DISCOVER Magazine #7

The Luisa Neri demonstrates her versatility

Published in category: Harbour & Terminal

Getting to the heart of the matter

Fratelli Neri, harbour towage services and related maritime services.
Piero Neri
Fratelli Neri

Headquartered in Livorno on the Italian west coast, Fratelli Neri has more than 100 years of experience in the towage and salvage sectors. With more than 30 vessels in the fleet, the company is committed to consolidating international activities in maritime-related services that include oil pollution response and offshore oil terminal assistance, in addition to harbour towage operations. Part of the Neri Group, the company is a fifth generation family-owned business. Here, Fratelli Neri President Piero Neri talks about the company’s newest member of the fleet: the Luisa Neri, a Damen ASD Tug 3212.

At the beginning of 2016, Fratelli Neri took delivery of the Luisa Neri: since the acquisition, the company has mobilised the new vessel for harbour escort duties in her home port of Livorno. “Towage activity is very intense here. The Luisa Neri assists various types of ships including large oil tankers,” begins Mr Neri. “With its tight turns, Livorno is renowned for being a challenging harbour to operate in – but this tug can handle that. The captain and crew are extremely satisfied with the outcome in terms of performance and manoeuvrability, but also the standard of construction and painting.”

tugboat wheelhouse, ASD tugboat for harbour operations

Offshore flexibility

Fratelli Neri’s scope of business extends beyond the harbour walls of Livorno, however. More than half the company’s fleet is active elsewhere – in operations worldwide as well as other ports on Italy’s west coast. “The Neri Group also has offshore operations – for which the Luisa Neri is extremely capable of working in. She has excellent seakeeping characteristics: the shape of the hull and raised forecastle deck facilitates operations in exposed offshore waters,” he says. “Therefore we have the flexibility to use her in both harbour and offshore situations.”

Safe and dependable towing

The Luisa Neri uses Damen’s ASD Tug 3212 design. With more than 40 sold since its introduction into the portfolio, this is a vessel renowned for its power, stability and safe working environment. To top all that, the vessel is also installed with a Damen renderrecovery winch.
“The winch is the heart of a tug. In terms of reliability and flexibility, this render-recovery winch is a very important piece of equipment because it reduces the chance of the towing line breaking. This makes offshore towing and escorting activities much safer,” explains Mr Neri. “The captain of the Luisa Neri is extremely satisfied when towing under escort mode. In the towage sector it is important to always have the best possible equipment. The winch is one an example of this. At the moment, this is maybe the only such winch in Mediterranean waters – it is an important milestone for us.”

Investment in innovations

Incorporating technical innovations into its fleet has always been a key factor in the company’s strategy: “We are always very keen and ready to accept new developments,” continues Mr Neri. “In terms of both service offered to our clients and for our personnel on board, innovations have always been important. Advances in propulsion systems – azimuth drives, for example – and ship’s automation systems have brought safer and more comfortable working conditions to our personnel. The future will see further important changes that are driven by environmental issues and sustainable resources. We will keep investing in new technologies to increase the expertise inside our company.”

Performance when you need it

A closer look at Damen’s render-recovery winch

During offshore escorting and towage activities, a tug captain needs equipment he can count on. When the wind is howling and the waves are pounding, one potential worst case scenario is breakage of the towing line. Damen’s render-recovery winch, like the one installed on the Luisa Neri, goes a long way in reducing to chances of this situation occurring.

The winch works by preventing the high peak loads that can occur in the towing wire in rough conditions. This is accomplished by rendering speeds of up to 100 m/min with a line force of 100 tonnes and recovery speeds up to 50 m/min with a line force of 60 tonnes.

tugboat winch, render recovery winch

“The Damen Marine Components (DMC) render-recovery winch outperforms its competitors by far – it really is unique in the industry,” says Damen Senior Design & Proposal Engineer Tugs Mr Erik van Schaik. “With various operating modes used to control either the distance or the forces acting between tug and the vessel it is assisting, tug captains have an outstanding degree of flexibility. Choices can be made depending on the weather, the sea conditions and the work involved.”

The system is proven: “We have successfully tested the render-recovery winch in 3 metre significant wave heights with 6 second wave periods.”

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