Argentina protects quality fleet standard
Remolcadores Unidos Argentinos (RUA) may be praised for its perseverance ‘to go foreign’. It is the first Argentine tug operator to have imported a newbuild Damen tug and this has come all the way from Damen Shipyards Changde in China to Buenos Aires. The towage company had to convince the very demanding Prefectura Naval Argentina (PNA) that the Damen ASD Tug 2810 was really fit to meet the strict requirements of the Argentine flag.
“Importing a ship in Argentina is a rather complex task taking into account the current situation of the country”, says RUA President and CEO Dr Carlos Alfonso Ruiz Moreno, adding that the required procedures and authorisations to be awarded the Argentine flag demanded several months, “but the exerted efforts and the time involved were compensated by far. The ASD Tug 2810 RUA Cap. Lucio R. is performing at the highest standards and well beyond our already positive expectations”.
We will continue renewing our tugboat fleet, incorporating more manoeuvrable and powerful tugs, thus meeting the market requirements.
Dr Ruiz Moreno observes that the Argentine authorities were well acquainted with this type of tug. Its design is known worldwide, he says. “Nevertheless, the requirements and tests put on her were really extensive. However, the demands were met and even exceeded with the help and support of Damen and the classification society involved.”
He expects that there is a market for the ASD tugs in Argentina and elsewhere in Latin America, provided the design is adapted to the required standards. It can be done with minor modifications, mutually recognised and agreed between the parties involved.
“The harbour towage market is well served today by the local tugboat fleet. But we had to renew our tugs and purchase newbuildings with more engine power and higher bollard pull due to the fact that we now have larger oceangoing vessels calling in our ports.”
In the opinion of the RUA President and CEO, fleet renewal – with or without ASD tugs – should be considered a permanent challenge and according the commercial and economic possibilities of the individual businesses within the various countries. It is also important to collaborate with foreign shipyards in the field of technology and combine this with local operational experience – companies that know the harbours, prevailing labour regulations, operational costs etc., he says, adding that they are obviously different in each and every country and port.
Talking about future expectations Dr Ruiz Moreno foresees that the demand for food to be shipped will continue to grow in the world. “In this respect, Latin America is well positioned. As far as RUA is concerned, we will continue renewing our tugboat fleet, incorporating more manoeuvrable and powerful tugs, thus meeting the market requirements.
We will work to achieve this goal but have to depend on the changing situation in the country. Argentina is a big country with great promise but it requires vast experience to navigate its waters.”
In conclusion he says: “An old and wise seaman told: ‘We don’t always sail directly bound to where we want to go, but where winds allow us to, while having in mind a clear final destination’.”