Damen to Build Six Tugs for Port Hedland Bulk Ops

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March 7, 2017

Illustration of the ART 85-32W class tugs designed by Robert Allan. Credit: DAMEN

A subsidiary of Fortescue Metals Group has placed an order with Dutch shipbuilder Damen for the construction of six 32-meter Rotor Tugs to be deployed at the company’s facilities at Port Hedland in Western Australia, the world’s largest bulk export port.

From there, Fortescue exports 165-170 million tonnes of iron ore per year.

The order was placed by Pilbara Marine, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fortescue. In May 2016 Pilbara Marine was awarded a second towage license by Pilbara Ports Authority for the port of Port Hedland.

The six tugs will be built to the ART 85-32W class, designed by Robert Allan Ltd. Their trademarked Rotor®Tug propulsion system features three azimuth thrusters; two forward and one aft. Together these deliver the full 85 tonnes of bollard pull over both the bow and the stern, and 65% from amidships. The system delivers additional benefits regarding maneuverability, braking, and engine and winch redundancy. The W notation refers to the increased beam of these designs, providing additional stability during escorting operations conducted regularly at Port Hedland.

The six Rotor Tugs will be built at Damen’s Song Cam Shipyard in Vietnam. The first two are scheduled for delivery by the end of October 2018, with the remaining four due in early 2019.

“We are confident that our full operational requirements will be met by the new ART 85-32W design and are heartened by the fact that Damen will provide long term support here in Western Australia.” said Rebecca Hayward, Legal Manager Strategic Contracts / Developments at Fortescue Metals Group.

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