The South African Navy has formally accepted the two new Damen ATD 2909 tugs built by Damen Shipyards Cape Town into service.
The Acceptance Ceremony, under the watchful eye of Project Officer Commander Hermann van Geems, took place at Simon’s Town Naval Base on Thursday. Although the rain was a much needed blessing for Cape Town and surrounds, it did prevent invited guests from touring and admiring the new acquisitions.
The first tug, Imvubu (Hippo), was delivered to the SA Navy on 9 July 2015, whilst the second, Inyathi (Buffalo), was received on 4 February this year. Acquired under Project Canter, the two tugs will replace the existing harbour and coastal stalwarts De Neys and De Mist, built in 1969 and 1978 respectively.
The vessel replacement contract was awarded to Damen Shipyards Cape Town (DSCT) in January 2014. This, van Geems was proud to announce, resulted in a build period of 18 months for each tug and a total contract period of just 26 months.
The new tugs are equipped to safely assist the SA Navy’s current and future fleet of vessels under all-weather, heavy sea, restricted visibility, day and night conditions within the confines of Southern African ports and in coastal waters. The vessels will also be deployed for towing, mooring and fire-fighting operations.
Signing the Certificate of Acceptance with Damen Chairman Sam Montsi, Chief of the Navy Vice Admiral Mosiwa Hlongwane said: “We are very proud of the new tugs.”
At the time Inyathi was delivered earlier this year, van Geems noted that the Navy was very happy with the result of this project. “Imvubu has certainly proven her worth over the last six months and we expect the same from her sister vessel," he said.
van Geems explained that the project team managing the acquisition had an excellent working relationship with DSCT.
The tugs are equipped with rigid foundations, extra plate thickness, extra brackets and extra fendering. They were further outfitted with SA Navy equipment to ensure equipment duplication and maintenance saving. The azimuth tractor drive (ATD) tugs have a bollard pull of 43 tonnes, a length of 29 metres, a beam of 9.98 metres, a maximum speed of 13.2 knots and a propulsion system of two Caterpillar 3512C HD engines with a total power of 3 000 bkW at 1 600 rpm. They are also outfitted with Rolls Royce US 205 azimuth thrusters.
With the deadline for the submission of tenders for new Offshore Patrol Vessels (Project Biro) at the end of June, the Navy is using Project Canter as a small-scale model for the larger acquisition project.
Farocean Marine (now DSCT) delivered two Damen Stan Tugs for the SA Navy in 2006. These vessels are currently in service with the Naval Harbour Master for port operations and submarine handling in Simon’s Town.