On 18 September Portland Port held the official naming ceremony of the newest tug to enter the fleet, Rupert Best.
The vessel was named after a former submarine Commander and Portland Port director, who passed away in February. Commander Best commanded the nuclear-powered submarine HMS Courageous during the Falklands conflict in 1982.
He retired from the Royal Navy during the 1990s and was part of the consortium that persuaded Langham Industries to privately take over Portland Port from the Ministry of Defence in 1996, subsequently forming Portland Harbour Authority. Rupert was a strong advocate for both the port and Dorset as a whole and worked tirelessly to help the port grow to what it has become today.
The multi-million-pound tug entered service earlier this year shortly after the passing of Commander Best. However, Covid restrictions forced any naming ceremony to be postponed.
The new asset joins Portland Port’s existing tugs, Maiden Castle and Rufus Castle, all playing important roles in enhancing the port’s towage capability.
The new tug was completed in 2019 in Turkey to a Robert Allen design, the Sanmar Sirapinar RAmparts 2200 class, an azimuth stern drive tug. She will improve and help support the port’s ability to welcome larger vessels.
Guests who attended the naming ceremony included family members, friends, former colleagues who worked with Rupert in the Royal Navy, along with colleagues at Portland Port and local dignitaries.
In a traditional ceremonial launching, the vessel’s plaque was revealed before the tug was named by smashing a bottle of Rupert’s favourite cider, Lancombe Rising, on the side bow of the tug by a member of the tug’s crew on behalf of Mrs Best.
Harbour Master, Captain Mike Shipley said, “The naming of ships is always an exciting and memorable event, however the naming ceremony of the ‘Rupert Best’ was also a touching tribute that we were delighted to be able to share with Rupert’s family and friends.”