Tug No.7 Usiba is launched as No.6 Umbilo is handed over

by Hans | August 23rd, 2017

It was another proud day at the Southern African Shipyards yesterday when tug number 7 in a building programme of nine tugs was named USIBA and launched while tug number 6 UMBILO was handed over to Transnet National Ports Authority.

The sponsor or godmother of the latest tug, Ms Judith Nzimande, who is president of the Zululand Chamber of Commerce and Industry, sent a bottle of sparkling wine breaking across the tug’s bows in the traditional form of christening a vessel, before the tug was taken out into Durban Bay on board the floating dock which would later lower her into the waters for the first time. USIBA, whose name means “Feather”, is destined for… the Port of Richards Bay, while UMBILO, named after a local river that runs into Durban Bay, entered service yesterday in the Port of Durban.

The two tugs are part of a shipbuilding contract for nine similar tugs awarded to Southern African Shipyards. Each tug, like predecessors built before them also at SA Shipyards, is propelled by Voith Schneider propulsion and have a bollard strength of 70 tons. This enables them to handle the biggest ships likely to enter South African ports.

Other tugs in the series have been deployed to Ngqura, Port Elizabeth and Saldanha Bay while Richards Bay has already received another of them. Nico Walters, TNPA General Manager: Strategy described the event as significant as it followed TNPA and Southern African Shipyards’ joint winning of the Partnership Award in the Manufacturing category of the 2017 KZN Top Business Awards. “TNPA and Southern African Shipyards clinched the award for this project, which the awards panel recognised as demonstrating our commitment to developing South Africans, and ultimately strengthening the nation through shipbuilding and repair services.

The panel deemed this exceptional in respect of transparency and timeous delivery,” he said. Walters said Southern African Shipyards was playing a proactive role in helping to unlock the potential of the Ocean Economy. He said the Durban-based ship builder had upheld the highest standards of sustainability and socio-economic responsibility throughout the project. “This project is a shining example of the potential for Public Private Partnerships to create jobs and grow the economy,” he said. The project has created 500 direct and 3500 indirect jobs with a minimum of 60% locally manufactured components. Subcontractors involved on the project include international subcontractors with local operations such as Barloworld Equipment, Siemens and Voith Schneider, as well as local contractors such as Bradgary Marine Shopfitters.

The nine tugs are being built for TNPA over three and a half years as part of a wider fleet replacement programme that also includes new dredging vessels and new marine aviation helicopters. USIBA will be handed over to the Port of Richards Bay in November 2017. The eighth tug is due to be delivered in February 2018 and the ninth and final tug in June 2018.

(Source: Ports & Ships; Photo: TNPA)

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