Cherbourg’s changing needs

Published in category: Harbour & Terminal

Bernard_Leger_Chief_Master_Caen_Chamber

New ASD Tug 2810 capable of harbour duties and offshore renewable support

Bernard Léger
Chief Master
Caen Chamber of Commerce towage department

Looking for a vessel to handle all its regular harbour assistance duties as well as to support the growing amount of renewable energy operations in the area, the Port of Caen/Chamber of Commerce & Industry Caen Normandy selected a Damen ASD Tug 2810. Delivered in summer 2016, the new vessel – called the Cherbourg 1 – made an immediate impression in its home port of Cherbourg on France’s north coast.

“We have some big cruise ships calling here; and several ferries arriving from the UK and Ireland every day,” begins Bernard Léger, Chief Master of the Caen Chamber of Commerce towage department. There is also a berthing facility capable of handling offshore transhipments of capesize bulk carriers just outside the harbour walls. Prior to the delivery of the Cherbourg 1, the port’s harbour assistance duties were performed by a vessel that had seen close to 40 years of service. The Chamber of Commerce also operates additional tugs in the Port of Caen at the base of the Cotentin peninsula.

“This new vessel is dedicated to the port of Cherbourg. In terms of manoeuvrability, she is perfect for what we have to do. And in terms of bollard pull, for sure, we absolutely need this 60 tonnes as the winds can get really strong here.” Complementing its role as all-round harbour tug, the new vessel is installed with 1200 m3/hr Fire Fighting equipment: “This is quite normal considering that she is now the only tug based in Cherbourg.”

Offshore adaptations

In recent years, France’s Normandy coast has seen substantial expansion in the offshore renewables market. Not only do the region’s strong prevailing winds provide the muscle for offshore wind developments, but some of the strongest tidal streams in the world can be found here. For example, the Alderney Race (called Raz Blanchard in French), which runs between the Cotentin peninsula and Channel Islands, can attain speeds of up to 12 knots. It is this site, located in close proximity to Cherbourg, which has been chosen to set up a number of tidal energy projects which will be mobilized from the port of Cherbourg.

The growing presence of these offshore energy operations creates a consequent need for supporting vessels. The Cherbourg 1 exhibits a number of modifications to the standard ASD Tug 2810 design that will make her suitable for light offshore work. “We have installed extra equipment like the wooden deck, cargo rails and hydraulic towing pins to allow the vessel to carry out small offshore jobs on these renewables projects,” explains Mr Léger. “There is also the extra aft drum winch and deck accommodation to give us the capacity to perform towing and salvage jobs, and anchor and buoy handling in the area.”

Getting acquainted

While the Cherbourg 1 represents the first Damen vessel for the Port of Caen/Chamber of Commerce & Industry Caen Normandy, the two parties have had contact with each other on earlier occasions. “We have received tenders from Damen twice before; which we didn’t choose for technical reasons. However, this time we chose Damen and we are absolutely happy with the job that they have done for us. Furthermore, the feedback that we hear from the captains is that they absolutely love the new vessel.”

In terms of propulsion, the new tug signifies another first for the Port Authority, as the remainder of their fleet uses Voith Schneider propulsion systems. “The ASD propulsion system was new for us – it was for this reason that we sent some captains for simulator training to 360 Control, in the Netherlands. This training helped them get accustomed to working with an ASD propulsion system and this is a benefit to their day-to-day work.”