DISCOVER Magazine #7

A new ASD 2310 for Foyle Port

Published in category: Harbour & Terminal


Meeting growing demands

Bill McCann
Captain, Harbour Master
and Operations Director
Foyle Port

Foyle Port is located on the banks of Lough Foyle in the north west of Ireland. Handling a diverse range of visiting vessels, the port has expanded steadily over the years. The increased turnaround of bulk products and the addition of an oil terminal had the port’s two tugs working to their limits.

The solution was to purchase a third tug, explains Captain Bill McCann, Harbour Master and Operations Director at Foyle Port: “We are a public trust port which means we reinvest our profits back into the port to upgrade our facilities. We have operated sufficiently for some time now with two tugs; a modern ASD and an older, single screw tug that has really done a good job over the years. However, to cope with the demands of the oil terminal and the increasing size of bulk carriers that we are receiving, we really needed a new ASD with more bollard pull. We have upgraded the port’s aids to navigation to facilitate night-time berthing and sailing of oil tankers, so it was also essential that we had push/pull capabilities in order to safely carry out these operations. ”

Regarding a new tug, Captain McCann’s objectives were clear: “The port needed an ASD tug with 50 tonnes bollard pull, an aft winch and a deck crane. The tug also needed to be in the UK Workboat Code and have a safe manning of three crew for harbour operations.”

Adding extra specs

After an open European public tender process, Damen won the contract to build an ASD Tug 2310. The new tug – called Strathfoyle – was constructed at Damen Shipyards Changde in China. “When it comes to Damen, I know their high standards and quality of build from previous experience, so I was actually very pleased that they won the tender.”

Modifying Damen’s standard ASD 2310 design, Foyle Port specified some extra options for the new tug. “We occasionally get called out to the north west of Ireland and the west coast of Scotland for vessel assistance duties. This was the reason we installed an aft towing winch. As we are also expanding our Marine Services division, we installed a deck crane for even more all-round capability. In this respect, she is more than a tug, she is a workboat too – a jack of all trades. Although the tug’s main function is harbour towage, the extra equipment also gives us possibilities to charter her out.”


Gaining experience

Prior to delivery of the new vessel, Foyle Port’s team of tug masters travelled to the Netherlands to follow a tug simulator training course at 360 Control, in IJmuiden. In recreating, realistic harbour towage scenarios, training times for new tug masters can be considerably reduced. “This was a top of the range training programme – absolutely fantastic.”

In addition to simulator training, Foyle Port took advantage of Damen’s local crew training services. Damen sent out an engineer and a tug master for a week-long vessel familiarisation.” The benefits of the local training were also appreciated by the port’s tug masters and engineers. “Even though our tug masters are very experienced, it’s always good to be able to pick up extra advice from the Damen skippers.”

Word from the tug masters

At the time of writing, the new tug has been fully operational for 6 weeks. “During that time, she has made a couple of trips over to Scotland for sea towage operations. The feedback from our tug masters is excellent. They are very impressed, not only with the all-round towage operations but also with the tug’s excellent seakeeping capabilities. The pilots are also very pleased with her and it has made harbor towage operations safe and efficient.”

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