The Port of Cape Town has taken delivery of its powerful, new tug USIBA which is set to boost marine efficiency at the port. USIBA was handed over to senior management of the port on Friday, 17 November at a ceremony in Durban before her arrival in Cape Town on 24 November 2017 after around 60 hours at sea.

USIBA is the seventh tug to be delivered in Transnet National Ports Authority’s (TNPA) R1.4 billion, nine-tug construction contract being executed by Durban ship builder Southern African Shipyards. The project is the largest single contract TNPA has ever awarded to a South African company for the building of harbour craft.

TNPA Port Manager at the Port of Cape Town, Mpumi Dweba, said the new vessel will aid the port as it continues to service bigger commercial vessels more frequently.

“USIBA was originally intended for the Port of Richards Bay, which named her after the isiZulu word for the Black-crowned Night-Heron in line with their tradition of naming their marine fleet after birds.

 

Tug Usiba
Tug Usiba

“Since then adjustments in TNPA’s planning have seen USIBA deployed to Cape Town instead. We’re delighted as her presence in the port will better equip us to improve operational efficiency, speed up vessel turnaround times and assist the much larger commercial vessels now calling at our port. These ships require powerful tugs to push or tow them into port, and Cape Town cannot be left wanting with other tugs in our fleet having only 30 to 40 ton bollard pull.”

TNPA’s new fleet of tugs features the latest global technology such as Voith Schneider Propellers and each is 31 metres long with a 70 ton bollard pull.

The nine tugs are being built for TNPA over three years, with five under construction at any given time, as part of a wider fleet replacement programme that also includes new dredging vessels and new helicopters.

Transnet Tug Usiba
Transnet Tug Usiba

Through the tug construction project TNPA and Southern African Shipyards have created 500 direct and 3500 indirect jobs with a minimum of 60% locally manufactured components.

To date new tugs in this order have been delivered on time, within budget and to specification, to the Ports of Port Elizabeth, Saldanha, Richards Bay, Durban and now Cape Town. The eight tug, UMKHOMAZI, was officially named and launched in Durban on 17 November and would be delivered to the Port of Durban in February 2018. The ninth tug is expected to be delivered to the Port of Saldanha by April 2018.