Keel laying ceremony for new Navy tugs


Tugs are an important part of naval operations and the SA Navy command will welcome this week’s keel laying ceremony at Damen Shipyards for two new workhorses to replace the ageing ones currently in service.

The tugs, the first of which is scheduled for delivery in 16 months and the second eight months later, will replace De Noord (51 years old) and De Mist (39 years old).

The Cape Town-based shipyard, part of the Dutch shipbuilding company, will be building the pair of tugs with more than half the total product sourced locally.

The Damen ATD Tug 2909 is based on a Royal Navy approved design and is driven by azimuth thrusters powered by a pair of Rolls-Royce US 205 CP engines.

The tugs basic functions are towing, mooring and firefighting and both will be registered as SAMSA Class VIII vessels.

The ATDs have a displacement of 370 tons, a length of 28.7m, a beam of 9.9m and a draught of 4.8m. The bollard pull is specified at 40 tons.

The acquisition of the new tugs is being executed under the project name Canter.

While their work will generally confine them to Simon’s Town harbour and immediate surrounds both can accommodate up to eight people if the tugs’ service is needed elsewhere along the coastline.

When completed the new additions will join the tug Umalusi as the movers and positioners of frigates, submarines, mine counter-measures vessels, the supply ship SAS Drakensberg, the hydrographic ship SAS Protea as well as other naval vessels calling in at the home port of the SA Navy.