrival will be amongst the most powerful vessels to sail BC waters. Internationally renowned and Vancouver based naval architects’, Robert Allan Ltd., designed the new tugs.
The first vessel is scheduled to arrive by the end of this year; while the remaining three tugs will be delivered in the summer and late fall of 2011.
“We are excited to announce this fleet enhancement to our employees, the BC marine industry and the community at large,” said Jonathan Whitworth, Washington Marine Group CEO. “The benefits of a purchase of this type are numerous, including the rebuilding and modernization of our fleet, and increased safety and capabilities for all ship escorts performed in the Vancouver Harbor. As recently reported, the Port has an immediate need for more modern and powerful tugs to assist the growing number of tankers within the Port. Seaspan recognized this growing concern, and I’m extremely pleased to report that we took the necessary steps to assist Port Metro Vancouver and the BC Coast Pilots in providing the solution.”
Also, Jonathan notes that the savings created by the Provincial Government’s elimination of the PST in favor of the BC HST, which is fully recoverable by businesses, as well as very favorable exchange rates due to devaluation of the Euro, was a “golden opportunity” the company just couldn’t pass up. “Because of these two factors alone, we were able to increase the purchase size from an initial three boats to the eventual four boat order.”