Towage and marine services provider Smit Lamnalco has taken delivery of the SL Wiggins Island, the fifth and final tug purpose-built at Sanmar Shipyard in Turkey. The tugboats will service three LNG export terminals in the Port of Gladstone on Australia’s east coast. The 80 tonnes bollard pull terminal support escort tug, will now make her way to Australian waters where she will join her sister vessels at the beginning of July.

The first of the five-ship Robert Allan RAstar 3400 series — with modifications, SL Curtis Island, was delivered last December and, since then, SL Quoin Island, SL Boyne Island and SL Heron Island have been commissioned. The Bureau Veritas-classed tugs, are 34 metres long, 14.5 metres wide, have a maximum draft of six metres and have FiFi 1 notation. Powered by a pair of Wärtsilä 8L26 diesel engines, each developing 2,720 kW at 1,000 rpm, the tugs have a bollard pull ahead of 86 tonnes, astern of 80 tonnes and a free-running speed of 15 knots.

SL Curtis Island and SL Quoin Island

State-of-the-art LNG proof tugs

Built specially to assist the berthing and manoeuvring of LNG carriers, close attention to safety has been paramount. The vessels are equipped with gas detectors and gas-tight dampers on all air inlets and outlets. All electric deck equipment including towing winches, navigation lights, outside lights and emergency stop buttons are of explosion-proof design.

The electric gas-tight dampers are remotely controlled by the gas safety system which has two alarm stages – one at 20% lower explosion limit (LEL) and a second at 40% LEL.

“We are delighted with these new terminal service vessels,” comments Frederik Rutgers, Smit Lamnalco’s General Manager in Gladstone. “We are very impressed with the quality of construction and the tugs are performing well. Our Captains report that they have excellent sea-keeping characteristics and are very strong and stable.”

Extensive terminal-specific training programme

Rutgers explains that Smit Lamnalco seafarers have undergone extensive training over a two-year period in preparation for the commissioning of the five new tugs. Port- and vessel-specific models have been used at the Smartship Australia simulator in Brisbane. Pilots, tug captains and about 40 crew have undergone terminal-specific training in a range of different simulated weather states and “what if” emergency response scenarios. Further training has been undertaken on board the vessels, overseen by experienced Training Masters.

So far, one of the three LNG export terminals in Gladstone is operational and the other two are in the final stages of construction. The number of LNG carriers that will call Gladstone is gradually ramping up to an expected one LNG carrier every day for shipment to destinations mostly in Asia.

Close cooperation with the yard

Speaking for the builder Sanmar Shipyard, Project Director Ali Gürün outlines some of the other vessel features. “These vessels represent a truly unique development in terminal escort tug design with many new features. We designed a new user-friendly control system,” he explains, “which uses touchscreen technology to control systems on board the vessel. It is backed up by conventional controls.” The tugs are built in full compliance with Australian Maritime Authority Safety regulations which have detailed engineering and design requirements and are amongst the most demanding in the world.

“The towing winches are powered by two 75kW electrical motors driven by separate frequency drives and inverters to provide full redundancy,” Gürün continues. “These components, together with the dynamic brakes are all water-cooled for safe operation in all weather conditions.”

“It has been a pleasure to build these vessels for Smit Lamnalco and we look forward to continuing our business relationship in the months ahead. We are proud of the quality of our products and our vessels now operate in many regions of the world” Gürün adds.

Smit Lamnalco’s expansion in Australia

For Smit Lamnalco, commissioning of the vessels marks a further expansion of its Australian footprint. Smit Lamnalco operates in 10 locations with 29 tugs and offshore support vessels on the Australian coast.

SL Curtis Island