DISCOVER Magazine #7

ASD Tug 2810 brings power to Port De Papeete, Tahiti

Published in category: Harbour & Terminal

Georges Puchon Director Port Autonome de Papeete
Georges Puchon
Port Autonome de Papeete

François Chaumette Harbour Master Port Autonome de Papeete
François Chaumette
Harbour Master
Port Autonome de Papeete

At the end of 2017, Port Autonome de Papeete on the Pacific island of Tahiti celebrated the delivery of a Damen ASD Tug 2810 with a dramatic procession of tugs in the harbour. The vessel had been ordered in May that year and, with one already in stock at Damen Song Cam Shipyard in Vietnam, work began immediately to finish her in accordance with French regulations before she embarked on the 6,635 nautical miles voyage to Tahiti on her own keel.

Despite Tahiti’s remote location in the centre of the Pacific Ocean, Port Autonome de Papeete serves a wide range of vessels including cruise ships, oil tankers and naval vessels, as well as local ferry and cargo traffic. With the port’s existing primary tug becoming increasingly outdated, a new, more powerful vessel capable of handling the ever larger vessels expected in the coming years was seen as vital for both the port and Tahiti given its remoteness and reliance on trade.

Preparing for the future

“The port has been reviewing its development strategy and looking at the expansion of our infrastructure and developing our activities in line with modern trends in vessel size,” explains Georges Puchon, Director of Port Autonome de Papeete. “We are increasingly hosting cruise liners that are more than 360 metres long, and while we currently do not dock large cargo ships, in 2016 we did receive a 4,500 TEU vessel and expect more in the future. We have also completed a new oil tanker wharf that for a few weeks a year is exposed to a swell from the south, and so an additional, powerful tug is needed to ensure safe berthing of the tankers.”

Damen won an open tender for the supply of a tug, specifying its ASD Tug 2810 model as a rugged, versatile vessel capable of delivering 60 tonnes of bollard pull. An additional winch was added along with fire-fighting capability, and remote maintenance and engine monitoring systems also formed part of the final specification. “Damen was awarded the tender thanks to its good technical arguments, professional experience and its provision of after-sales support and services in Tahiti,” noted Georges.

Named the Aito Nui 2, the ASD Tug 2810 joined two smaller tugs; the Aito Nui 1 with 40-tonnes of bollard pull, and the Aute, and will operate in cooperation with the Damen

Service Hub in Brisbane, Australia, 3220 nautical miles to the west. As well as keeping the ASD Tug 2810 in good working order, this arrangement will result in a welcome transfer of skills and technology to the Tahitian maritime sector.

A real lady

Since the Aito Nui 2 began commercial operations in Papeete in November 2017, the unanimous verdict from all involved has been one of completely satisfaction,

said Harbour Master François Chaumette.

“She has proved to be powerful, very handy and reliable. Due to the power of her pods she has to be treated with finesse, like a ‘real lady’, very different to our Aito Nui 1 which has a much heavier feeling given that she is hand operated with bridge tillers. Little maintenance has been needed so far. The Caterpillar engines, both main and generators, are still in break mode so only the generator cooling impellers are showing any fatigue.

“Making the adjustment from the partly automated Aito Nui 1 to the fully automated
Aito Nui 2 has been a revolution for the crew. Even though their STCW certifications are up-to-date we have given them specific training on the ship’s systems and handling. So,” concludes Francois.

We are very pleased with our ASD Tug 2810 tug. She gives the Port Autonome de Papeete and all who work in it real peace of mind when it comes to harbour operations.

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