Southern African Shipyards (SAS) has launched a fifth tug for the Transnet National Ports Authority, the Ukhozi, in Durban on 13 February.
Ukhozi will be used at the Port of Richards Bay and is Kwa-ZuluNatal’s first new tug among four planned for the province’s ports.
Southern African Shipyards CEO Prasheen Maharaj said the fifth tug was launched on time and within budget. “The concerted efforts by TNPA and other State entities to promote localisation must be commended. It is only when we boost our own economy, that will we be able to address the current scourge of unemployment our youth face. The Maritime Sector and Operation Phakisa specifically serves as a beacon of hope for millions of South Africans,” he said.
The launch was attended by TNPA CEO Richard Vallihu who said the R1.4 billion tug project is 81% complete, with the final, ninth, tug to be delivered in 2018. Four tugs have already been delivered and are in service in Port Elizabeth and Saldanha. Durban will receive two tugs.
The nine new tugs are being acquired as part of a wider fleet replacement programme that covers tugs, new dredging vessels and new helicopters. The programme – aimed at improving operational efficiency in the ports – sits within TNPA’s R56 billion contribution to Transnet’s R300 billion-plus Market Demand Strategy.
TNPA’s new fleet of nine tugs are each 31 metres long with a 70 ton bollard pull. The older fleet of 29 tugs has 32.5 to 40 ton pulls. The increased bollard pull of these new generation tugs meets international standards and they also feature the latest global technology such as Voith Schneider propulsion which makes them highly manoeuvrable and able to change direction and thrust almost instantaneously while guiding large vessels safely into South Africa’s ports.