The Meyer’s Group has ordered two Damen ASD 2913 Tugs to operate in the newly expanded Panama Canal. At an official signing ceremony at the Panama Maritime XIII World Conference, Michel Mittelmeyer, Chief Executive Officer said the Meyer’s Group was awarded a contract last year to offer towage support in the new Panama Canal locks.

The new tugs fulfil the requirements of the Panama Canal Authority as more powerful vessels, of at least 80 tonnes bollard pull, are needed given the ever-increasing size of vessels. These two additions will give the company an 11-strong fleet, and six of these are Damen vessels.

Commenting on why the Panamanian company decided to place a fresh order with the Dutch shipyard group, Mr Mittelmeyer says: “We have known Damen Shipyards Group for many years now, and respect the quality of its vessel construction and this is coupled with very good service support.”

In 2012, the Meyer’s Group bought two Damen ASD 2810 Tugs and an ASD 3212. But before this, the company had also chartered many Damen vessels. “Damen provides reliable, quality vessels, which are cost-efficient in the longer term. That is why we decided to remain loyal to Damen again this time.”

The latest two additions – Arcangel San Rafael and Arcangel San Gabriel – will join the fleet in May and August.

“The company really wants to maintain a very new fleet in Panama,” he stresses. “With the Panama Canal expansion there has been a substantial pick-up in activity. And even though there maybe fewer feeder vessels, these are being replaced with the mega containerships and tankers, hence the need for stronger, versatile tugs. The Damen ASD 2913 has great manoeuvrability, is very responsive, safe, comfortable for the crew and provides top quality.”

Damen could also provide a fast delivery time for the vessels, which are being customised with aft winches and FiFi 1.