Transnet National Ports Authority celebrated a milestone in its R1.4 billion tug building contract on 12 November 2015 when the first of its nine new, powerful tugboats was ceremonially launched at the Durban premises of contractor, Southern African Shipyards.
The duty of officially naming the vessel was carried out by a Lady Sponsor, Lauriette Sesoko, General Manager: Commercial and Marketing, of TNPA. The tug was named MVEZO in reference to the small village in the Eastern Cape of South Africa where former President, the late Nelson Mandela, was born.
“The building of MVEZO and the eight other tugs in this project, demonstrates that this country has the expertise to compete in the global shipbuilding industry and to use the maritime economy to unlock the economic potential of South Africa, in line with the government’s Operation Phakisa initiative,” said Vallihu.
MVEZO is expected to be handed over to the Port of Port Elizabeth in February 2016, followed by handovers every three months until the last one is launched in early 2018.
The tug building project kicked off in August 2014 and is providing a big boost to the local economy over its 42 month lifespan. Given the project’s tight deadlines five tugs are under construction simultaneously at any given time.
TNPA’s new fleet will include nine tugs that are 31m long with a 70-ton bollard pull. The older tugs have 32.5 to 40 ton pulls. The increased bollard pull of these new generation tugs meets international standards and they also feature the latest global technology.
The tugs have Voith Scheider propulsion which makes them highly manoeuvrable and able to change the direction and thrust almost instantaneously while guiding large vessels safely into our ports.
Durban based Southern African Shipyards, which owns and operates the largest shipyard in Southern Africa, also built TNPA’s previous 12 tugs. The company scooped the latest contract through an open and transparent process. Its employees have a 12 percent stake in the company, which has 60 percent black ownership.