SA Navy to receive first new tug tomorrow

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The South African Navy (SAN) will tomorrow receive the first of two new tugs from Damen Shipyards Cape Town.

The tug, Imvubu, will arrive in Simon’s Town on Thursday at 14:00, the Navy said. The acquisition of the tugs was initiated to address the shortcomings within the Naval Harbour Services Simon’s Town and replace the two existing tugs, de Neys (52 years old) and de Mist (40 years old).

The Navy said the product specification called for the design, test and logistic support of two identical, highly manoeuvrable, operationally proven, Commercial-Off-The-Shelf Tractor Tugs for the South African Navy. “These tugs must be capable of functioning both autonomously and in combination with one another in support of naval harbour activities and with the ability to do short international voyages.”

The contract was awarded to Damen Shipyards Cape Town on 3 January 2014, which subsequently began building the tug Imvubu (Hippo).

The building of the second tug Inyathi (Buffalo) commenced 6 months later, and is currently in the production phase. It took 16 months for the first Tractor Tug to be completed, with harbour and sea acceptance trials following prior to delivery to Simon’s Town. Inyathi will be delivered early 2016.

The project has been managed by SA Navy Project Officer Commander Hermann van Geems and Project Engineers, Mr Rob Moody (Ret) and Warrant Officer Class 1 James Stewart, under the control of Director Naval Acquisition R Adm (JG) Alan Claydon-Fink and staff, the SAN said.

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.