Transnet names two new tugs

The Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) on Friday launched a tugboat named after the Eastern Cape home village of late former president Nelson Mandela.

Qunu and Cormorant‚ the other of the two boats unveiled‚ are a sign that the “South African government’s Operation Phakisa: Oceans Economy initiative has yielded more results”‚ a statement said.

Transnet SOC chairperson Linda Mabaso was handed the duty of officially naming the vessels in Durban.

Qunu and Cormorant “form part of TNPA’s R1.4-billion contract awarded to Durban ship builder‚ Southern African Shipyards‚ in the “the largest single contract TNPA has ever given to a South African company for the building of harbour craft”.

It includes nine new tugs in total‚ the last of which is to be handed over in early 2018.

“Operation Phakisa is reigniting growth in the ocean economy and has been a catalyst for Transnet’s fast-tracking of investments into our ports. South Africa’s location and the expertise demonstrated by projects like this are key to us increasing our share of the global marine manufacturing market‚ including ship-building and repair‚ rig repair and refurbishment or boat-building‚” Mabaso said.

Qunu is to be allocated to the Port of Port Elizabeth‚ while Cormorant will do duty in the Port of Saldanha.

The new tugs are 31m-long with a 70-ton bollard pull and “have Voith Scheider propulsion‚ which makes them highly manoeuvrable and able to change the direction and thrust almost instantaneously while guiding large vessels safely into South Africa’s ports”.