A new tug for Saqr Port, part of Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) Ports, has been launched at the Albwardy Damen shipyard in Sharjah. The vessel is expected to arrive in Ras Al Khaimah in late July following commissioning and sea trials.
Ordered around a year ago, the tug will join RAK Ports’ existing tug fleet and operate in the new deep water bulk terminal currently nearing completion at the port. The powerful 80 tonnes bollard pull tug, a Damen ASD Tug 2913 type, will provide additional power for manoeuvring large Capesize bulk vessels.
The tug was launched in the presence of Captain Cliff Brand, the chief executive officer of RAK Ports, and Captain Michael Magee, the harbour master of RAK Ports. In an acceptance speech, Captain Brand highlighted the importance for the UAE economy of building “in the UAE for the UAE” and the added value of having a shipbuilding yard around the corner for support during the life time of the vessel.
Saqr Port is a major bulk handing port in the Middle East and a vital part of the regional economy. Located at the foot of the Hajar Mountains, it serves the fast-growing quarry industry in the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah, from where each year 55 million tonnes of bulk materials are exported through the port to countries around the Arabian Gulf.
The ASD Tug 2913 was selected for the new terminal primarily because the design is both compact and powerful. These characteristics will allow it to handle the large bulk carriers using the new terminal within the restricted waters of the harbour. The proximity of the Hajar Mountains also brings challenges in the form of powerful winds that can sweep across the port with little or no warning. In addition to its towing power, the 29m long tug ASD also features high freeboard and a raised quarterdeck for safe operations in rough seas.
RAK Ports is a long-standing customer of the Damen Shipyards Group. Its seven-strong tug fleet is comprised of a Damen ASD Tug 2411, a Damen ASD Tug 2310 and five Damen Stan Tugs.
The ASD Tug 2913 tug for RAK Ports is the first of a series ASD Tugs 2913 under construction at Albwardy Damen in the UAE. Another three tugs of this type and a series of 60 and 70 tonne ASD Tugs are being built for stock. The stock construction policy enables the yard to offer proven vessels at very short notice to operators across the region, and beyond.
In another significant initiative for RAK Ports, a Memorandum of Understanding has been signed, linking the RAK Ports Training Institute and the Abu Dhabi Maritime Academy. The agreement will enable the two organisations to cooperate in assisting with the training needs of each other, as well as the needs of other organisations in the UAE and the wider Middle East region.