Smit Lamnalco, a global provider of towage and associated marine services to offshore oil and gas terminals, placed an order today for a series of four 32m long RAstar 3200 class Azimuth Stern Drive (ASD) tugs.
Built to the Robert Allan design, the tugs will be deployed to support Smit Lamnalco’s contract to assist the berthing and unberthing of LNG carriers at new export facilities being developed in Papua New Guinea by the Exxon Mobil-led consortium, Papua New Guinea LNG. They will be deployed on initial ten-year charters with options to extend to 25 years.
The four new tugs will be built by Hong Kong-based shipbuilder Cheoy Lee at its Hin Lee Shipyard in the Pearl River Delta on mainland China.
Delivery of the first two of new tugs is scheduled for October and November 2013 with the remaining two following in January and February 2014. The estimated value of the contract is US$ 35 million.
The RAStar series was designed by Vancouver-based Robert Allan to provide the high power levels needed to undertake escort operations in weather- and sea-exposed areas, including LNG terminals, where high standards of seakeeping are required. Smit Lamnalco has operated 36m long, 100t bollard pull rated RAstar 3600 tugs in the Middle East Gulf since 2009.
Phil Cornish, from Smit Lamnalco’s Projects Department says: “We have had a very positive experience with this hull type, so it was the natural choice to opt for the RAstar design once again.
However, because of the particular requirements of the PNG contract, we have opted for a shorter version with a lower bollard pull rating, which we believe will be a better match for the expected operating conditions.”